I am most likely dating myself, but I clearly remember this childhood game. Do you? Ah, the innocence of our youth. Sadly, in adult life, Follow The Leader is no longer a sweet little game.
Albert Einstein once wrote that, "setting an example is not the main means of influencing others; it is the only means".
And President Trump is now Leader. His example - his actions, words and deeds influence others, his Followers.
* "When Mexico sends it's people......they're bringing crime. They're rapists."
* "...because laziness is a trait in blacks."
* "...total and complete shutdown of Muslims' entry..."
Xenophobia has now been officially sanctioned. Citizens are now more comfortable showing mistrust and fear. Hate is being normalized. Emboldened white supremacists feel justified in their actions. They have a Leader. Is that what Trump meant when he declared himself "President for all Americans"?
Hate crimes and racist incidents have significantly increased since Mr. Trump's election. American mosques have received letters calling Muslims "a vile and filthy people". A Puerto Rican family awoke one morning to discover their family car with the words "Go Home" emblazoned on it. Latino students have been bullied. "You wetbacks need to go back to Mexico." Dear God, these are just children. A Sikh man was shot in his driveway, the shooter yelling, "Go back to your country".
No one knows the pain of hate crimes more than the Jewish population and they have not been immune to recent attacks. The U.S. has experienced a spike in vandalism and bomb threats targeting Jewish institutions and property. One might argue that the President supports Israel, but like a cancer, once unchecked, hate insidiously grows and spreads. I promise that the thugs attacking Jewish institutions don't give a damn about Trump's Israeli policies. Anything or anybody different is now a legitimate target.
"Oh, get over it" you say. "We live in gentle Canada."
Trudeau, Sr. once spoke of Canadan-U.S. relations, comparing them to "sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly or even-tempered is the beast......one is affected by every twitch and grunt." Despite Canada's reputation for being kind, friendly, open-minded, 'oh-sorry-ish', we have an intolerant, bigeted, white supremacist underbelly eagerly awaiting the right Leader. Tragically, Toronto and Quebec City have already experienced the targeted actions of this sewer-dwelling segment of our population. Canada is not immune and I worry.
So? I for one refuse to play this American version of Follow The Leader; I am relieved to be expelled. I have promised myself to not remain silent, to speak out against xenophobia, racism, intolerance and lies, and to work diligently against any Canadian leadership hopeful exhibiting Trump-like qualities. Follow The Leader is no longer a childhood game.