Nov 7
2016

The Movement

Canadians could be more honest about the Trump thing. We take such pleasure in pretending we are somehow different or better. We don’t understand!

I admit it has been fun to pretend I don’t understand, with my wife and friends and colleagues. I want it to be true. I want Canada to be the country Glynnis McNicol writes about.  I write this from England, where everyone is as obsessed as they are in Canada. How could this have happened? Has the world gone mad? Will anything ever be the same? What’s wrong with these people? Twitter is ruined! Who ARE these people?

I grew up in a blue-collar town with an economy based almost entirely on oil. In the early 1980s, I was just old enough to understand there were once good days, when the oil price was high. We were then living in bad days, and it was someone’s fault. The oil glut was the liberals’ fault. It was the foreigners’ fault.

We lived in a small bungalow by the railroad tracks. We socialized with white people who lived in trailer parks with massive TVs and stereo systems and trucks they could no longer afford.

 

Imagine an enormous television, huge speakers, lots of cigarette smoke, and the smell of a freshly-cracked Pilsner.

 

Racist jokes were normal, at the smoky parties where adults drank beer. There was an apartment complex, not far from my house, that everyone called “Paki Palace.” Threats were everywhere: in Toronto and Ottawa, where the liberal elites lived. In Paki Palace, where job-stealing, price-fixing foreigners lived.

The adults took enormous delight in complaining and blaming and hating over beer. I was a kid, listening and not-listening. None of these afternoons and evenings and late nights ever felt dark or menacing. It was how adults entertained themselves. They comforted one another.

At that time, no one on television said any of the things my people said. Political leaders did not speak this way. It was the special, coded language of the aggrieved.

My people were conservatives but it was more cultural than ideological. Liberals in suits were against them in some vague but serious way.

If someone like Trump were to have expressed all their feelings, on television and at political rallies, it would have been cathartic. It would have been beautiful. They would have done anything for him.