I’d like to start this (probably long-winded) piece by saying that I am not the most learned political pundit. I think, at a base level, I am a socialist, to a point. The shitty thing about politics is that you have to pick–there’s no in between. Parts of capitalism are good. Parts of socialism are bad. But I think there’s more good in socialism than good in capitalism. You can disagree with me, and we can still be friends.
Before anyone screams that I’m a just stone’s throw from a communist, let me assure you that I am decidedly NOT a stone’s throw from it. Socialism is just a happy medium between capitalism and communism, not a fine line. I realize that capitalism is a building block of the United States, but ultimately, capitalism is selfish–which, when a community grows big enough, is a major problem. A modicum of selfishness is important when it comes to creating a happy life on a single-family basis, but I believe that for a community (read: country) to truly be a healthy one that’s full of happy, thriving people, there cannot be a great divide where giant corporations own most of everything, leaving the middle and poorer classes to wallow in the offal of the rich. A strong middle class is the backbone of America, and creating ways to breathe life into small businesses while stifling huge ones is a good thing. Funnily enough, many of the people so invested in Donald Trump wouldn’t benefit from having him as President–but god damn, he’s good at riling unhappy people up.
Socialism is a bit of an idealist way of thinking, but so be it. It puts a lot of faith in the community. But if you make more than a half mil a year, you can afford to pay higher taxes–not for someone else’s welfare (although that’s part of it) but for education, a higher standard of living, and affordable health care. No one needs a glut of wealth, and it breeds people with base standards of living that are unhealthy, unmanageable, and a catalyst for unhappiness, which, I think, has never been more apparent than the current situation in the United States. As a Canadian by birth who is a recent transplant to the U.S., I can’t, for the life of me, understand why anyone would oppose affordable health care. I pay $300 a month for health care. In Canada, I paid $51. It came off my pay cheque (yes, que), and I never noticed. You will never lose your house to a hospital. And to nip something in the bud that I’ve heard far too often, Canadians do not wait days and days with a broken femur, screaming in agony in a line up at the hospital. If you have the flu, the person with the broken femur will take priority, but at most, you’ll wait for a few hours, sneezing into your shirt. Suck it up, buttercup. A broken femur is more important that your slight fever.
Donald Trump is disgusting. He’s a freak show that is impossible to look away from. He’s the car accident on the side of the road that slows down traffic for hours. He’s a circus sideshow that’s so terrible it’s hidden behind a dark curtain in the back corner of a dusty lot. He is not Presidential material. Everyone knows it–and the rest of the world is taking this coming election as a judgment of the collective intelligence of the United States in general. Don’t fuck it up. The world is watching.
Although no one outside of Canada was watching, the recent election of Prime Minister Trudeau and consequent taking-out-the-garbage of ex-PM Stephen Harper was a really, really big deal. It’s long been a problem that young people don’t vote. Harper, with all his environment raping, big business-centric, fuck-you-Ima-do-what-I-want ways, was messed up enough that the youth finally decided to throw their hats in the ring and say enough is enough. Although he did almost irreparable damage to the world’s view of Canada (as misguided and uncaring the rest of the world is when it comes to Canada), he did one thing good: he made the youth vote, and they said “fuck you, we want something better.” And while the “better” remains to be seen, Trump, with all his racist, ego-centric, uneducated garble, might do the same. A great catalyst is necessary for great change.
Now, long-winded diatribe finished, let’s move on to smaller, less important things: what having Donald Trump as President of this once-most-powerful-nation-on-earth would mean for surfers.
1. The ocean would be a cesspool of filth.
Trump, in all his misguided glory, said that if he were to become President, he’d do away with the EPA. That’s right: the entity tasked with protecting the environment would no longer be in existence. When asked if he would cut departments, Trump answered: “Environmental Protection, what they do is a disgrace. Every week they come out with new regulations. We’ll be fine with the environment. We can leave a little bit, but you can’t destroy businesses.” This, of course, would open up a plethora of greedy businesses only concerned with the bottom-line… which, while good for business, is bad for everyone.
Of course, one can’t mention Trump and the environment without mentioning his stance on climate change, and this point seems to be the closest segue to that. Unless you’re an idiot (sorry, idiots) you know that climate change is real, and we’re causing it. There is overwhelming scientific evidence that every real scientific society of every major government on the planet has acknowledged. Trump says it’s all bullshit. He says that every every real scientific society of every major government on the planet is wrong… and he says that either out of pure, unadulterated ignorance or pure, unadulterated greed for the idiots’ vote. Either way, it’s bad.
2. Say goodbye to Mexico.
Donald Trump’s stance on immigrants isn’t something he’s shy about. In fact, his blatant racism has become a cornerstone of his campaign–a fact which, surprisingly, hasn’t done much to damper his run. While Mexico does have its problems, the U.S. is actually in much more dire straits. According to Nation Master, total crime rates in the U.S. are eight times higher than that of Mexico. Violent crime in Mexico (gun crimes, homicide, and rape, in a nutshell) is at 15 per 100 residents, while the U.S is at 88.8/100. While Mexico has a much higher murder rate, on the whole, the U.S. has six times more rapes and far more gun related crimes than Mexico. So, despite what American media tells you, most of the United States is more dangerous than most of Mexico. But fear sells, and people buy it, especially in the States. If Trump actually were to build his great wall and somehow force Mexico to actually pay for it, you can bet that as an American, the already faltering relationship between the countries would drastically speed up its downward spiral towards the drain. In fact, just a few days ago, it was decided that residents in Mexico City would burn a Trump effigy for Easter. Does that seem like an olive branch? Remember all those times you crossed the border as an American, no questions asked, to score empty, perfect waves deep in Baja? Good luck.
3. That cheap surf gear you love so much wouldn’t be so cheap.
People, myself included, are stupid. We moan about high prices while moaning about outsourcing. Back in 2011, he said, “China is our enemy; they’re bilking us for billions.” Donald Trump hates China, although he’s used them to make his things for decades. China makes things cheaply–far cheaper than anywhere in the U.S. That’s because they’ve set themselves up as a nation of manufacturers, selling cheap stuff to the rest of the world. That’s why they’re so successful: they’re profiting on the everyman’s lust for a deal. Trump’s imminent war on China would be good and bad: while there would assuredly be more “Made in the USA” products, those products would be more expensive. That surfboard you just bought online? More than likely, it was made in China. Those blanks your shaper is getting? More than likely, they came from China. The simple fact is that we aren’t able to make things as cheaply as China can. The trickle down effect of cutting China out of the deal would hit American consumers in the wallet. And although that would mean more in-country products, it would mean more money leaving your wallet for surfboards, wetsuits, and the like. Sure, Bernie Sanders opposes NAFTA and wants to stop producing so much in China, but he’s wants it out for love of country. Trump wants it because he loves to hate. It’s a situation we’ve created, and one we love to complain about. Everyone wants cheap stuff, but no one wants to buy it from China.
4. Seeya later, empty coastline.
Donald Trump is a developer. He builds things on land. He makes hotels and condos and anything else he can build, anywhere he can build it. Right now in California, the California Coastal Commission is in charge of making sure one of the most beautiful stretches of coast in the world isn’t destroyed by mini-malls and condominiums. Although the recent firing of Director Charles Lester (under very suspect circumstances) might mean a disastrous future for anyone that prefers nature over towering blocks of cement and vast parking lots, they still have a hand in keeping the sanctity sacred, as it were.
If one needs an example that Trump cares more for money than anything else (one shouldn’t need an example), take certain a golf course he built. Back in 2012, Trump built Trump International Golf Links course in Scotland, despite the fact that it completely ruined incredibly rare dune wetland habitats. The course was built on 4000-year-old coastal sand dunes in Aberdeenshire–which, interestingly enough, were protected but the Foveran Linkes Site of Special Scientific Interest. Not only did the Scottish Natural Heritage body protest the construction, but Trump’s own ecologists deemed it to be unnecessarily destructive, according to Time Magazine. But now, a few years later, the golf course is there and the ancient dunes are not.
To sum this entire thing up, Trump would not only be a disaster to a healthy, happy United States, he’d be a disaster to our relatively small community of surfers. A clean ocean, the ability to travel to foreign countries, and enjoying the coast of the place Americans and transplants–which, ultimately, most of us are–would be a whole different ball game. It’s not a game anyone will want to play… and yes, I’m voting for Bernie. America is fucked, and it needs some tough love.