Former AMK Liberal candidate muses on US election

Heavy hearts perhaps, but the sun still came up shining warm and bright

To the Expositor:

On the day of the US election last week, a voter left the polling station and told CBC “it’s all over but the crying.” Such a loaded statement since a few minutes earlier a young woman could not contain herself as she openly wept as she finished voting.

Just over a year ago, I ran for the federal Liberals for Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing and came up second to long-time NDP MP Carol Hughes. Although Canada’s race was not as much of a circus as the US election was, there were attempts by Harper to pit one group of Canadians against another that was soundly rebuked by voters when we went to the polls. Similarly, polls were close on election day last year. But Canadians did not surprise me when they turned their backs on negativity and embraced Justin Trudeau.

I have faith in democracy. Admittedly, on Tuesday, I really thought Americans would have listened to the values and ideals that Donald Trump was representing and that they would deny that they were part of that just like Canadians did a year ago when they heard intolerant and divisive messages in our election. Politics is not perfect and I believe that politicians know the difference between right and wrong in their hearts. Voters should be able to make informed decisions. And that responsibility does not rest solely on the media for the media only feeds an appetite. It rests with the education system and conversations within the home and communities. In Canada, the curriculum includes civics but does it go further to include interactions that could produce a deep understanding and appreciation for the democratic process? I asked to be able to speak to my son’s class during the election (as a candidate and as a mother) and was denied by the principal with the explanation that I would be “campaigning.” Given that none of the students were of voting age I thought that was a lame explanation. Was I denied because of school policy or bias? Are students aware of the production of knowledge?

We have a duty to develop engaged citizens so family also have to participate. Talking about how families are affected by policy is only part of it. What is most troubling is that the character of Donald Trump is now literally on stage as being powerful. Obama said, “if you want to know what someone is going to do, look at what they have done.” We can give Trump his success as a business person even though he has had financial failures. It is his reported misogyny, cultural intolerance and racially motivated “law-and-order” that is most troubling.

However, the sun came up warm and bright on Wednesday in Espanola. I have a heavy heart for sure. But, voters always have the last say. Sure, we can have a good cry over the results, but I have faith that good prevails and so should America.

Heather Wilson