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I Look to America and All I See Is the End

LOL, nothing matters.

by Drew Brown
10 November 2016, 12:00am

Illustration by Adam Waito

Hahahahahahahahaha, OK, uh, alright, sure. America did it. America actually elected Donald Trump. He will be the president.

Everyone remain calm. Worst case scenario, he will appoint one-to-three shitty Supreme Court justices who will warp the American justice system for a generation. That's as bad as it can get! I mean, reproductive rights, LGBT rights, and minority rights will be halted and rolled back, but Capitol Hill will surely protect us from the graver abuses.

Oh, shit. OK, so, the Republicans retained both Congress and the Senate. That's fine. The American system was designed for this, to thwart the possible moment when the people would elect a tyrant as president. It'll be fine. It'll be fine. This is what the Constitution is for, I'm pretty sure.

Sure, climate change will accelerate beyond the point of no return and they'll probably set up concentration camps for refugees and the barest tendrils of healthcare for the poor will be uprooted from the earth and burned on top of a big pile of tires, but...

Man, look, I dunno. This is some pretty dark shit. I didn't really expect this to happen. I don't think many people expected this to happen. And maybe that was the problem—the same problem as Brexit, the same problem as everything. The media, the intellectuals, the political establishment, everyone was so dramatically out of touch with how deep (white) American alienation ran, how wide the gulf was between the obnoxious celebrity Clinton stumping and the issues that actually mattered to real, flesh-and-blood people.

Nobody knows shit. The next thinkpiece from a liberal hack telling you about how Trump was actually inevitable because America is stupid, dropkick that fucker into the sun. The average American voter, despite what Jon Oliver or the Canadian media apparatus will insist, is not stupid. Taking everyone who disagrees with the liberal consensus for a mouth-breathing troglodyte is most of how we got in this mess. They were not duped; they knew what they wanted. How the system failed them to the point that putting an alleged serial sexual predator and open demagogue and defiant racist into the White House seemed like a better idea than electing an unloveable fixture of the D.C. war machine is anybody's guess.

It's absolutely part sexism. But it's also absolutely because Hillary Clinton was a fucking terrible candidate enabled by a Democratic party establishment full of awful sycophants.

This is all fun armchair speculation for me, a white dude from another country. But real lives are at stake in America. Again, I reiterate: this is some pretty dark shit.

As to what it means for Canada—well, beyond our immigration website crashing as the polls turned on election night, it really depends. Aside from the fact that our collective national smugness is going to be through the fucking roof, it's hard to say definitively what the future holds.

Assuming President Trump (fuck) is actually serious about keeping America out of foreign entanglements like intervention in Syria or, uh, NATO, it will likely leave Canada in a lurch to pick up the slack—or adjust to a new, surreal US-Russian detente in global affairs. If we're really lucky, we'll get some killer new punk music. Think of what we got out of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher! Donald Trump is probably good for a Dead Kennedys reunion, at least.

But more than this, it leaves Canada, improbably, as the western world's liberal champion. Given Britain's exit from the European Union, America's election of Donald Trump, the upcoming French election where Marine Le Pen is poised to make a run for the presidency, the surging of the anti-immigrant, anti-globalist right in continental Europe—this is it. Liberalism really has moved north.

Not that this is a perfect arrangement. If the Trans-Pacific Partnership isn't dead in the water, and if there is still a European Union for Canada to trade with, it's still not clear how much any of this will benefit most Canadian families—doubly so if the overheated Canadian housing market really is headed for its terminal crisis, or if the North American markets implode under the weight of Donald Trump's inauguration.

The real danger is that Trumpism finally takes root in Canada. The American experience is not an isolated phenomenon—the disenfranchised, young and old, are clearly willing to throw themselves behind any political movement that promises to drain the proverbial swamp. Bernie Sanders tapped into this and it's not impossible to imagine that an NDP that gets its shit together and takes its working-class roots seriously might do the same in this country.

But on the flipside, it's not inconceivable that the Conservatives might take a page from the anti-establishment playbook too. Consider how well Islamophobia played in the last election. Consider how many leadership hopefuls have made that same dogwhistle a fixture of their campaign. Consider how deeply alienated the western half of the country is from a Liberal government stacked with Easterners begging for federal handouts. Consider how racist this country is and consider how it's open season on that shit now. Consider that nothing makes sense any more and making any predictions or speculations about politics is utterly meaningless. Consider that the seed of populist political nihilism is already inside you, feeding off the despair you feel right now thinking about this election and reading this piece and wondering where to go from here.

Again, though, the main impact this will have on Canada is that we'll be suckered into an even more obnoxious narrative of maple-washing all of Justin Trudeau's flaws. "He's not perfect, but he's ours, and he's not Donald Trump." That will probably come back bite us in the ass too.

I don't know, man. I expected to be writing some glib piece about how relieved we are by Clinton's overwhelming victory. We're all so full of shit. You should probably just do whatever you've always wanted to do and let yourself burn out in a great debaucherous flame because nothing matters anymore.

That, or get ready for the fight of your political life.

There is no punchline. Welcome to the future.

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