On election night, I had friends call me concerned I might be losing my mind.
It is true that in past American elections I have had a tendency to be quite emotional.
Not this time.
First, I was prepared for anything. After 2016, how could anyone not be left with the conclusion anything is possible.
Second, I have, for the sake of my own sanity, managed to (for the most part) detach emotionally from the dumpster fire raging to the south of us.
And finally, I think I have finally gotten it through my own thick skull that people (and that may include me) do not vote with their heads.
Nevertheless, from the outside looking in, it’s easy enough to be left scratching one’s thick skull in wonder (and perhaps horror) that 70 million Americans could look back on the past four years and think, ‘yup, Trump is still a good idea.’
It’s also easy to see how making America white again would be appealing to a certain large demographic of people, but what perplexes a lot of onlookers and even experts, is how much support Trump is able to drum up among people of diverse backgrounds.
Of course, the idea that all members of an identifiable demographic group are going to think and feel the same way about everything is the very definition of bigotry.
People largely vote out of self-interest and are motivated by how the outcome of an election will impact their daily lives.
In order to manipulate that, political parties, campaigns and individual politicians often turn to fear-mongering.
In some cases it works, in other cases it has the opposite effect.
There were many little things that really struck me in this election, but here are just a couple.
The first was a CBC interview with a Cuban-American man in Florida, a member of a demographic that ostensibly should (and actually did by a pretty good margin) favour Biden, but still may have put Trump over the top in that state.
This man was worried about Joe Biden bringing socialism to America. It doesn’t matter that that was a completely unsubstantiated Trump claim and a laughable one at that as Biden and most Democrats are generally more capitalist than many Canadian conservatives.
Nevertheless, for a person who grew up under an oppressive communist regime, I can see how that would be a concern that might override Trump’s clear disdain for people of Latin American descent.
The second was a Republican voter on a BBC LGBTQ panel, a member of another demographic that ostensibly should be squarely in the Democrat corner.
Not only was this man not swayed by unsubstantiated Democrat claims the newly-appointed Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett was going to roll back LGBTQ rights, he was thrilled about the appointment.
“The only way being gay impacts my vote is one of rebellion,” he said. “We have largely attained equal rights, and we are now free to vote on bigger issues of war, peace, country, and economics.”
The reasons why people vote the way they do are as individual as voters themselves.
A lot of people are losing their minds over a Joe Biden victory, but if he said one thing in his victory speech we should all heed is we need to stop treating our political opponents as enemies.
Yes there are some people out there who only see black and white (in the metaphorical sense), but most of us see only shades of grey.
All the noise makes it seem like there is a huge gulf between us, but there really isn’t.We need to be less fearful.