The Day Americans Became My New Best Friend aka The Article I Loathed to Write

Protest at JFK Jan. 28, 2017. Photo Credit: Rhododendrites

Popular culture aside, many people may not realize just how much our cultures differ. Gun control, health care and Tim Horton’s, just to name a few, but the list is longer than most may think. We’re different in Canada. Not better, just different.

I tuned into the 2016 election campaign from time to time, amused by its slags and zingers, reality TV from a reality TV star. Like many Americans, I didn’t take Trump seriously. How could I? A wall to keep American safe? Really? The night that Donald Trump was elected as president, I ceased being amused. I cringed at the first travel ban. It was no joke. It was un-Canadian. It was wrong. Travel ban version 2.0 just as heinous, both deliberately singling out Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

Trump attempted to cover up with the usual Sean Spicer and Kellyann Conway song and dance duo, stating the Obama administration had previously singled out these countries. True as it may be, Obama did not enact a ban, Donald Trump did so, and with glee. Just as he still wants to build a physical wall to keep out the Mexican “rapists” and “killers” ignoring the fact that most undocumented workers/immigrants are in fact legal when they first enter the country, usually by plane at the behest of the United States government. A wall, a ban won’t help unless it is to play to Trump’s base. No secret here. Trump is a blunt instrument, a golf club flung with ignorance into the mirror of human rights.

With each travel ban Americans rose in opposition, and not just the larger states but even Jeff Session’s “island in the Pacific”. The affront of the legislation seemed to touch Americans on an unprecedented level, from post-election protests to pickets at the airport.

“Many states followed not unlike engaging in a nation wide rain dance to quell Trump’s fire of divisiveness…”

Many states followed not unlike engaging in a nation wide rain dance to quell Trump’s fire of divisiveness, the ban and the fight had begun. Days later, those who had taken to the streets celebrated their victory. The ban had been lifted, racism defeated at least until last Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court voted to lift the stay on the travel ban.

The travel ban had returned like a backdraft consuming human rights, children, refugees. Trump’s scorched earth policy newly aflame. It was Trump’s day but only partially.

Trump’s travel ban was not fully reinstated, instead only specific provisions sufficient enough to block refugees and anyone wanting to enter the country without a “credible claim”. Unaffected are persons who have relatives within the United States, students, employees—everyone else is now ostensibly blocked. Trump finally has his wall.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in an enviably speech (the likes of which may trigger a future Trump Twitter outburst) during a press conference Trudeau stated, “…Canadians have been very clear that we see immigration as a net positive, that we know we don’t have to compromise security to build stronger, more resilient communities.” Thank you Mr. Trudeau for remembering that Canada is a nation of diversity, and stronger for it.

If the adage is true that a friend in need is a friend indeed, Americans have become my new best friend. Canada is not better, in this case, again, simply just different.

 

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