When news broke that Donald Trump had defeated Hillary Clinton in the Presidential election, countless U.S. citizens bombarded the Canadian immigration website, causing it to crash. While I understand the motivation behind their actions, I find this solution to be unreasonable. When encountering a wolf, one can sheepishly run and be chased into the woods or stare the wolf in the eye and make it feel your fear. Rather than viewing Canada as a potential sanctuary from the wolf that is Trump, we should all look to them for the inspiration to stand tall and roar.
For nearly a decade, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper stifled his nation economically and academically with his archaic leadership views, but Canadians persevered. This resilience paid off a year ago when Justin Trudeau was elected to replace Harper. Trudeau has since put forth a thoughtfully progressive platform that includes all Canadians and maintains a perspective on the future.
With the U.S. election concluded, we cannot change who is to be our next President, but we can still strive to effect societal change through our own actions. The time for anger, resentment, and hateful rhetoric has passed—the path to national solidarity lies in civil political discourse and human decency. To move forward as a people, we must understand and embrace the fact that we are each an individual with ideas, emotions, and a thirst for the empathy of others. You don't have to agree with someone in order to offer them kindness, and such a civil act could accelerate conflict resolution. As I have written in the past, "Divisive rhetoric merely galvanizes followers against dissenters while alienating the undecided. To converse is to be productive."
This is going to be a long four years, but I know we as a nation will survive. Despite the election of Trump, I know we can be "Stronger Together", with or without the leadership of Hillary Clinton. As a straight, white male firmly seated in the Trump demographic, I understand that my circumstances will be far better than those of countless others. To all of the women, disabled individuals, religious and ethnic minorities, and members of the LGBTQ community, I shall do my best to stand with you in this fight for equal rights and treatment. While I cannot shed your tears, I will loyally join you in taking on the bully who made you cry.
We still live in a wonderfully diverse country with limitless potential. As such, we mustn't sit idly by until 2020 in hopes that Michelle Obama will save us from a regressive political machine so we can begin rebuilding all that was lost. (If she does run, I will proudly cast my ballot for her.) We can only fix our future through our actions in the present, so we must utilize these four years to reinforce the foundation of our nation through civility and compromise, allowing us to reach new and amazing heights.
The United States is currently a wayward ship on a vast, dark sea, but Canada can be our lighthouse—a beacon of hope allowing us to sail straight and true for their political shore. When we arrive, our nation shall truly be a great place, despite the empty promises of Donald Trump, and freedom from fear will be a right for all individuals rather than a privilege of the biologically selected few.