Monday, November 7, 2016

#MicroblogMondays: Dear America

Like many people, my anxiety levels have been going through the roof recently, in the days leading up to the U.S. election. Yes, I am Canadian, not American, but as most people living outside the States (let alone right next door) are only too aware, what happens in America affects the entire world. As the father of our current prime minister once quipped, "Living next to you [the U.S.] is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt."

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    


  1. Oh, so ominous...we need the luck. I agree with you that I don't think it's going to be pretty for a while. I fear violence tomorrow, and violence after because one side may not concede and has been fanning the flames of hate for so long. I'm voting after work with Bryce, and then will try my best to stay up for results (thankfully no early morning meetings!). I remember the Quebec vote but not the closeness of it... that's a nailbiter. Politics can be so scary.

  2. We need the good luck. I have no idea what is going to happen Wednesday, but I may want to stay off Facebook because whoever wins the presidency, it's going to be ugly on social media.

  3. Thanks. We're going to need it. This election cycle has been an absolute nightmare, and you're right, that it won't be over even when it's over.

    Shit is not pretty over here right now.

  4. It certainly does feel ominous - how will tomorrow turn out? I might be up all night in the spare room like the night before Brexit - horrors.

  5. I was actually at that 'No' rally. I went to high school very close to the Quebec border and my school sent two busloads of teenagers. I still have a "Non" sign in my closet.

    I am just so gobsmacked and disheartened today. I can't believe this is happening.