It feels oh so much longer, doesn’t it? Almost can’t remember what it was like before.
Last week was the anniversary of the election of Donald Trump. To mark the occasion, he was spanked by a spate of votes that installed Democrats almost as a reflex. We will see if further rejection arrives in next year’s midterms.
By objective measures he has misstated – a generous word, admittedly – some 835 times while in office. Some of the untruths have been howlers, some of the lies unforgivable.
We’ve come to expect another head-shaker to start the day, yet another to complete it.
We are closer to war, farther from saving the planet. Gender, ethnic and sexual recognition and equality are more elusive. The economy is advancing despite and not because of Trump. That being said, I reached back and tried as best I could to find 10 ways we might be better because of the result of a year ago. I can tell you it took some time.
1) We have been inspired to fight more vigorously for what we believe in. The Obama years might have led us to put our ambitions about reducing injustice and discrimination on autopilot in the command of the commander-in-chief. We are alert now and taking back the controls on that vital journey.
2) We have recognized that international leadership need not come strictly from the White House, and that there can be other presidents and prime ministers – even business leaders and activists – upon whom we can depend to guide the world. The default position is no longer with POTUS.
3) We have better understood how our media operate in this landscape of fake news and bias to discern the capabilities of social platforms and determine how responsible media need more public support to perform their roles. Media performance is not always in the public interest, clearly, but it is redeeming to note that slowly and surely the pendulum is swinging back in the favour of those who serve without favour.
4) We have reinvigorated Saturday Night Live. Boy, though, it took a lot.
5) We have stepped back from the smug Canada that pretends it does not exhibit racism or colonialism to be more of a country proud of our comparable political tolerance but also seemingly more eager in this context to reconcile our centuries of Indigenous injustice. The presence of Trump might be helping this.
6) We have recognized that America needs Canada more than we might expect to supply and furnish markets, but that our trading partnership is not necessarily the be-all and end-all of our economic destiny. In other words, the North America Free Trade Agreement can be derided, maybe even dismantled, and while it will be a pain, we will figure out how to work at a more granular level with our largest trading partner and at a more aggressive level with others.
7) We have military leaders, not political partisans, as the adults and advisers in the White House turned child-care centre. Much as that might seem an attack of the hawks, history demonstrates it usually means an occupation by the doves. These are people without fingers eager to push the bad button.
8) We have more clearly apprehended our station in the world as a welcoming door for those fleeing strife and/or seeking opportunity. The Trump bump has been good to indirectly build Canada’s brands of education, health care, tech and culture, even if it’s not necessarily the best way to do so.
9) We have an agreed-upon definition of narcissism.
10) While there were many disturbing factors contributing to Trump’s rise, one positive has been an awakening of how the behaviour of institutions left many people out and behind in America’s supposed progress. The response of America’s politics and business in the time ahead will answer whether they are focused on providing proper attention to those people or whether they will continue to leave flanks exposed to another populist with simplistic proposals.
There. That was hard work.
Kirk LaPointe is editor-in-chief of Business in Vancouver Media Group and vice-president of Glacier Media.