Last night we held our breaths and followed intently as the 2016 US Presidential Election unfolded, and determined the fate of our neighbouring country. Obviously, the buzz had been about for months now – Hillary Clinton can’t be trusted amidst all her scandals, and Donald Trump is a wealthy, and bigoted bully. But who would be the President-Elect?
Many Canadians had concluded that the US would be in peril regardless of who takes office on Nov. 8, 2016, “they’re really just picking their poison,” we said. But I never thought that we’d have to worry about the impact of the poison we call Trump because we believed that regardless of her background, the nation endorsed #ImWithHer, in support of who could have been the first female president of the United States of America, Clinton.
The last 24 hours of Trump being the President-Elect have seen fury and shock amongst many Canadians who still can’t digest what just happened; honestly, we can only begin to imagine how the citizens of the US feel today. Those who are directly impacted by Trump’s overt racism, demeaning sexist remarks, and ridicule can find support in us Canadians who are also affected by your nation’s newest leader.
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And no, I’m not talking about Trump’s statements of pulling out of international climate agreements, or cancelling NATFA if no one supports his ideas on renegotiations. Although such ideas will negatively impact the economic well being of our country, I want to discuss the outcomes of this election that are more relatable to our friends and family in the South because needless to say, we are with you.
We are directly impacted by the racism that was at the forefront of every single Trump campaign throughout the duration of this election. Canada is home to thousands of Syrian refugees who have found a place to start their lives fresh and without the fear of war. But for Trump, refugees are making others “suffer” and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hasn’t invited war-stricken families to start life afresh, but the Trojan Horse. Trump used this poor metaphor to imply that perhaps the Syrian refugees, who follow the Islamic faith, are masked people, ready to attack peaceful civilization on Canadian soil.
It’s a pity to see that a world leader cannot gauge the destitute conditions of these men, women, and children who have fled for their lives from their homes. But despite his beliefs, I assure you that we are pillars of support to every person of color, especially in a time where solidarity is crucial. And we are in hopes that Trump will understand that there’s no wall that can ever divide a union of racial minorities, who deserve equality and respect within what is known as one of the most influential countries in the world.
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As racial minorities, millions of us Canadians, and others around the world, have seen and experienced the stringent, and embarrassing, security checks at the border/airports to get into the United States. It’s a painful experience to be under scrutiny for articles of faith as sacred as the dastaar or hijab. But with Trump in office it’s sad reality that we just may need to prepare ourselves for a little more inspection. Talks are afloat that he may thicken borders to hamper with Muslims from entering the US and blatantly turn down Syrian refugees wishing to visit the country.
But, as he makes his way into office as of 2017, we encourage him to acknowledge and accept minorities, and not impede the growing nature of immigration. The President Elect must realize that there are millions of minorities (people of different races, genders, sexual orientations) who have helped him reach this pedestal.
He was famously quoted for saying “I think the only difference between me and the other candidates is that I’m more honest and my women are more beautiful.” But Trump doesn’t realize that his blatant honesty is doing a disservice to the millions of minorities who are his supporters and objectifying women is an insult to every woman in the world. Had Clinton taken office last night, she would have proven how women around the world personify hard work and vigor.
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It came as no surprise to us Canadians when thousands of Americans expressed willingness to move to Canada if Trump won the election. As people began to explore options of moving away, Trump was rather relieved and had said that he’d be happy to see some people leave. These citizens were exploring these options in fear of racism, xenophobia, and bigotry, and perhaps Trump would have found them as good riddance because there wouldn’t be many people left to educate others on reform.
As Canadians our home will forever be open to those who don’t feel safe in their country because of leaders who target others based on race, gender, sexuality, and their beliefs. We will forever endorse, and expand, our melting pot of ideals and nationalities. We stand by every American on the quest to encourage change against the principles introduced in the Trump campaign so the 2016 US Presidential Election never becomes precedent in the years to come.
Sandeep Panesar is a legal editor, and freelance writer, based out of Toronto. She enjoys everything from the holiday season to the cold weather, and the warm beverages available in the winter months- a true Canadian, eh? When she’s not binge-watching her favorite Bollywood movies, or sipping on tea and gorging on pakoray (or Timbits), she’s keen on highlighting the pulse of community issues through her writing assignments. Sandeep is driven by her passion for fashion and writing, and uses both as catalysts to express her individuality; she’s an avid believer in the power of the word.