Hello friends, I have a guest post for you today written by one of my very favourite writers, my sister! Erin moved to New York State twelve years ago for work (she’s a librarian) and has since married an American and they have two beautiful children.
When I woke up and read the election results on my phone my first thought was oh no, Erin. And then I thought about my niece Margaret, who at only five, is such a strong, independent and feisty girl.
We were in New York City on the weekend for the marathon and the crowds and volunteers – heck, even strangers on the subway – went above and beyond to make us feel welcome. Everyone was so nice. We flew home on election day morning and I was Hopeful. Excited. Inspired. My only wish/hope is that America will stay this way and love with trump hate.
* * * A Canadian in America * * *
I keeping thinking back to Tuesday morning. It was a beautiful autumn day. The whole family drove to the polling station feeling optimistic and excited. Margaret chanted “Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton” in the backseat. Afterwards, a stranger took our picture. Margaret proudly pointed to her “future voter” sticker.
I also had a sticker. The volunteer at the voting booth had given me one after I explained that I wasn’t participating because I was Canadian. Later that morning a colleague warily eyed the sticker. “But you didn’t vote” he said. Perhaps it was disingenuous of me to wear the sticker because, no, I did not vote. I did not vote because I am a Canadian living in America. I go to great lengths to maintain my Canadian identity and to live in a Canadian bubble. The CBC blasts through our house. My children are often dressed as if they were members of the Canadian Olympics team. I import Kraft Dinner. I am Canadian in America but my family is American. My friends are American. I work in America. What happens to America impacts me on so many levels. I am not an American but I am part of America and America is part of me.
What happened later that night was the worst of all nightmares. The following morning, yesterday, I stumbled into work physically sick and still crying. The atmosphere at work was like a funeral. Many of us wore black. People huddled together speaking in hushed voices. Solemn nods were shared in the hallways. I completely lost it again that evening when I found Hillary Clinton’s “women card” in Margaret’s room.
Throughout the seemingly never-ending election cycle, many people asked if I would move back to Canada if the worst case scenario happened. Definitely, I would flippantly reply. And then I would offer a parcel of land on my parent’s property. It was an easy response because in my heart I thought this could never happen. There was absolutely no way any sane nation would allow that man to be president. Now I am completely devastated, shocked, and confused. And I am angry. So unbelievably angry. But right now I am trying to do everything in my power to suppress that anger, especially the anger at those who let this happen, because it will consume me to the core.
America was on a good path. President Obama, a man of great intelligence, judgement, compassion, sincerity, humour and respect did so much to move this country forward. Hillary Clinton shares so many of those traits and I believed, still believe, that she would make a fantastic President. The president-elect shares none of these attributes and will surely cause great damage to this country and its inhabitants.
This is not an optimistic post, obviously. I am finding it hard to be optimistic at all right now. But I did want to share this. Yesterday many Americans reached out to me to ask if I was okay, if I, a Canadian, was okay after the American election. They stopped by my desk, sent texts and emailed me. On Facebook my entire feed was a chorus of “wtfs”. And even more reassuring, it’s not just those close to me that are upset, it’s millions and millions across the nation. I’m not sure what this all means, but maybe it’s hope.
“I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but someday, someone will, and hopefully sooner than we might think right now” … “And to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and to achieve your own dreams.” – Hillary Clinton
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