Calgarians share thoughts on America’s new leadership

New Neighbour: Amanda Stanford poses for a photo  in Calgary on Jan. 20. Standford started paying attention to American politics during the Obama administration. (Photo by Dami Fadipe-Olatunde/The Press)

The events preceding Joe Biden’s inauguration speech as the 46th President of the United States have been rife with political and societal discord.

They culminated in an attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters who believed that the election had been stolen, a declaration that had been made by Trump himself, but was refuted by key figures at every level of the election process.

Dustin Ruttle has been mindful of American politics since George W. Bush’s administration, and remembered what the energy was like during the transition of power from Bush to Barack Obama.

“It was very split. A lot of people said yeah, this is a good change. There were people not for that because he was so different from Bush was,” Ruttle says. “They were being louder, even though they had less of a voice, if that makes sense.”

The Capitol attack is believed to have been spurred by Trump himself, and the U.S House of Representatives charged Trump with “incitement of insurrection” on January 13. They had moved to impeach Trump shortly after the attack, and with a vote of 232 to 197, Trump became the first U.S. President in American history to be impeached twice.

“Under Trump’s leadership the racial gap became so huge, because when things start to die, they thrash,” says Ruttle.

“I think Canada has it’s own issues, but we’ve always kind of known that Americans do have a lot of racism in their society to this day, “says Amanda Stanford, a freelance writer for an entertainment magazine.

Stanford started paying attention to American politics during the Obama administration. “In 2015, when Trump announced his presidential run, I genuinely thought it was a joke,” says Stanford.

“It really broke my heart because I ignorantly believed that the narrative and rhetoric that he was pushing only a small percentage of people would agree with and identify with, and finding out that’s not the case was really heartbreaking.”

“We’ve been so removed about actually witnessing what happens when radicalization comes into power, and what happens when a politician comes in and picks out the vulnerable and the less educated and radicalizes them,” said Stanford.

Under Trump’s leadership the racial gap became so huge, because when things start to die, they thrash. – Dustin Ruttle

“I really think that we are sort of witnessing the fall of the last great empire,” says Radford. “It’s such a sign of weakness that you couldn’t even protect the people that run the country. That should be the easiest to protect, there’s literally special forces there specifically to look after each person.”

Charlie Radford, an artist and collector, believes the divide was noticeable before Trump reached office, due to the evolution of technology.

“It’s done a lot of great things, but it’s also made it much easier to say whatever you want, and anybody who might agree with it can spread that like crazy,” says Radford. “His presidency was really run by people who knew how to manipulate those things.”

Radford also brought up some parallels between America’s and Canada’s  political mentality. “As a country, and politically speaking we don’t tend to be quite as knee jerk [as America], but I do worry about the division that is happening in Canada, and how much of that is influenced from the United States.”

About Dami Fadipe 2 Articles
As a news reporting and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Dami Fadipe is working as a writer for The Press during the 2022 academic year.