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Week 35: One step forward…

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Barring some unforeseen event, it looks like the agonizing presidency of Donald Trump will soon be over.

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As someone whose re-election campaign seems to have lasted almost as long as his first – and only – term, it’s apparently come as a great shock to himself to see that he’s lost, so much so, that as of this writing he’s yet to concede.

But, I can’t say that’s a surprise.

I’m also not surprised that the Joseph Biden/Kamala Harris combo were successful in their bid for the White House, but, like the rest of the world, spent a few anxious days waiting for that much anticipated announcement which made it real.

In the days since the election, I have read numerous opinion pieces where pollsters and Democrats were criticized for “underestimating Trump,” given the close result.

However, I believe that we all overestimated a good portion of the American public who were clearly content to re-elect a man who has done nothing but destroy the country’s global reputation as well as nothing to stop the continual rise of COVID-19 infections and deaths in the U.S.

I was not shocked when Trump was elected in 2016 and could almost understand how so many people still felt disenfranchised by the political system. Many were victims of an ever-changing global economy that was leaving them behind and they were desperate to believe that Trump could restore the glory days of yore.

They were in love with the idea that this swaggering, lying, philandering, divisive, swindling, hypocritical mess of a man wasn’t a career politician and that he would bring a fresh new ‘everyman’ regime to the White House.

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I’m not going to rehash every disgusting and contemptible act that man has completed over the past four years but I can’t help but feel incredibly saddened and disappointed that so many Americans were willing to let the moral corruption continue.

And let’s not kid ourselves, there is a segment of the population in Canada, indeed in Chatham-Kent who had hoped to see him re-elected.

I’m not really sure what that’s about, although I suspect in some cases it’s because Trump has declared himself ‘pro-life.’

However, he’s declared himself a lot of things, including the winner of the 2020 election, but that doesn’t make them true.

What is true is that the divide among people of opposing political viewpoints has deepened in recent years and the collective trauma that is 2020 has further exacerbated the emotional distance between us.

Now that this agonizing election has all but ended, I’m feeling a little more optimistic as we start looking forward to 2021.

The health of the planet has never been in a more fragile state and I hope that the U.S. will rejoin the Paris climate accord as Biden has promised.

And, he has already announced a coronavirus advisory board to help steer the next U.S. administration.

Despite Monday’s exciting news of the first successful COVID vaccine, there are still many dark days ahead.

As of Sunday, the U.S. had already recorded 10.1 million infections and 238,000 COVID-related deaths.

By contrast, Canada, with just over a tenth of the population of the U.S., had recorded 264,000 cases and 10,522 deaths.

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Numbers continue to rise around the world and we must continue being responsible mask wearers, hand washers and social distancers if we want to avoid an actual lockdown again.

Despite some anti-masker rants to the contrary, we are not currently in a lockdown. Yes, there are some restrictions, but nobody’s human rights are being trampled and the virus isn’t a conspiracy (the things you actually have to say in 2020!).

The next American president has a long road ahead of him, but Joe Biden’s vow to be a president to “all Americans,” including those who didn’t vote for him bodes well for the nation.

And as we look to the future, we must all be mindful of the fact that no matter how much we may disagree with one another, we’re all human and we all deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

Our thoughts may be private, but our words and our actions are not, so let’s make them positive ones.

Stay well my friends!

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