Most Canadians are amazed that so many of our American neighbors even want Trump as their president. Since his election in 2016, the Canadian media and most of the American media have been unrelenting in their disparagement of the man.
He has been portrayed as both a fool and an evil genius – often at the same time. Canadian pundits and journalists almost universally declared everything Trump did to be wrong. We were assured that the American people had been awakened to the perfidy and pure incompetence of the man, and would never re-elect him. And yet they did. What is going on?
Could it be that we were wrong? Could it be that we have been swayed by a biased media that despised Trump and everything he stood for? Could it be that the American people saw something that we did not – that Trump actually gets some things right – that he is not in fact the devil incarnate?
Regardless in the end whether Trump or Biden ultimately prevails after all the recounts and court cases confirm who the President is to be, it should be recognized that Trump has done some things right. And the “racism” claims are disproven as he increased Republican votes from the Black, Hispanic and Asian communities. This is an addition to his competent handling of the economy and landmark peace progress in the Middle East.
But even for those who will always fiercely dislike Trump and disagree with his Republican policies, we must respect the will of our American neighbours. They have intimate knowledge of what it means to live in the United States and they know what they need. We don’t. If we truly believe in the principles of democracy we must respect their decision.
Let’s take a second look at our rather superficial view of a President who is the butt of so many puerile jokes and slurs. Perhaps Canadians who are in the habit of blindly signalling their contempt for a duly elected president should consider the fact that they are insulting the American electorate every time they make another tired “Trump joke”. Maybe it is time for a more mature relationship with our southern neighbour?
It is also the truth that Canada absolutely depends on the strength and stability of “Our American Cousin”. The love-hate relationship we have with America is understandable given our proximity and relative weakness. As Pierre Trudeau once famously said, “living next to America is like sleeping with an elephant, one is affected by every twist and grunt.”
But we should not go overboard on our anti-American braggadocio. And on the subject of Trump, Canadians have become almost unhinged. We should not be so distracted by “Trump jokes” that we forget that we are so dependent on America for our security and financial well-being. America’s success is our success. Trump’s pipeline and energy policies alone may be a lifesaver for Canada.
So perhaps we should rein in the demonizing rhetoric this time around if Trump succeeds in contesting the election results, and recognize the good as well as the bad. Perhaps we can have a more mature relationship with the next administration than we did with the last?
Brian Giesbrecht, a retired judge, is a senior fellow with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.
Photo by History in HD on Unsplash.