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City Holler

Trish Kelly explores the issues and challenges that face our growing city.

Resisting Trump in Vancouver

There has already been enough harm done by Trump to stand against, writes Trish Kelly.

A group of around 450 Torontonians dissatisfied with the results of the American election gathered at Nathan Phillips Square to protest, marching afterwards to the U.S. consulate where a rally was held, Toronto, Sunday, November 13, 2016.

Eduardo Lima/Toronto Star

A group of around 450 Torontonians dissatisfied with the results of the American election gathered at Nathan Phillips Square to protest, marching afterwards to the U.S. consulate where a rally was held, Toronto, Sunday, November 13, 2016.

I just got back from four days in America, where I managed to avoid a single conversation about Trump. I was in Chicago, a vast American metropolis with four times the population of Greater Vancouver, a place brimming with impressive architecture, culture, and history, but also much racialized violence and poverty.

On my way home, when I handed my passport to the airport security guard, an older man with yellow hair and a moustache, complimented me on my Canadian passport. He assured me I would get across the border easily because Americans trust Canadians, then added, it’s if you’re Mexican that you can’t be trusted.

It’s not always easy to call bull in the moment. A security guard holding your passport in his hands isn’t looking for a balanced conversation or enlightenment.

City Holler:

On the other end of my flight, while waiting at the luggage carousel, a Fijian-Canadian man who works as a driver in the film industry spoke to me about Trump and what he could do for the US. The driver didn’t think anything too drastic would happen, and suggested we give Trump a chance and see what he does. Another man, an investment banker from Chicago, joined in on the conversation and said some of the things that Trump says make sense.

Still waiting for my luggage to appear, I opened up my phone and RSVPed for Vancouver’s Women’s March, to be held in solidarity with the march in Washington this coming Saturday morning.

Most of us have some privilege we could rest on, some reason we could decide we are not personally in the crosshairs of the alt right, so we can wait to see what dread may or may not come. Such complacency is at the heart of the “locker room talk” that breeds rape culture. Such complacency lifted the Nazis to power, and made invisible the residential schools that gutted First Nations communities in Canada.

There has already been enough harm done by Trump to stand against. How he talks about women, people with disabilities and people from other countries endangers them, and that’s not acceptable.

Remember, a politician on the campaign trail is on their best behavior, their behaviour muted by the need for votes. The Trump we’ve seen is not the rashest, most bigoted, most antagonizing he can be.

True citizenship is not just about voting, it’s about staying tuned in and speaking up when a politician betrays their promised agenda or is harming the people. Now is our chance to draw a roadmap for Trump and other politicians, to show the power we will claim between elections.

We all should all make it to Saturday’s rally. There is strength in speaking up together.

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