Watching the American election is like watching the world’s slowest train wreck. It’s an observation I made on Twitter sometime on Wednesday evening, Nov. 4 and over a day later it was still proving accurate.
I use social media primarily for entertainment, usually my own, but the constant Donald Trump spectacle for the past four years coupled with the gong show that was my Montreal Canadiens hockey season, has been hindering a lot of the appeal lately. That all changed when the polls started coming in though.
First there were the States that Trump won, only to watch his lead dissipate, prompting the current “leader of the free world to tweet”: “We have claimed, for Electoral Vote purposes, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (which won’t allow legal observers) the State of Georgia, and the State of North Carolina, each one of which has a BIG Trump lead. Additionally, we hereby claim the State of Michigan…”
That’s not how democracy works. You can’t claim States because you don’t agree with the voters, though apparently that’s not going to stop the sitting American President from trying.
Twitter kept blocking his hot takes because not only are they factually incorrect, they are untruthful to the point of being inflammatory if not trying to incite outright violence. Trump kept at it anyway, calling for vote counting to stop in districts where he was ahead and to proceed where he was gaining ground on Democratic rival Joe Biden.
It’s madness, untethered madness demonstrated perfectly in a viral video of spiritual advisor Paula White’s impassioned prayer service.
It’s high entertainment and I will cop to feeling smug that I’m a Canadian and can enjoy it as such, but there are some potentially fatal consequences for a lot of my friends to the south.
On the day voters turned out in the greatest numbers in United States history, a staggering 93,000 new cases of COVID-19 were announced and another 1,200 American citizens died. The USA continues to lead the world in this category.
If nothing else, this election proves just how deeply divided our American neighbours are.
Protestors attempted to storm counting centres more than once. People tweeted that they voted for Trump because they fear Biden will raise their taxes, as if that excuses re-electing an impeached racist who admits he grabs women by the genitalia. Just so long as it’s not your genitalia, eh?
It’s sobering that a recent poll revealed that 12 percent of Canadians view Donald Trump favourably. I fail to understand the appeal, and I’ve had heart-to-heart conversations with people who have tried to explain it.
It usually boils down to fear mongering on some usually undisclosed level, not always racism or sexism but just worry over paying the bills. Tapping into that fear, overtly or covertly, is something a lot of American media – and to be fair even some Canadian media – has gotten quite good at because that means ratings, and ratings means money.
Someone on my feed pointed out that here in Canada, Indigenous women are still being murdered and forgotten. People are battling mental illnesses that our overwhelmed healthcare system cannot handle, sometimes with deadly outcomes.
In Quebec, there are actual language police called the Office quebecois de la langue francais (OQLF) who are actively citing restaurants for English infractions even though the food establishments aren’t even open because of the pandemic. There existed, at one point, an instagram page called White Power Newfoundland.
The spectacle I smack-talked on Twitter now seems as infectious and as deadly as COVID-19. Two days after the election began, my self-righteous Canadian smugness is gone.
The American election isn’t reality entertainment, it’s a gut check.