I will admit right out of the gate that I have never watched an American election with anything other than passing interest. I am, obviously, well aware that whomever helms the great ship America impacts what happens here in Canada, but I think we would all agree that the impact was never as potentially great (or devastating) as what the results of today’s election could be.
I have watched this event with a strange sense of morbid fascination. With many American friends and colleagues, I have had more than a few in depth conversations about the two candidates, and what the impact of their win or loss would be to the U.S., and to the world. And I also know that my many European friends have been watching with the same sense of bewildered awe as myself, and we all find ourselves strangely and unexpectedly on tender hooks, and I suspect we will feel that way all day long.
The issue is that what we are watching unfold before us, and more importantly it’s results, offer up nothing for the rest of the world than possible wild unpredictability. And I feel for my American friends, as they head to the polls. For many of them, they are trying to choose between what they see as the lesser of two evils. One candidate looks as though with a win, there are four years of poor leadership and a weak presidency ahead. The other candidate appears to offer up four years of a terrifying lack of leadership, and potentially impossibly poor decision making that will impact not only the U.S., but the rest of the world, on a very tangible scale.
Someone commented to me not long ago, after I had written an editorial about Trump, that the U.S. election and its candidates weren’t important here, and that my time should be spent on more local topics. But living on the Calais border, and having such close ties to that community, I think that this is a very local topic. The results of the election will impact them, and as a result, impact us. All over the area for the last week, I have heard people saying, through quasi joking laughter, that they should make a trip to Calais today, as it may be their last opportunity.
And although we all laugh at it, there is an underlying truth to our fear. With talks of walls and potential huge changes in trade deals and access, the future of the relationship between our communities is, however slightly, unknown this morning. What we do know is that whatever happens, we’re with you, American friends, our borders will be open, and you’re always welcome here.