Sleeping with the elephant
It was Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Justin’s father,who on a visit to Washington in 1969, said that living next to the United States was like sleeping with an elephant.
“No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast…one is affected by every twitch and grunt,” said the late prime minister.
Now with the United States presidential election just a few weeks away, the twitches and grunts are causing growing concern here in Canada. Many fear that the beast could become violent.
And many in own Caribbean community who have family members and friends south of the border are anxiously keeping watch at the unfolding events.
While Donald Trump, that ignorant bully and racist, may be down in the public opinion polls, he is not yet out of the White House.
And what if he loses the election? Will be quietly concede defeat and leave peacefully? Many close observers of the current election campaign have serious doubts that he will leave peacefully.
Recent news reports from the United States said polls indicate that a growing number of Americans on both sides of the political spectrum believe that violence would be justified if the other side wins the election.
One set of polls found that one in five American voters strongly affiliated with either the Democrats or Republicans “said they are quite willing to endorse violence if the other party wins the presidency.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that his government is preparing for all possible outcomes as the United States lurches into the final stretch of this divisive campaign.
“As we watch the American election unfold, we are going to prepare for various eventualities but we are certainly hopeful all will proceed smoothly,” Trudeau remarked during a recent news conference in Ottawa.
But the Prime Minister pointed out, ” we need to be ready for all outcomes.”
Trump has repeatedly claimed without evidence, mind you, that the use of mail-in ballots — expected to hit record numbers because of the coronavirus pandemic — will lead to widespread voter fraud.
He should be reminded, however, that mail-in ballots are nothing new in the United States.They have been used for decades in American elections, frequently by members of the military.
Political observers recall that many in the Caribbean community in Canada unfortunately do not go out to vote, whether in federal, provincial or municipal elections. That has been a frequent complaint by Black and Caribbean candidates running in these elections.
But in the United States, West Indians, excited by the Biden- Harris ticket, will be voting in large numbers as they seek to get Trump legally out of office.
As we report in this issue of The Caribbean Camera, there is a fierce battle to sway voters n Florida and ultimately determine who wins the White House and this time around canpaigns are relying less on Latino support and heavly on the Caribbean comunity.
A news report from Miami notes that Florida represents 10 million voters ” who participate in elections often decided by a mere percentage point, as history has shown ” and that ” the booming Black Caribbean community centered in Broward county becomes a focal point in this election .”
It also points out that voters in this Democratic stronghold “are eager to defeat Trump and are even more energized to turn out in support of California Senator Kamala Harris, Biden’s running mate whose father is Jamaican.”
Come November 3, will the elephant rest in peace? And will democracy be allowed to prevail?
We hope so.