2020 has been a rough year for the relationship between Canada and the United States. The COVID pandemic has put strains on the close ties between us, mostly thanks to the erratic and selfish behaviours of American President Donald Trump. Probably the lowest point came back in the spring when Trump’s administration was actively undermining the attempts of allies like Canada to get PPE to deal with the pandemic, all in an attempt to save his own hide while at the same time calling the pandemic a hoax.
As the year has gone along, we’ve seen the border between our nations close to non-essential travel. The incompetence of the Trump Team and his fellow party members in state houses across the nation as lead to the country known as for so long as the leaders of the free world to become the leaders in COVID cases and deaths. That, along with other factors, has led to an amazing level of unanimity among Canadians to keep the border closed, even as American legislators ask that we reconsider. That isn’t likely to change any soon, as COVID continues to run rampant.
And on top of all of this, it’s a presidential election year in the US. It probably doesn’t shock you to hear that Trump is trailing badly in the polls right now, which makes sense when over 160,000 and counting people die on your watch in five months. All of Trump’s chickens have come home to roost, and that is pushing this uniquely selfish person to do what he does best and most frequently; act in his own personal self interest above everything else.
That’s a behaviour that promises to get worse as November approaches and that presents problems as Trump is increasingly showing that there isn’t any limit to that. Yesterday we saw two separate events take place that highlighted the unique dangers in this moment and how rough things will be for the months to come. First let’s start with the event that directly affects us here in Canada:
Well here we go again everyone. I wish I could say this was shocking or even mildly surprising, but it’s just not. Who cares that we just signed a new trade deal that was supposed to deal with matters like these and who cares that we made concessions to make it work right? Nope, Trump still does this because it suits him and screw the rest. And as if to put the cherry on this crap sundae, Trump says that we were taking advantage of the US “as usual”, acting as if we spend all our days and very existences trying to finds ways to screw our neighbours over. That, of course, is complete BS but when it comes to Trump, he’s proved time and again that he has no issue at all screwing Canada and other allies over in serious ways for the slightest aide to whatever it is that he wants.
He’s been the worst dealer whose word is about as valuable as what he wipes on his toilet paper after his morning constitutional every day as he rises from his golden flushable throne. Of course that does all kinds of damage to the reputation of his country with allies like us, which is one of the reasons why like-minded countries around the World have seen their collective opinions of the United States drop precipitously in the Trump years. But he doesn’t care about that, he only cares about himself, which was something that we all knew thanks to his lifetime of behaviours and actions. It’s hypocritical to the max, but that’s why hypocrites do, right? Speaking of that, next comes the other event from yesterday that should worry us all about what the next months ahead could bring:
Trump has shown himself over his decades in the public eye as someone who will say anything if it thinks it will help him, regardless of how crazy it may sound or how damaging to society as a whole as it may be. That unhinged rant was the verbal equivalent of throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks, but in this case it’s so toxic that it actually eats through the drywall once it makes contact. But somehow that piece of video was worse and beyond the usual pale. In what universe is it acceptable or even sane to say that a life-long and devote catholic is “against God”, wants to “hurt God” and “hurt the Bible”, let alone to have that said by someone who is a morally compromised as Trump? If that happened a decade ago most people would have laughed because it would be such an unserious thing to say. Yet here in 2020 those words are dangerous, mostly because there is a dedicated group of people who support Trump and believe anything and everything that he says. Logic and reason means nothing to them, so they will believe it when Trump says those things. And what’s worse? Trump knows that and is using that fact.
That is the big danger in this moment and in the months ahead to come. Trump is becoming more and more desperate trying to save his presidency. That’s leading him to push the envelope even further with his words, his rants, and his accusations. The truth or plausibility of them doesn’t matter because Trump knows that those who will follow him will do so absolutely. We seen other examples in the past month, with Trump calling peaceful protestors exercising their constitutional rights “terrorists” and “anarchists” while also trying to sow doubt about the very legitimacy of the democratic process if it doesn’t go his way.
That’s very dangerous for Americans themselves, but it’s also extremely dangerous for we allies who have come to depend on American leadership on the world stage. It’s also especially dangerous for us in Canada; not only has this administration shown that they will cause us serious harm if it helps Trump win votes in Ohio or Wisconsin, but it’s always a dangerous situation when you have a potential failed state sitting on your border. If things weren’t stressful enough dealing with a global pandemic and its consequences, there is this election in the Fall that could have a serious effect on our lives here in Canada. Politics are a fact of life but even within that context, you don’t try to hurt your closest friends and allies like this. What’s the point of having trade agreements and political alliances if they result in us being thrown under the bus for such cheap and selfish reasons? What happened yesterday has the potential to do lots of damage not just to us here now, but to our relationship with our friends and neighbours going forward. Yesterday is the kind of day that makes many of us think long and hard about how much more of this crap we are willing to take because if this is how they treat their friends, it’s only rational to question if it’s even worth being friends at all.