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Who are our neighbours?

I’ve been having the weirdest, angst-ridden dreams for over a week now.  I awaken stressed and I know why.  But he won’t be my president.  So why am I still so affected by the U.S. election?

I’ve always seen the horrific stories of violence and racism south of our border as the acts of a militant few.  They are the minority.  However, enough of the population just voted in a man to represent and lead them who is a proven liar, a racist, and a sexual predator who thinks women who have abortions should be punished, believes the law doesn’t apply to him and aligns himself with white supremacists and a Russian dictator.  So our southern neighbours aren’t who I thought they were.  And the disappointment is crushing.

I’m not naïve.  Many were surprised by our neighbours.  The American media didn’t seem to know what to do with the numbers that were coming in on Tuesday night.  Where were these Trump voters hiding all this time?

Political commentators and news anchors were shocked and backtracked throughout their coverage.  Newsweek Magazine had distributed their newest issue with the first female president on the cover hours before the polls even closed.  125,000 copies had to be recalled.

And for days afterward, I kept feeling this had to be a bad dream or at least an It’s a Wonderful Life alternate universe.  But where the hell was Clarence?

A few years ago, CW’s horror series Supernatural aired an episode wherein our heroes discovered that their exploits battling demons had been documented in a series of semi-popular novels.  How?  The author was a prophet whose writing came to life – their life – as it hit the page.

What viewers had been watching for several seasons as Supernatural was actually a new book of the bible: The Gospel According to Chuck.  And each story (or episode) was a parable to teach us simple lessons.  It was a heady concept.

So could Trump be our demon that must be conquered in order for Americans to grow and learn?  Will they discover this election was “rigged” after all and have Trump ousted before he can take office?  Probably not.

But there is a lesson here.  We all believed society had come a long way.  Glass ceilings?  We’re breaking them.  Racism and hate crimes?  No longer acceptable.  A few in the fringe still fought it but it seemed that progress was being made.

Unfortunately, it was a mirage.  Hatred was simply lying in wait.  Racist attacks have skyrocketed this week.  And even Clinton supporters who were so positive and civilized against the hate-mongering Trump followers who had chanted “Kill the bi*ch!” are now, themselves, involved in violent demonstrations.

But that accomplishes nothing.  Instead, we should all ask ourselves: what have we learned?  What organizations and policy-makers must be supported to ensure that divisive, racist policies cannot take hold?  What words will open up honest dialogue?

And then look at our neighbours with clearer eyes.