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An Open Letter to Our Neighbours to the South

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Where do I begin? First off, I am not a US citizen. I am a proud Canadian. But like all Canadians, we are gravely affected by what transpires with our neighbours to the south. And as such, I want to share my feelings and opinions on the recent Election and am writing this article from the viewpoint of a global citizen.

To say that I am so wrought with tremendous emotion in response to the outcome of the November 8th presidential election would be an understatement. I am truly in shock over the results of Tuesday’s election. In a world where we are finally making so many strides in social and human rights issues it seemed unfathomable that the United States of America could choose to elect a misogynistic, fascist, mean spirited, and bigoted candidate in president-elect, Donald Trump. Trump has proven himself on more than one occasion that he is someone who is quick to marginalize anyone who does not agree with his views. And now, here he is, poised to hold the position of highest power in the United States of America. Astounding.

For a country that touts itself as the greatest nation in the world there is a dark, seething hatred coursing through its veins. It’s scary enough to think that a man as divisive as Donald Trump will now be supported by a Senate that is composed of so many Republicans that he borders on near total power. Yet, what’s even more scary is the masses of regular people who voted him into office. With the results nearly equally divided, half of all Americans have proven that they support the hatred toward, and marginalization of, mass groups of citizens based on the colour of their skin, their gender, or sexual orientation.

There has been an upsurge of Trump supporters speaking out that democrats need to chill out and accept the results and that everything will just be fine. It must really be nice to speak out with your white privilege and turn a blind eye to what’s actually happening to the people around you who don’t fall into the same category. They speak as if this is just any other election and that people are kicking up a fuss because their candidate wasn’t selected.

This isn’t about Republican vs Democrat. This isn’t as simple as being a good sport about your candidate not winning. This is about bringing hatred to the forefront, backed by the people in power governing their citizens. This is spreading a dangerous message to the free world that sexism, xenophobia, racism, homophobia and prejudice are not just acceptable but are strong held beliefs and tolerated practices by those who are supposed to protect the civil rights, freedom and liberty of all those they govern not just the select few they deem worthy.

Social progress has been and will continue to be this generations biggest struggle. We have been fighting for the rights of all people, regardless of race, religious beliefs, and sexuality. And we have been making progress. But now that progress hasn’t just come to a stop, it’s actually pedalling backwards. The basic civil rights and dignities of every person in the United States are at risk. Well, unless your a white, Christian man.

When we look to the future, to our legacy as a human race, shouldn’t we be able to look at the world’s supposed greatest nation and look to them with respect, knowing they’re leading the way? Don’t we want to see a movement towards progress in a future where diversity is not only tolerated but is accepted and flourishes to enrich the lives of all people?

Seriously, what legacy do we wish to leave behind? One of hatred and intolerance, where openly diminishing someone’s worth or value is acceptable decorum? Or one of acceptance and respect for all people without caveats? What is happening before us isn’t just about the next four years. It’s about a nation who is embracing a culture and ideology of hate, intolerance, and fear. And it’s embarrassing.

History is replete with atrocities and indignities against our fellow man that still bear their marks. What happens now, who we are as a global society, determines what generations of our descendants think of when they look back on the events that unfold here. And already, before Trump even assumes office, there has been widespread fear and panic. There has been hate crimes against minorities. There has been so much upheaval and backlash as opposing views come to a head. And it’s sad.

When you look at the millennial votes you can see an unwavering support for Hillary Clinton, signalling hope that one day progress will be made and hatred and fear will not be able to dominate. But until then we must bear the responsibility of speaking out as a true democracy, standing up for what’s right, and showing kindness to our fellow citizens. This isn’t simply a message for the United States, this is a message that each and every one of us show our love to our neighbours who are going through a dark time.

The only way to right this wrong is to show the world that we are better than this by stepping up and being our best selves. By continuing to fight until every person, no matter who they are, are protected by the rights and dignities that are currently only afforded to a select few. Coming from Canada this just seems like the easy and right thing to do because we are given every opportunity to speak out and to stand up for what we believe. We are supported in our diversities and we have proven that mindfulness and thoughtfulness can go a long way. And I know that we’re not alone.

So, America, I am here to tell you that you are not alone. We are here for you in your time of need.

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