We Won’t Believe We’re on the Eve of Destruction

Nick Papageorge (2L)

What a time to be alive: only a handful of people throughout human history have gotten to bear witness to the total repudiation and collapse of a world order. At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, this is such a moment.

The results of the 2016 American Presidential Election are disconcerting. They are not something we ought to minimize or rationalize; we must confront them and, more importantly, their driving forces head-on.

The effluvium that has emanated from the Trump Camp since Day One is well documented and does not deserve being repeated here. Suffice it to say that this is a scary time for minority and unprotected groups. We must do what we can to support them. We must advocate for their rights and equal treatment, not only in court but also in the public sphere.

Additionally concerning is the rejection of reality. This is an irreversibly globalized world with issues that demand states work cooperatively on resolutions. Yet, last night, Americans said: “No it isn’t and no we won’t.” Now, more than ever, we must engage with our global neighbours and our few functional transnational institutions. We must seek compromise and amicability in all of our dealings, both at home and abroad.

The most troubling aspect of the Trump platform is its misunderstanding and belittlement of the rule of law. The now-victorious side has rejected the statutes and Constitution of its nation; it has declared open season on its political opponents and the press; it has essentially pledged to enshrine a two-tiered society, with liberty and justice for the privileged few.

We simply cannot let that happen. We must wage an unqualified fight, free from the considerations of profit and reputation, to maintain the rule of law and the institutions that support it. We must stand up in court as well as in the public square and insist on equality, justice, and dignity for our clients and opponents alike—no matter the consequences.

To those who would say, “It can’t happen here”: it has now happened twice, in light of the British referendum in June. Our job is to ensure that the forces of nationalism and myopia cannot prosper in Canada. How that will be done is a highly personal choice: it could be as simple as marching in protests and as dramatic as altering a career path, and just about everything in between. No matter the choice, the time for sedentary observation and criticism ended with finality last night.