Post-Presidential Election Thoughts from a Dual Citizen

As I write this, it has been a week since Joseph R. Biden Jr was called by the major news networks as president-elect of the United States of America. Like many of you, I was at the edge of my seat for days awaiting the result. CNN was on literally all the time during those couple of days. And despite the high anxiety level and sleepless nights, I must admit, I enjoyed learning more about US geography over the past week from John King and his magic wall.

As a dual citizen of the United States of America and Canada, I was very concerned about the consequential presidential election. I was born in Portland, Oregon, and then moved to Toronto at five years old, so I have some memories of living in the States. Therefore, the US holds a special place in my heart despite its many flaws.

Growing up, I was always curious about my American background and the story of how and why we moved to Canada. This somehow led me to go into this seemingly never-ending rabbit hole of US history and politics as a young kid and since then, I've never stopped. Back in the Obama era, I was fascinated to see a black man being elected president, thinking anything was possible. I admired my home country and all the heroic and inspiring stories that pushed everyone around the world to be better. I remember when my family and I went on a road trip to the States in 2012, we visited Washington D.C. I'll never forget the moment I saw the Lincoln Monument with my very own eyes and just felt a surge of pride and hope course throughout. 

Naively, I saw the US as a beacon of hope for everyone else in the world. They were the role model that everybody would look up to. But then I grew up and set aside the rose-coloured glasses.

With this inner nerd in me constantly trying to educate myself over the years, I soon came to realize that what the US government does has a significant impact on the entire world. I mean I've known this for a while, it's common sense that the US is a global superpower. But what I didn't know until more recently is that their behaviour, specifically the federal government's, has great influence around the world. So obviously these last four years were super concerning for me as a dual citizen.

In 2016 when then president-elect Donald Trump was declared the winner, I thought that despite his despicable character, somehow everything was going to turn out fine, even if it would take him a while to adjust to the presidency. But after being glued to my TV and phone screens in horror for the past four years, I quickly realized that I was very, very wrong. 

I have always considered myself more Canadian than American having lived in Canada for a long time. But lately, especially these last four years, I was a bit ashamed to be an American. I know it's wrong, but I wished so badly to be a home-bred Canadian just like many of my friends. Anytime anyone would ask me where I was born, I would always hesitate to say that I was born in the US. I remember that time back in 2017 when he wouldn't denounce white supremacy in Charlottesville there was this chill down my spine, disgusted and shocked that he said there were "some very fine people on both sides". His MAGA cult was horrific to watch through these four years and don't even get me started on his policies. What I will say is that being a Muslim myself, it pained me to learn when Trump banned people from Muslim countries to travel to the US back in 2018. Not only was it xenophobic but it was clear as day that this administration would not stop there with its racist behaviour. Barricading themselves from Mexico with the infamous wall, placing innocent kids in cages, and so much more made me hang my head in shame to be an American. The divisiveness and hatred from Donald Trump spread all over like a cancer and inspired more of this ugly behaviour everywhere else, even in Canada! The lack of human decency for the past four years was astounding. I couldn't imagine how much more damage he could do if he was to be re-elected for another four.

With the backdrop of the presidential election, I knew I had to do something if I wanted my home country that I once revered to get better. As I did some more research and called and emailed people in my birthplace of Oregon, I learned that as a dual citizen I could vote in the upcoming election. So I registered to vote after turning 18 this year. Unfortunately, and this pains me to say it, they received my registration form too late so I couldn't vote in this election. Perhaps Trump did do some good. He motivated me and a lot of people my age to go out and get registered and vote. Because of him, I am proud to say that I am registered now and from now on I can exercise my powerful right to vote and make my voice heard in the years to come.

When I found out late Saturday morning that Biden was to become the 46th president of the United States, I nearly cried tears of joy knowing my family members down in the States would feel safe again with a President that had a heart. A real president who would set a positive example for the rest of the world. The world had felt a heavy burden being lifted off their shoulders. 

So now we wait. We wait another couple of weeks before Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are sworn into office on January 20, 2021. It will be the official end of a terrible era and the start of a hopeful one. Don't get me wrong, I will always be a proud Canadian but now perhaps, I can continue to fully embrace my dual identity and no longer be ashamed that I am as much as a Canadian as I am American.