Monday, November 7, 2016
#MicroblogMondays: Dear America
Like many Canadians, too, I have family on both sides of the border -- and on both sides of the political spectrum (which has made Facebook a constant exercise in biting my cybertongue over the past year). Whatever the outcome of the election, I suspect the next few months, perhaps years, are not going to be pretty.
I find myself thinking about the closing days of the second Quebec referendum on independence, which was held October 30, 1995 -- 15 years after the first referendum of 1980, and 21 years ago now (!). Like the current U.S. election, it was a vote that had the power to change my life dramatically (and not in a good way) -- but also one that I had absolutely no say in. The tension in the days leading up to the referendum was almost unbearable. The "Yes" (for Quebec independence) side ran ads showing a falling maple leaf, with a caption in French that translated, ominously, to "In autumn, the maple leaf falls." A few days before the referendum, there was a rally for the "No" (remain in Canada) side in Montreal. I was in the middle of year-end projects at work and could not go, but I think if I could have, I would have. I remember it was a cold, grey, rainy day, reflecting the mood of the country. Busloads of people from across the country converged on Montreal, waving huge Canadian flags, with the message, "Please stay." Many pundits predicted it was too little, too late.
I remember the night of the referendum, and the countdown to 8 p.m., when news coverage of the results would begin. I was beside myself, on the verge of tears. Curiously, once the clock struck 8 and the show began (the soothing tones & presence of CBC's Peter Mansbridge, lol), I started feeling better.
It was still a tense evening. It was very, VERY close. The "No" side ( = remain part of Canada) won by an extremely narrow majority of 50.58%. Believe me, a country can be a very fragile thing -- and your vote DOES matter.
Good luck, America.
You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.