Dear American Neighbors,
As your Canadian neighbor and friend, it is with deep love, empathy and concern that I write to you about your upcoming presidential election. You may say that I need to keep my nose out of your politics, but after recently returning from a trip to Japan, and having been to Hiroshima twice in my lifetime, I feel compelled to reach out to you.
The person for whom you vote on Nov. 8 and who will have access to the nuclear codes needs to be compassionate, temperamentally stable, and armed with judgment that is reasoned and balanced. It goes without saying that a nuclear weapons launch will have catastrophic consequences – ones that don’t respect borders. Barack Obama, who is the only US president to have visited Hiroshima, gets it — and anyone who visits Hiroshima gets it.
I’m concerned that some of you will vote for Donald Trump, because you want change so badly, and you want to believe that he has solutions to the many challenges Americans face.
Given the kinds of vulgar, discriminatory and false statements he has made on the campaign trail, it seems that the Republican presidential candidate is giving you license to disrespect and fear those you don’t like or who are different from you.
I believe you are better than that. More importantly, you need to believe that America is already great, and working together for a brighter future will make you stronger.
So I ask you to please think very hard — and search your heart — when you head to the polls to cast your vote.
The stakes in this election are huge. It’s not about political correctness. What is political correctness anyway? It is ultimately about respect for all people and adjusting language and behavior to reflect that. It is ultimately about treating others as you would want to be treated. Hate-filled rhetoric will only destroy your economy, your global reputation and your souls.
A lot of work has to be done to bring people together by focusing on your similarities rather than any of your differences.
I understand your frustration with the political process, the “establishment,” and the corruption that seems to be embedded within it. It makes sense that you want change and transparency. It looks like you’re between a rock and a hard place right now. I understand your disappointment with your political parties, but for the sake of your safety and reputation, use your vote to demonstrate that you want peace and prosperity for all. Think about the women and children in your life — in fact, all families.
I believe Hillary Clinton, as a mother and now grandmother, cares for and is concerned about the future of your children. I also believe she has some very intelligent, diplomatic, caring and outstanding people around her who, along with you and the media, will hold her feet to the fire to ensure she hears loud and clear that she needs to keep her campaign promises. You have already humbled her into being a better politician. If she doesn’t do her job, then vote for someone else in 2020.
There are so many other countries that have elected female presidents or prime ministers. What message will you send the world if you choose a candidate who disrespects women, is cavalier with his language and opinions, and apparently has no clear policies to tackle the pressing issues that are the cause of great turmoil in your country and abroad?
I’m reminded of a documentary I saw called The Corporation. In it, there’s a checklist of the characteristics of psychopathic behaviour: callous disregard for the feelings of others; incapacity to maintain enduring relationships; reckless disregard for the safety of others; deceitfulness; repeated lying; taking advantage of others for profit; inability to experience guilt; and failure to observe social norms and ethical behavior.
Now, one might argue that the main presidential candidates display some or all of the above characteristics. However, only one owns a true corporation, has written a book about how to be successful, and seems to regard revenge as a worthy attribute.
Many of you have said, facetiously or genuinely, that you will come to Canada if Trump wins. That’s great, and I’m sure Canada can use your talents. We welcome you. After all, we have draft dodgers here from the days of Richard Nixon’s presidency. I’m sure, however, that your country needs you more, needs you to stay and do the hard work of restoring faith in your neighborhoods, communities, schools, cities, states and regions.
Young people need role models who are not misogynist, racist or traffic in words and actions that instill fear. Don’t let the Republican candidate manipulate your emotions. Please let him know that you see through him.
I believe you know deep down that it’s the right thing to vote for Hillary. The world will embrace her.
I know many of you are thinking of voting for a third-party candidate. If Trump was not on the ticket, this may be a good strategy. The reality is that this could result in a Trump presidency. If you are a Republican and you have females in your life, vote for Hillary or don’t vote at all. If you are undecided or an independent, then please vote for Hillary. If you are a Democrat, get out and vote.
Finally, please, don’t write your mother’s name or your pet’s name on your ballot. Really make your vote count by sending a strong message to Donald Trump that it’s not a rigged election and that democracy in America is resilient.
Let your vote show you can all take the high road.
May you vote with peace in your hearts and the future of your children in mind.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
A Canadian neighbour,
Vancouver Island, BC
Sandra Weames is a resident of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.