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Friday, November 11, 2016

After the Fall - Rise Like the Phoenix

To my American friends,

I know that a lot of you are despairing right now. That fear and embarrassment have taken over and it feels like the end of something precious to you. I also know that 50% of the people who took time to vote are feeling pretty excited and that might be scary for some of you. Never has there felt like a larger divide in your country. I'll be honest, your president-elect scares the crap out of me and I don't feel he's a good person. I don't quite understand his appeal to a portion of the electorate, but I don't understand the gun thing or abject fear of universal health care either, so maybe it's me. That isn't my point though. I don't want to create more division.

I want to give you words of hope. Canadians did almost the same thing your country just did. (Perhaps not as grandly, but that's what makes us a little different.) We voted in a minority government two terms in a row. That meant that we had a conservative Prime Minister, but that the majority of the house was left leaning. They didn't get much done. So we decided to give the conservative guy all the power. He got his majority government and proceeded to tear our country down  (he would say in its own best interest). Of course, there are those in Canada that felt he did a great job, our economy didn't take the hit yours did in 2008 - we're suffering more now. He supported the oil industry, he promoted xenophobia and muzzled our scientists and snuck through large omnibus bills of legislation, burying the stripping of our rights in minutiae. Some of our people were happy. He was making Canada "great" (White North) again. Sound familiar? Then the next election approached and the crisis in Syria was front and centre. He talked about banning the niqab and closing our borders. That was our line in the sand.

Canada is a nation of immigrants, like you. Sure a lot of them are white, but they came to our country with a dream of a better life and while we now have a rainbow of skin colours, we all have that same hope. We've done terrible things to our immigrants, too. We're no angels. But we, as a country, finally stood up and said "No more". No to prejudice and fear. We said "yes" to our scientists and (hopefully) to protecting our environment, to adhering to the only true Canadian value - TOLERANCE. 

In the meantime, while you're waiting it out, stand up for what you believe in. Don't allow the hate spewed by your president-elect to define you - as if it could. You will have to be louder during this difficult time, braver and more steadfast. This is not the time to weaken. Loving what you don't understand is the hardest task of all, but it's so much better than surrendering to hate.

I accept that not all my fellow Canadians believe in climate change (or change in general for that matter) and they're allowed their opinions. I believe that they have the same fears and desires that I do. They want to feel safe and have opportunities to prosper and grow. They want their children to live in a better world than what we have now. This is common ground. We may define it differently, but if we can take fear off the table, we can work together. That didn't stop us from getting our country back and you can, too.

It may be a frustrating, embarrassing four years, but perhaps that's what is needed for the country to come together again.  You will be tested. Your commitment to love over hate will be tried, but this, too, shall pass.

We're your friends and we are trying to be a rational example in an irrational world. We have your backs America. 

With much love and hope,

Your Canadian friend 

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