They used to be about getting older, when getting older was something to strive for. Now birthdays are about remembering what I have to be thankful for, because I know by now its the only way to really live. I'm thankful for everything I have: friends, family, fortune. And also what I don't have: Leprosy. Lupus. Gingivitis. I try not to think about the rest. The bad in the world. The suffering. All the people who don't have the privileges i enjoy as a young white male in the New World.
i've been thinking about those privileges a lot lately. Where they come from. Who affords me them. Why so many others struggle to have them. Why...me?
I can't believe my life sometimes. The fortune. Things i need and want manifest before in me as if by magic. Opportunities and possibilities flourish. I walk safe streets with strong legs and when I'm tired, I rest.
Who do I thank for this? Veterans? Teachers? Queen Victoria? OBAMA?
They all played a role, as did the migratory fishermen, merchant capitalists, puritans and social outcasts that claimed this land for their own so I can thrive off of it centuries later. And thrive, I do.
The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness isn't given once and for all. It's a continual battle. We may not see or hear it, but every day, war is being waged to ensure I get my nightly eight hours.
This quote has remained etched on my mind. We enjoy such a lush life in Canada, and we owe somebody for that. I guess with nine out of ten of us living less than a two-hour drive from the US border, with whom we share the world's biggest trading relationship, it's safe to say we owe the US for that, including her rough men.
Donald Trump is one of those men. Not rough in a militaristic sense (he dodged multiple drafts), but in a doggedly defensive sense; a sense completely motivated by the addiction to power and ego gratification; a completely and utterly senseless kind of sense.
I'm scared of Donald Trump. I was scared of him on The Apprentice. Even then, he was the face of pure evil. And I can't believe that I'm living in a time when Donald Trump, is the most powerful person on earth.
I struggle to find the positive. The nugget of hope to right our path when the planet, like a doomed flight, suddenly switches course and veers off in the very wrong direction. The positive is in there, but it's not where I hoped it would be.
In Trump's world, I see bombs, I hear protests. I see judges in bulletproof benches pounding gavels and sealing the fates of immigrants and minority groups. I see disgusting brutality at the hands of police.
In Trump's world I see mass upheaval, mass incarceration, mass madness. A world whose temperature barrels past the point of no return even before the ink has dried on the treaty intended to thwart the crossing of that devastating threshold.
What has truly startled me about this election, other than how utterly oblivious we are to the concerns of entire swathes of the population that don't share our views, is how easily seduced we allow ourselves to be by an image we identify with.
We wanted Hillary to win for many reasons, just as we love Obama for many reasons. I appreciate how they both championed equal rights and spoke out against corruption and violence. I like Hillary's toughness, and when I see Obama, I want to kiss him. But five years ago, both opposed marriage equality, and both waged wars that killed innocent people. Mass incarceration, gun violence, police brutality and environmental degradation all flourished under their whole or partial rule. In fact, going on experience alone, we may feel safe knowing the president-elect has far less blood on his hands than his formidable opponent.
It may sound rational, but despite his hateful comments, despicable displays of misogyny and racism and the vacant, hollow crevasse that occupies the space reserved for his heart, Trump's world, in many ways, may not be that different from Hillary's. Bombs will continue to drop and involvement in conflicts will continue to increase (as they've done under Obama). because, with all her blunders and blemishes, her conflicts and conquests, her dirty secrets and fundamental flaws, the US is doing something right, and whatever that is, we are all benefiting from it.
And thats where I find the positive. A kind of positive that is tinged with terror. A terrifying kind of positive. That's how I feel.