The future under Trump
In “Rule-breaker in chief” (Newsmakers, Dec. 12), Jonathon Gatehouse spends a page enumerating the long litany of offenses, verbal and otherwise, committed by Donald Trump against all manner of animal, vegetable, and mineral. But then, remarkably, Gatehouse writes that, even compared to all of the above, the campaign of Hillary Clinton outmatched Trump’s in terms of “ineptitude.” Really? The Democrats’ campaign was professional and efficient, including a well-planned convention and a solid voter-turnout operation. Clinton was endorsed even by Republican newspapers. By most counts she won all three debates, and committed almost no gaffes to speak of during the final stretch of the campaign. But this was the election season where the mantras of “lock her up” and “trump that bitch” beat the Democrats’ apparently less memorable slogans of “stronger together,” “don’t boo, vote,” and “when they go low, we go high”—the last of which was a bold-faced lie. We all know now that it should have been: “When they go low, they win.”
Michael Lynderey, Oakville, Ont.
God cleared the way for Donald Trump to win, whether he fully realizes that or not. That’s because the rise and fall of a nation’s leaders happens under the sovereignty of God, who is often working in larger ways and with a longer perspective than we can know. The U.S. is still a sin-saturated and divided nation, and Trump will not fix it all; he himself is a leader with human flaws. The reason that white U.S. Christian Americans voted for Trump was not about him per se, it was about toppling a sinful, demonic, infested government. Trump is just a tool being used by God; a so-called “modern Cyrus.” Now we have a 44-year-old kid in charge of our nation who has embarrassed this nation by saying that a mass murderer, Fidel Castro, is a hero, and who is now going to go head to head in NAFTA negotiations with the toughest dealmaker in the world?! Let’s pray for Canada.
S.R. Watkins, Lethbridge, Alta.
A letter-writer tells Maclean’s to “get over” the U.S. election and to “give the new administration a chance” (“Sore winners, sore losers,” Letters, Dec. 12). I expect there was a similar letter in the Times of London shortly after the July 1932 election in Germany. It couldn’t happen in this day and age, you say? That’s funny, that’s what they said then, too.
Peter Jepson, Belleville, Ont.
So Anne Kingston believes that, as of Trump’s inauguration, the United States will be the equivalent of Nazi Germany and other “fascist regimes” (“A harrowing linguistic moment,” Dec. 12)? Really? So she has assigned Congress, the House of Representatives, the judiciary and the military to the dustbin? Likewise, Evan Solomon asks how Justin Trudeau will hold up now that “The dawn of the strongman era is here” (Dec. 12) and equates a Trump presidency with Putin’s Russia. Seriously? Your Chicken Little attitude is going to look fairly silly in a few years time when you learn that Trump does not have the range of power that you seem to believe he does. The U.S. system of government is based on checks and balances—maybe you both missed that class in high school. Trump will learn soon enough that he is not the all-powerful leader he might think he is—he is going to be closer to “the great and powerful Oz.” It is time Maclean’s dialled back the panic rhetoric from the level 11 that you are at now.
John Bower, Regina
Donald Trump on the cover of three consecutive editions is, in my opinion, more than enough. Overkill, in fact. Don’t forget, you’ll likely need another cover or two, within the year, to attend to the details of his resignation or impeachment.
Rob Payne, Chatham-Kent, Ont.
The fact that media all over North America saw fit to showcase Donald Trump’s face and his idiotic rantings was one reason for his election success. Our American neighbours will now have to face the consequences of having chosen as their leader a childish man who is totally unfit to govern. That is sad. However, we in Canada have a lot of serious issues that require our attention, and I am tired of seeing Trump’s smug face on every cover.
Teresa Porter, Newmarket, Ont.
Donald Trump is not the author of the rabid partisanship, inequality, violence and racism in America today; he merely harnessed that anger and fear and rode it to victory (“It could happen here,” New World Order, Nov. 28). While no nation is immune to the appeal of a demagogue, Canada has a tradition of tolerance and non-violence, and a much less partisan, more civil custom of government. Canada still boasts a large and prosperous middle class. Economic inequality has been partially addressed through public health care, education and a substantial social safety net. While violence and racism are still too common, they do not generate the same level of fear and anger as in the U.S. Even Canadian media, notably the CBC, contribute a somewhat more balanced perspective on important issues. As George Orwell once noted, “People who elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims, but accomplices.” Canadians can best avoid the spectre of a homegrown agitator by staying informed on matters of consequence and by continuing to advance a vision of society that is respectful, empathetic and inclusive.
Mike Ward, Duncan, B.C.
Donald Trump’s victory means that the Republicans will have the presidency, the House of Representatives and the Senate, in addition to most state governorships and legislatures. The Supreme Court will probably soon have a conservative majority. This concentration of political power may seem fearsome. Hopefully, it will work to smooth out Trump’s rough edges and reel him towards the political middle. This moderating trend will likely be aided by Trump’s big ego: in order to be regarded in history as a truly successful president, he will probably seek a second term. This, he knows, will not be possible unless he expands his support base by walking back some of his more extreme campaign rhetoric.
Wayne Joseph Kelly, Courtenay, B.C.
The future of democracy
Your Nov. 21 Editorial says, “Trust in the institutions necessary for a functioning democracy has been threatened as never before”—which seems to imply that it is more necessary that a democracy should function than that it actually be democratic. Democratic government is not a function like one’s digestion, that ordinarily one needs only to initiate; it is an action the people must continually perform consciously. Trusting the institutions of democracy amounts largely to trusting the mere machinery of government, and whether one ought to trust any machinery may much depend on who is operating it.
Vincent Colin Burke, Port au Port, N.L.
Learning from the past
Your Dec. 12 Editorial on education takes on the argument that civics, financial literacy, values and healthy living are just as important to a student’s curriculum as the traditional basics; indeed they might be called the “other basics” as their inclusion can produce well-rounded graduates who are self-sufficient. Jerome Bruner, in his 1960 book The Process of Education, puts forth a method that would allow any subject to be woven into what he calls the “spiral curriculum” by introducing simple concepts in kindergarten and building on them each year. Values can be drawn from novels, plays and poetry; financial literacy can be incorporated into math programs. Time is not stolen from the basics: it adds to them by building competence and character.
Charles W. Davies, Fort Erie, Ont.
If there is any lesson for Canada from the recent U.S. election, it is that a more in-depth curriculum in school is needed as part of our history courses. Specifically, more attention needs to be paid to the study of past demagogic leaders encompassing not only their paths to power, but also highlighting their personal traits and rhetoric. It is only through the education of the next generations in our schools and universities that we can more assuredly identify these troublemakers and prevent their ascent into positions of power.
Ross Hollingshead, Toronto
Falling for Fidel
Justin Trudeau is right and Fidel Castro was a great man (“Cool while it lasted,” National, Dec. 19). Castro overthrew the corrupt military government of Fulgencio Batista. In 1959 approximately 50 per cent of school-age Cuban children were without schools, but five years later the Cuban literacy rate was 96 per cent—the highest rate in the Latin Caribbean and Central America. Fidel Castro was not kind to his opposition, but we have allied ourselves to far worse in much of Central and South America. The list of vicious rulers who have received our support is sadly a long one. Castro was not one of them.
Dave Hutchinson, Calgary
The mild comments from Justin Trudeau with regard to Fidel Castro’s passing have already been distorted and utilized to suit extreme views. We should think of all the Cubans Castro liberated from the oppression suffered under the disguised colonization from the U.S., which kept most Cubans indentured. The only ones who benefited from the U.S. presence in Cuba before Castro were the ones doing business with them. The U.S. embargo has been a hateful and despicable action that has hurt Cubans for 54 years. Castro’s accomplishments are much greater than his faults. We should learn from him. Take all his achievements and replicate them. Change or dismiss what did not work, but do not toss it.
Carolina de la Cajiga, Vancouver
When I looked at the pictures of Sophie Grégoire Trudeau (“Colour, made in Canada,” Newsmakers, Dec. 12), my immediate thoughts were how refreshingly beautiful she is, how well she represents the Canadian brand, and how proud I am that this educated, fluently bilingual, articulate woman is our first lady. I was subsequently appalled to read the frankly bitchy article that accompanied the photos, criticizing her fashion choices—and written, unfortunately, by a woman. Seriously? Get a grip! It’s 2016, that’s why.
Maggie Mamen, Ottawa