We’ve all been watching the bizarre reality side-show runup for presidential candidates in the United States and it’s getting scarier every day. I’ve resisted commenting on a political situation in which I have no say, but the results could have major implications for Canada. With the leading Republican candidate promoting building border walls (shades of East/West Berlin and the Iron Curtain), halting immigration (despite the fact two of his wives have been immigrants) demolishing free trade and reinstituting discrimination and racism, we have the potential for having a very nasty neighbour living next door to a polar-opposite Canada. Donald Trump is playing to the basest feelings of frustration and disappointment with the existing political system. His constituency is strongly composed of poorly educated, economically challenged voters who are looking for reassurance and need someone who will give them some kind of vision, regardless of how fascist it may be. Sound familiar? And his competitors’ platforms are equally insane.
Donald Trump and his brand of Republicanism has turned out to be Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders’ greatest asset. While Clinton and Sanders may not be everyone’s cup of tea, at least they seem to have a modicum of sanity on their side. Unfortunately, it’s the sane majority of voters who are not being heard. Once again, the tail’s wagging the dog. We can only hope.
As an average Canadian on the outside looking in, I’m nervous about the prospect of a Trump-led government being our nearest neighbour. With the possibility of Putin and his armies marching over the north pole into Canada and the Americans building walls to keep visible minorities, Mexicans and Canadians out, our borders are going to be squeezed in a vice between Communism and Fascism. And we know what that did to Poland and Czechoslovakia many years ago.
The upside is that Canada can expect a mass exodus of “daft-dodgers” as intelligent Americans reject the Republican insanity and move to Canada. And we’ll be better off for it, just as the anti-war draft-dodgers of the sixties enriched our country over the long-term. Just leave your guns behind; we don’t get your crazy preoccupation with guns and killing each other. And we believe in taking care of our fellow human beings so you won’t have to mortgage your home to get a hip replacement.
In fact, I look forward to having Bill Maher or Jon Stewart living in my neighbourhood and broadcasting from Toronto or Vancouver. The brain drain will flow north for a change and enrich our businesses, educational institutions, professional services and fatten our already fat, solid Canadian banks. Canadians should rethink financing the entire cost of the bridge between Windsor and Detroit, affectionately known as “the bridge to nowhere” since Michigan refused to pay its share? Hell, we’d be happy to pay. The United States’ shame could be Canada’s gain.