From The North, Looking In

canada flag with mountain range view
Photo by Daniel Joseph Petty on

As a Canadian, I’m in an unusual spot when it comes to the current US government. Close enough to be extremely concerned, but absolutely and completely powerless to do anything about it. I watch from the sidelines, cheering on and supporting my American friends, I yell and point out the horrific acts, pinwheeling my arms madly in hopes that others who are in the US take notice, spread the word, and take action.

I’m a damn spectator, and there’s nothing I can do about it.

Every now and then, I run across a Facebook post, or a Tweet, exhorting the need for civility. “Don’t let politics divide friendships and family!” for example.

But there’s a problem with that: US politics really aren’t about politics anymore. That’s been left in the dust, probably around the time the first picture hit the internet of a sobbing child in a cage. US politics has now become about morals and principles.

When you say, “Put aside politics!” what you’re really saying is, “Hey, I know the GOP is abducting children from parents, stuffing them in cages, then turning around and adopting some of them out, but just let’s not talk about that, okay?”

You’re saying, “Yeah, I know that they want to strip transgender and non-binary people of human rights, but let’s just enjoy a game of cards!

You’re saying, “Oh, yeah… voter suppression is a serious issue, in fact by eliminating P.O. Boxes as a valid address it eliminates Indigenous people on reservations, but damn, did you see the latest episode of Dr. Who?

You’re saying, “Yeah, women came forward about Kavanaugh. Dr. Ford testified at his job interview. The FBI thing was a TOTAL joke, I mean, a week, and they ignored the witnesses and everything. Yeah, there’s a guy who showed he was completely incapable of holding his temper during a job interview, who has serious allegations of sexual assault against him but hey, he’s on SCOTUS now, for life. Deal with it.” and, “It doesn’t matter how many women claim to be assaulted. If the guy is white and powerful, we don’t care. I mean, it’s not like *her* life is as important as *his*. Cause even if he DID do anything, well, he was drunk, he was a kid, and the fact that she was YOUNGER than him just doesn’t matter, because hello, white and rich.”

And please, don’t bother to argue, excuse or defend. It doesn’t work.

Because supporting the GOP… well, it’s like making a pan of brownies… and adding half a cup of dog shit to the batter. And then, when people don’t want to touch them, protesting, “It’s only half a cup! There are perfectly GOOD ingredients in there too!

No. The cup of dog shit taints the entire batch. And so it goes with what Trump’s administration has done, and plans to do. You cannot look for exceptions when human rights violations are ongoing, and there are plans for more. You cannot overlook voter suppression and still claim to be proud of your country. You cannot be aware of white nationalists gaining power via the current administration and shrug, yet still claim to be a good person, a good friend.

It’s simply not possible.

A good person cannot excuse kidnapping children and putting them in cages. A good person cannot hear of active shooter drills at elementary schools and refuse any form of gun control. A good person won’t shrug and say their life is good, who cares about people of colour, same sex couples, transgender, non-binary people and women.

And make no mistake: women are absolutely endangered under the current administration. You need look no further than what happened during the SCOTUS process to realize that. Or the apology given to Kavanaugh by Trump, on behalf of all Americans. Women aren’t to be believed. Women aren’t to be trusted with their own bodily autonomy, if Roe vs. Wade is repealed, as is expected.

There is a war going on in the US. And if you’re poor, a POC, LGBTQ, NB… anything other than a rich white male, you’re involved. Because you’re the target.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m in Canada that it seems I can see these things more clearly than some folks in the US. Or maybe it’s because I really don’t have a vested interest, beyond humanity and common sense. I don’t need to worry about the folks around my holiday table having different perspectives than my own, or scrabble to find something, anything that will keep me from upending a gravy boat onto someone’s lap who is a Trump supporter. Maybe some of the deliberate blindness is a form of self preservation. If you don’t *see* a problem, well, you don’t have to address it, right?

I would suggest that if ignorance of the law is no excuse, then turning your face away from issues, and burying your head in the sand is no excuse either.

And please don’t bother to try to argue Christianity and forgiveness, either. Even Jesus flipped tables and brandished a whip, and He’s way more tolerant than I.

And, let’s be honest: if Jesus showed up at the border, a brown refugee? The current admin would throw Him in a cage.