U.S. Presidential Race: A Canadian’s View

If you are a new reader to my blog page or have not yet had the opportunity to read some of my previous publishing’s I’ll quickly recap. I’m Canadian, and my boyfriend is an American, hailing from St. Louis Missouri. He is a Navy Veteran now living here in Canada working back in the civilian world which to the rest of us is the only way of life we know. Since our cohabitation however, I have grown exponentially in terms of my own knowledge inadvertently as a result of how my partner engages and is effected by the American political climate. To be perfectly honest, in my own ignorance I often wondered how beneficial it was for him to be consuming and absorbing so much political propaganda on such a rapid pace. The constant discouraging news and racist acts of violence, exacerbated by a President’s twitter fingers had me screaming at the television constantly. It pissed me off, and I couldn’t imagine what it was doing to my partner who is toting some serious PTSD as a Navy Vet and a black man that served; willing to die for his country. So you can imagine I was initially concerned about the effects in which the constant media bombardment was having on us both.

Until something clicked in me.

Now admittedly I have always been fascinated with American Politics on a very superficial level until the dumpster fire grew bigger with the introduction of President Trump. Since that inaugeration, during my travels I’ve always steered away from discussing politics with the Americans I’ve met, fearful of what they may divulge with regards to their own political positions. I didn’t want to disrupt the potential pool pong partners or swim up bar vibes we had going on. In fact I really didn’t want to hate them based on where they sat on the spectrum. I knew it was wrong to feel that way, but nonetheless my truth. Seems harsh I know, especially as an outsider looking in as a guest observer essentially looking down from her left winged nose. That sense of unfamiliar divisiveness I felt that was triggered within my own being I imagine is what is dividing an entire country. For me to experience a sense of inherent disrespect for someone based on a political position is merely non-existent in the world of Canadian politics. Can you hear the shame in my voice? I’m far more pragmatic and open than this kind of avoidant behavior. While Canadians have varying views particularly based on Industry, Indigenous and Environment issues- I can’t say that I’ve ever despised someone for voting Conservative, Liberal, Green Party, NDP or Independent before.

In order to grasp the the comparisons between our two political climates here is my take on it. If you ever need a sedative to sleep just throw on CPAC and you will be lulled to sleep by the polite bickering between Parliament Candidate members. There is nothing sensational about it, however in my opinion superior in terms of its integrity (I use “integrity” loosely speaking). To be honest the only time I do tune in is when my old school mate Nicholas Milliken-MLA Calgary-Currie is on and I’m there just for his impeccably tailored power suits. Sorry Nick.

I admit I am flawed here. And that’s why its important to highlight my biases and how they may impact my lens.

I’ve asked myself why as a Canadian was I so enthralled with American politics and less interested with regards to my own countries leaders? I came to the conclusion that perhaps its because there has been no overt controversial attack against what values I hold, my safety, or livelihood as a white Canadian woman.

Gulp* That my friends is a perspective based in privilege- the ability to feel relatively safe regardless of the political climate within the country I live in.

This however is relatively a different narrative to our indigenous and POC populations. And for this reason is why I must disregard my trivial concerns regarding the emotional impact and become outspoken on the subject. Putting my fears aside and having those political conversations with Americans and Canadians as often as necessary. I can give thanks to my very own American consiglieri for that as I can hold my own equipped with far more in depth insights than ever before. The reality of my partner, his family, and others life experiences is being played out in front of our eyes. It’s clear to me why he navigates the world apprehensively and with an element of mistrust; he’s been living in this state of fight or flight as an American all his life.

You see American Politics carry a heavy societal influence on how its people interact with one another and how its systems overtly impact its citizens base on race. In a country where celebrity and sensationalism are guiding forces its no wonder how a reality star became president. All it takes is a bunch of misinformed, disenfranchised egg heads to start a militia that breed hate into the vulnerable, poor and uneducated folks of America. We can thank the gigantic socio-economical gaps for lighting the match to that fuel tanker.

But as the Presidential elections begin to wind up here shortly, it appears that the kettle is also getting ready to boil over. I say this because I can see the weight of this elections outcome has on the morale and weariness of my partner’s spirit as he watches intently every detail of the emerging variables that will determine the fate of his country. You see, he is a black man who has grown up in Missouri, where Mike Brown, a black man who was unarmed, shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer occurred. And unless you have been living under a rock, Black people have been 28% of those killed by police in 2020 despite being only 13% of the population.

See Chart: Number of people shot to death by the police in the United States from 2017 to 2020, by race

But you see as seemingly different the political cultures are between Canada and the United States the issues of systemic racism and police brutality remain the same. I believe that these issues have been brought to the forefront again as a result of the mounting tensions below us. Truthfully, its about time, sadly at the expense of peoples lives.

Caesar-Chavannes an Former Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes shared on CTV Morning News that racism in Canada can be seen daily when considering incarceration rates and health statistics.

“When you look at our health outcomes, when you look at our justice system and the overpopulation of our prisons with black and indigenous people, you have to really think about whether or not systemic racism does not actually exist in this country because I think it’s our lived reality every day,” Caesar-Chavannes said.

And if you are American and reading this you are probably thinking I need to be keeping my nose out of it. But you see the impact of these elections span beyond just my personal relationships, they impact my country as well.

In an article on the CBC Beyond Borders they outline 5 ways in which Canada could be impacted by the outcome of the elections.

Energy and the Environment

Trump promises more oil drilling, more pipelines — and less regulation. Joe Biden, on the other hand, says he’d cancel Trump’s permit for the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada.

Biden wants to invest massively in clean energy; rejoin the Paris Accord; and, finally, name, shame and potentially punish countries with green tariffs if they fail to cut emissions.

International Trade

Biden promises more Buy American policies and perennial disputes like softwood lumber would not disappear. But Biden says he’d drop some of Trump’s most aggressive moves against allies, like the steel and aluminum tariffs based on alleged national-security grounds. He has also hinted he might, eventually, try negotiating U.S. re-entry into the pan-Pacific trade pact now known as CPTPP.

Trump’s administration prides itself on a hard-nosed, transformative trade policy that includes lots of tariffs and duties, and has essentially paralyzed the World Trade Organization’s dispute system. His trade team says it has a long-term plan; its critics say the results so far offer more chaos than benefits.

Defense

Canadian defence policy has long rested on the assumption of an unshakeable partnership with the United States. Yet old alliances suddenly seem less sturdy. Trump has rattled old assumptions, repeatedly criticizing NATO allies for under-spending on their military. Past administrations have made similar complaints. But under a barrage of demands from Trump, allies have, in fact, upped their spending. Some defence analysts, and a top former aide to Trump, still fear he might withdraw from NATO in a second term. That uncertainty lingers over a deployment of Canadian troops in Eastern Europe.

Biden is a staunch NATO advocate, and under his watch, Canada could face a different challenge: conversations about NATO’s future role and missions. One major issue continues to hover over the continent: whether Canada will wind up spending billions to install new radar over the Arctic.

China

When the globe’s two superpowers clash, Canada risks getting sideswiped. Just ask the Canadians in Chinese jail cells and the canola, pork and beef farmers punished by Beijing after Canada executed a U.S. arrest warrant against a high-profile Chinese telecom exec. China-U.S. tensions now loom over myriad global issues, touching the World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization, agriculture, educational exchanges, journalism, new technologies and sanctioned goods. Trump made these issues top priorities. And they’re not going away.

Biden, however, says he wants to approach things differently — for starters, by working more closely with allies. He plans to host a summit of democracies to discuss ways governments and private-sector companies like banks and social media platforms might push back against global authoritarianism. One thing Trump has not clearly articulated — and it’s something Biden would be pressed to offer — is a sense of the long-term goal: How does the U.S. intend to coexist with China?

Immigration

Trump has indicated that for a second term, he would carry on with some of the more restrictive temporary work visa programs he established during his first term. Just recently, for example, he announced a major overhaul for H1-B visas. He is also seeking to end the temporary humanitarian protection of thousands of migrants who face threats back home, and decrease the overall number of refugees who come to the U.S. All this could put pressure on Canadian borders. 

Meanwhile, Biden has said he would reverse Trump’s H1-B visa freeze, review the decision to end humanitarian protection for migrants, repeal Trump’s travel ban and increase the number of refugees coming into the U.S. to 125,000.

In the meantime I can assure you we will be sitting at the edge of our seats awaiting the outcome. I can assure you my aggression towards the television will only get more violent-hide your children. But ultimately I am grateful for the awakening, and look forward to some politically fueled pool pong whoopings with y’all ‘Mericans.”

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