It feels ridiculous typing those two words next to each other, but I guess it’s the reality of our news-headlines for the next 4 years, so we should probably start getting used to it.
The day following the election, I traipsed into class trying desperately to stifle a yawn (I stayed up till 3am to watch Donald’s victory speech because I still didn’t quite believe it) to be met with my American history professor doing exactly the same thing.
“Morning everyone! Seem to be a bit thin on the ground this morning. I got 2 hours of sleep last night so not bad. Now,” she said, clapping her hands together, “let’s talk about depression.”
It’s true that we’d reached the booming age of anti-depressants in the late 70s in our medical history course, but it was also a painfully appropriate topic. The class just generally felt flat; whether that was just plain tired, boredom, or a helpless resignation to the political trajectory that America has now set upon, it’s hard to say.
I wish I could say I wasn’t surprised, that I’d seen this coming, but somehow, despite Brexit, despite proof that the polls never tell the whole story, I’d still assumed I’d be waking up on Wednesday to a female President-elect.
As it was, Emily, Natalie and I sat down at 8pm the Night Of armed with tea and snacks, but barely 2 hours later we were up and pacing, panic beginning to set in as the votes were counted. By 11 we’d sat back down, third cup of tea brewing, the homemade popcorn I’d thrown together in a slight hysteria burnt and sour-tasting.
By midnight it seemed it really was all over, but we kept watching, like a slow-motion train crash was taking place in front of our eyes. I Facebook messaged my American friend; the Brits who’d braved the late night. None of us could really believe it.
And nearly a week later I still can’t. Trump has appeared in the news besides a pained-looking Obama, admitted that some parts of Obamacare aren’t actually as shit as he’d said they were, and today announced plans to deport some 3 million illegal immigrants. I’ve heard people saying you can only hope that the President is not as bad as his policies – but it’s not really as though Trump has anything else going for him.
It’s strange to think that next year, when I’m hoping to travel in the States, America’s first black president will have been replaced in the White House by a man the KKK held a victory parade for.
All I can say is that I hope this gives the Democratic Party the much needed boost and unifying force it needs for 2020. Oh, and if Michelle Obama decides to give running a go she’d have my metaphorical vote.
Canada’s response to the whole thing has been twofold, as it is with most things to do with the United States; scared, and somewhat sanctimonious. As usual the headline was sent around that Canada’s immigration page had crashed with traffic the day after the election, but having had issues myself with the website I think that’s possibly some media exaggeration and viral fear-mongering. What’s not fear-mongering however, are the very real ways Canada will be affected, with trade and climate change (weep) being particularly key issues. There’s also a general feeling of Trudeau-centric relief that Canada isn’t the US.
But anyway, the American election isn’t the only thing that these past few weeks have seen. Coming back to classes after Reading Week wasn’t as unpleasant as I’d been expecting and I’ve really enjoyed my latest assignments. Emily and I have continued to make passive aggressive Facebook messaging into an art in our indigenous class, and my Contemporary class continues to bore the pants off me at the best of times, but my American history ones are really making up for it.
I also finally ticked off one of my key ‘must-dos’ of this year and went to see an ice hockey game (sorry, just plain ‘hockey’ that should be.) It was at the Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa Senators vs Vancouver Canucks, and a wholly violent and very quick-moving affair (if a bit low-scoring). Emily and I were mostly overwhelmed by the sheer size of the stadium, and whole massively commercialised aspect of advertisements and bizarre experience of standing for the Canadian national anthem at the start than the actual game, but that’s by the by. The definite highlight was at the end of the first period when someone shepherded several dozen tiny children out onto the ice to play, who promptly bounced off each other and fell over.
Less fun aspects of these past few weeks have included my first experience of Canadian healthcare (not the one), but it’s been saved by highlights such as deciding on plans for February Reading Week (Boston and New York here we come!) and enjoying some truly beautiful walks around town in shockingly mild weather. Last Thursday I managed to get my hands a Proper Canadian Winter Coat which feels like I’m wearing a sleeping bag and I LOVE IT (also helped by the fact it was $400 reduced to $210), so I am prepared for winter – but Ottawa doesn’t seem to be quite there yet. Given time I’m sure it’ll catch up.