I am not where I am from. I am away.
Where I am from has changed. Some would say it hasn’t changed, and this is proof, this new change, that the changes of the past weren’t changes at all, and the only change is us seeing through it. But the whole world’s felt it this time. A great yawning crack in the earth has opened. Like a fault-line fracture spewing deposits of subterranean gas, the quality of air has changed.
We are living in a different world.
On November 8th, I was sitting at my office desk, nervously refreshing CNN’s live update page as the first polls began to close. Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer provided a concentrated energy of objective professionalism, as if we were to truly believe they were impartial to the possibility held by the night. We were to ignore that the nation’s collective outrage had passed a threshold where either outcome could trigger a deeper chaos, to focus on the ritual ceremony and its intricate necessities. Ana Navarro was eager for a reckoning for the Trump campaign’s xenophobic rhetoric, brought about by an ascendant and morally united Latino coalition. She gave me hope.
Around me in the office, most were unaffected. They were aware of the night’s proceedings, and most had a fairly strong position, but for them, it lacked immediacy: win or lose, it wasn’t their election. The emotion American politics provides the average Canadian citizen seemed to be one of tense entertainment, a font of clownish and unrespectable behavior from a bordering country that reveled in it.
“Oh, I can’t believe he’s said (insert any damn headline here). It’s really been something so far.” There is a generous restraint to their commentary. They’ll make a joke about annexing the West Coast and New England. Co-workers hailing from countries such as Turkey, Venezuela, and the Philippines compare the election, compare Trump, to the issues and violence facing their homelands. They probe me for details, opinions, watching my reaction to it all. Being American, I am a tangible anchor to the insanity enveloping my country and affecting the world.