Donald Trump is not my messiah.
Nor is Hillary Clinton.
Nor Justin Trudeau, nor Christy Clark, nor Dianne Watts, nor Gordon Hogg, nor Stephanie Cadieux, nor Marvin Hunt, nor Linda Hepner, nor Wayne Baldwin…
None of these politicians – from political leaders to members of legislatures to civic figureheads – have inspired me to join their campaigns, to wear their buttons, to promote their agendas.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that I didn’t vote for any of them. I’m at pains to vote in every Canadian election that I am eligible for. Sometimes I make my decision based on support for the candidate in a general sense; more often it’s because I support his or her opposition even less.
Yet it seems I live in a world surrounded by others who not only join political movements, they campaign strongly for their candidate of choice.
You know that feeling you get, as a voter, when you’ve found the perfect candidate, the one who you will trust absolutely?
And it amazes me when I hear from those who do.
Take this week’s presidential election in the U.S. In the days and months leading up to it, we’ve heard from more supporters/apologists – from both sides of the border and around the globe – who are adamant that only their candidate was eligible to rise to the position of so-called ‘leader of the free world.’
And I asked myself, why have I never thrown my unequivocal support behind any individual running for office?
Am I the odd person out?
Last spring, I mentioned to one Clinton supporter that I found her party’s and the media’s behaviour off-putting in the lead-up to her selection by the Democrats. To me, it was clear that both were going through the motions of democratic selection; her most prominent challenger, Bernie Sanders, was being sidelined at every turn.
The response was that clearly I was a “Bernie” supporter. I wasn’t – but, obviously, if I wasn’t with Clinton, I was against her, in the minds of so many.
Similarly, I’ve read comment after comment following Trump’s ascension to public office Tuesday that the vote indicated misogyny is alive and well in those United States.
I would counter that while it may well be that some sexist voters were not ready for a female president – just as many racist voters indicated the last two go-’rounds that they were not ready for a non-white president – it’s equally bigoted to assume that all those who opposed Clinton wouldn’t support a female candidate they deemed more credible.
At the risk of revealing too many of my cards, I’ll admit that I found the eventual victor to be an ill-mannered blowhard whose extremist, dangerous words leading up to election day have done more damage to the world than he can ever undo as president.
But that doesn’t mean his opponent would be good for their country… for our world. Likely, just more status quo.
To me, this exasperation with status quo is what inspired the majority of U.S. states to back a candidate whose anti-establishment campaign – all but abandoned by his party’s officials – divided the country and potentially endangers the world.
And I have to assume that most of those who voted for either candidate never sported a “Trump” or “Hillary” button.
But for those who did – and all those in Canada one year ago who wore “Trudeau” or “Harper” or “Mulcair” buttons, or who will proudly don their provincial-party colours next spring – I have to wonder why.
I don’t understand that kind of trust – that absolute faith – in a stranger who, most likely, has done or said little to really earn such devotion.
I simply try to make the best choices possible, given the information available, and pray for the best.
Lance Peverley is editor of the Peace Arch News.