I’m tired of Trump watching. If you’re a news junkie like me, you know there’s been wall to wall coverage of pretty much everything the new President does, as well as the reaction to his latest proclamations, but, honestly, I can’t be bothered to care anymore. He’s evidenced so little knowledge of anything at a broader scale, and his own staff, cabinet, and aides are spending so much of their time busily contradicting him that it’s become apparent he’s simply a bull in a china shop. Yes, damage is going to be done?but after the initial excitement, it really becomes an issue for animal control. His own staff, cabinet, and aides are busily contradicting him on the worst of his ideas, such as torture. And the world’s nations are already taking steps to organize in such a way that the absence of the United States as a force for good in the world is of little consequence, such as Canada and the Netherlands discussing ways that the two countries could make up for the funding for reproductive health that Mr. Trump has threatened around the world.
China is also already taking steps to move forward into a moral leadership role in the world, as bizarre as that may sound, by moving ahead even more strongly with their commitments to address climate change. Admittedly, China has significant incentive to do so, considering that one of the primary causes of unrest in the country is the quality of the air. However, it shows that even if the United States chooses to abdicate its leadership role in the world and concentrate on itself, the world will get along just fine. What changes President Trump will introduce that have lasting consequence outside the United States’ borders remain to be seen, but given what the American people, from government employees to cabinet members, to people on the street, have all shown, it seems likely that any damage will be contained.
Some have suggested, that, in line with Canada’s 150th birthday this year, if the United States becomes far more protectionist (as an aside, it’s always “if”, isn’t it? That’s one of the things that’s tired me, because, as with anything coming from President Trump, there are no promises he makes that aren’t subject to later “clarification”) this may be a time for Canada, a well-developed nation with ample resources and a highly-educated populace to step forward on the world stage. But I’m not sure I agree. It would be nice, but we lack certain things to become the leading force in the world.
Our Prime Minister, for instance, once said that there’s no core identity in Canada, only shared values. Much of the media in Canada gaped in horror at such a statement, but is he wrong? Ask an American what makes them an American and you’ll likely be told that “being American” does. Ask a Canadian what makes them Canadian, and you’ll likely get a list not of geography, but of the things we value ? mutual respect, peace, health-care, freedom, etc. However, that very notion makes the idea of Canada being a leader in the world unlikely to me. Leading requires a sense of superiority. Those who choose to lead do so because they believe they have the answers to make things better, but also, that their answers are superior.
As Canadians, I don’t think it’s a stretch that, like many nations of the world, we’re fairly confident that we know how to make the world a better place. At the same time, however, we don’t hold that our way is for everyone. In part because, as pointed out above, we don’t really have a singular way. To put it another way, we think the world would be better if more people lived like we do in Canada, but do not necessarily think that people would be better off if they became Canadian.
Which is convenient, because even if we were so inclined, our smaller population would make leading on the world stage difficult. We just can’t bring the type of economic clout to bear that other, more populous nations can.
However, just because you aren’t the lead doesn’t mean you’re not an important player. And as (or if, grr) President Trump isolates America through protectionist action and stepping back from international involvement, Canada, with it’s lack of hubris, is excellently poised from being the solid friend and ally of the United States as the world leader to becoming the solid friend and ally of the next nation (China?) or group (EU?) that takes on that mantle. The bottom line is that, for Canada, anyway, I don’t expect President Trump will have much of a negative effect on us. So I think I’m going to give up Trump watching. I’ve got better things to do with my time.
And speaking of those better things (how’s that for a segue) this week’s issue of The Voice Magazine certainly counts as one. Not only do we have the second part of our interview with AU’s Writer In Residence, we have a look at what makes an AU student (and when you read it, you’ll see what inspired this editorial), a second-look at the new trend of bullet journaling, this time with an eye toward the history and the groups that have formed around it, a question as to when is a book not just a book, and a look at how the women’s marches that happened the day after the inauguration may well be setting the course of history for the future.
But if that all sounds too deep, we also have a smattering of lighter stuff, including our humorous look at the letters you wish you would have sent after your last break-up, and of course advice to help your essays stand out, or just to help you get through the day. That, plus news, scholarship, and updates all here to keep you connected with what’s going on at AU.
Enjoy the Read!