Donald Trump

This is the last one, I promise – just let me get it out of my system.

Do you remember when Bill Clinton got caught having an affair and was impeached? I remember it well. The entire world was completely appalled that a public figure would be so bold as to get caught exhibiting such bad behaviour.

There was no room for infidelity in such a high public office. Let the mailman make a mistake, sure – but this is the President, he’s held to a higher standard.

Those were good times, eh? Back when we had some standards, however low.

By the time this is published, it will be T-2 days until Donald Trump is the president of the United States. Two days.
While I am blissfully aware of the fact that I am Canadian and not American, I am also mindful that the U.S. is our closest neighbour in every respect, the most influential nation on Earth, and in 2017, we all need to recognize that we are part of a larger, global community, with many moving parts, all of which affect the other. So will the Trump presidency affect my life? Of course and yours, too, whether or not you’re willing to admit it.

Some events are significant enough that they become historical markers. There is before Columbine, and after Columbine. Before 9/11 and after 9/11. And I believe, to my marrow, that there will be a palpable shift in history that we’ll observe as “before the Trump presidency” and “after the Trump presidency.”

In 30 years, when people reflect on the past and discuss the legacy of our generation, we will, quite rightfully, be the laughing stock of the family tree. We will be the generation that tolerated from a leader behaviour so devoid of basic human decency that it bordered on sociopathy – and instead of rising above his infantile nonsense, we put him in, literally, the most powerful position in the world.

History will look at the huge pool of qualified candidates, however crooked, and see that we elected the most unqualified one of them all.

I was wrong in my prediction that saw Donald Trump’s candidacy wither away into a punchline. My incredulity and wishful thinking blinded me to what was going on and I didn’t see it coming. But once I had resigned myself to the fact that he had won, a miniscule segment of my brain had actually convinced itself that he would change to appropriately suit the role of Commander-in-Chief and figurehead for a nation. Maybe his handlers will whip him into shape, I thought? Maybe his people will make him conform to a code of conduct and shut him up? Maybe he will have to suspend his Twitter account?

Maybe a peregrine falcon will fly out of my ear and turn into a flying sack of $100 bills. Just as plausible.

We will no longer have the luxury of listening to someone give a thoughtful speech about international diplomacy, or someone reassure us, with measured words and clear command of important issues, that he’s the man to steer an already unsteady ship ever forward in choppy waters.
Instead, we have a bombastic child.

The world is far too complex for leaders to reduce issues to 140 characters on Twitter. Global alliances are too problematic for a president to undermine and hurl sophomoric insults toward his own intelligence community.

We have too many issues in 2017 to have the Press Secretary of the United States open a press conference with an argument to refute an unflattering Buzzfeed article.

This is what we’ve been reduced to, our leadership flipping the bird to an on-line entertainment source whose claim to fame is quizzes a la “Which Harry Potter Character Are You?” I am ashamed and embarrassed that it has come to this.

I realize that people like me writing about Donald Trump is what perpetuates the very conversations that frustrate me. I try not to feed the fire, but I write about him so that I can hear people agree with me – not because I want compliments on my work, but to reassure myself that there are still people in the world who value professionalism and maturity, and who expect more from leaders than Americans have. Let’s hope the damage is minimal between now and mid-term elections (or impeachment, whichever comes first).

To borrow from Matt Draper, I’m done now.