I just returned home from 3 days of training I conducted in Ottawa and Toronto Canada. Over the years I have spent a fair amount of time in Canada, doing trainings or speaking at conferences in every province in that beautiful country. I always find my Canadian friends to be open, forward thinking, and gentle. Like always, this was a good trip.
Every time I go to Canada, my friends there are always interested in the latest trends in the US and we usually have lively conversations. This trip was no different with great interest in the US presidential race. However, the core of this interest was in how America could be so far off the mark with one of our major candidates. They could not understand how a loud, brash bully could have gotten so far in American politics. They wondered how US citizens could stand for the misogyny and apparent sexual intimidation of women. As disability advocates they were abhorred when they saw this candidate mock people with disabilities They wondered about the isolationist perspective, and obvious racist innuendos of this candidate and how Americans could fall for this hateful message.
I felt very embarrassed and without any defense. I meekly suggested that perhaps his followers were looking past his character and hoping that the policies were more important than his lack of civility. "How could this be," they asked me, and I really didn't have an answer. I not only felt embarrassed, but sad for our country that such a misguided candidate could have gotten this far in a nation that purports to value all people. Where a presidential candidate for a major political party could threaten to jail his opponent if he gets elected.
I know that policy differences are important to some people, but it seems to me that civility trumps policy. This trip broadened my resolve to encourage as many thinking people in my world to vote on Nov 8, and insure that regardless of policy issues, we never elect a demagogue who only cares about himself and his businesses from representing all that is good about the nature of America.