Dear American friends,
It’s time. The end of the race is here. As we say in Vancouver we’re at the last quarter mile mark. The primaries are over. The conventions are over. It’s time to get real and get down to business.
I am a Hillary fan. I think she will make a fantastic president. I along with basically every non-American in this world really hope you make the right choice come November.
This race isn’t Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. The two candidates are really different and they represent a battle unfolding all over the world between tolerance and hate, between hope and fear, and between absurdity and pragmatism.
This isn’t some trivial unimportant thing. Politics is personal. It matter to your daily lives and what your future will look like. We learned that the hard way here in the UK. I expected England to vote leave but when it actually hit, when it actually happened, when we woke up to the headlines there was just a general air of sadness. I talked to the Belgian receptionist at my hostel, who was unsure whether he could remain in Oban and Scotland, who now had no idea what his future looked like. I got a coffee at Costa and was served by a lovely Polish lady who I wanted to hug and felt so sad for. Everyone was just sad. I felt less welcome and less safe, not that I ever felt very welcome in the UK — their endless efforts to make students feel like they need to get out the second they graduate have worked on me. I was surprised by just how sad everyone felt. I didn’t know what to expect but it was like a wake. The youth were defeated. Hope had lost and hate attacks escalated. Suddenly people felt like it was okay to tell non-white people to go home and to attack Polish culture centres. My EU friends faced uncertain futures as turmoil took over. A pack of idiotic buffoons revealed that there was no plan, that they hadn’t expected to win, that the hate and disillusionment and protest votes had never been supposed to build up to this.
There were protests, lots of them. I have never seen so many EU flags as I did in the couple of weeks that followed. The sad thing is that it was all too late. The protests after the fact couldn’t stop it. They didn’t change the vote or convince people. We waited until it was too late. This is Brexit Britain and it’s a mess.
Watching the DNC I was reminded of another moment. In October Canadians went to the polls and elected a new PM who is known around the world for being attractive. I don’t really care how he looks — he’s no Ryan Reynolds or Ryan Gosling — but the election was really important for the same reasons that Brexit was important and that the presidential election matters. We had a choice between a horrible Conservative PM who had been running our country into the ground for a decade and was generally a bad bad dude. He wanted to spread hate and intolerance of Muslims. The outcome of the election would shape Canada for years to come and there was a lot at stake. Many people on the left voted strategically just to get Harper out. Justin was not my first choice or even my second despite this I am proud to have him as my PM. He has made my country a better place and has enacted policies that are near and dear to my heart like investments in public transport and housing first training. He is not perfect but we won a huge victory against the dark forces of hate on election day and you can too. Watching the DNC reminded me of how I felt watching the live stream of the cabinet being sworn in while people tweeted about how they were totally not crying (I was kind of crying). There was that message of hope and unity and the image of politicians who really do care and want to make things better. I felt like it was possible for the US to be a better place come November.
However, Trump could win. He really could. If you are a disillusioned Sanders voter remember that this is about something bigger. Bernie has gotten behind Hillary and so should you. I can live with Justin who is my third choice because the fourth option was so much worse. Sometimes progress is not doing something as much as it is doing something. Not voting for Trump or Harper or Ukip is progress. Defeating Trump is worth devoting your time and energy to. The fight begins today. You have a duty to stop racism and instability from overtaking your country. Don’t protest in the streets after the terrible thing happens. Rally behind the people who can stop it from happening now. Get involved. Stop Trump before it’s too late. It will be so worth it.