Four years ago, I was perusing Facebook, and a suggested post an acquaintance had commented on popped up in my feed. It was a black and white picture of an extremely handsome man, with dark black hair, Disney prince looks, and soulful eyes. I clicked on the page and it was for a Canadian politician named Justin Trudeau. At the time, he was a Member o fParliament and being tapped to be the head of the Liberal Party. In a quick Wikipedia search,I learned he was also the son of a famous Canadian prime minister, PierreTrudeau. A crush immediately was born.
I have no real connection to Canada. I don’t know anyone there or even knew much about the inner workings of Canadian politics. However, in high school I was part of a magnet program that prepared students for careers in foreign service and diplomacy. I never pursued it after high school, instead majoring in English in college. However, one remnant of that time period is I love international politics. I love learning how other countries handle problems.
I began following Justin on Facebook and Twitter.(In the beginning of his campaigns, he responded to critics saying he was trading on his famous last name by telling people to call him Justin. He is still Justin to many of his constituents, some of whom remember the day when he was born.) His posts were very upbeat and spoke of lifting up the middle class of Canada. He spoke of inclusivity, LGBTQ rights, and progressive economics. I even began reading up on Canadian politics, just so I could follow what he was discussing. He was very active on social media, posting photos, videos, and memes. He seemed very accessible, hip, and intelligent. In short, he was my dream politician, like a figure dreamed up in someone’s progressive minded romance novel.
When he was elected as Prime Minister, the Internet exploded with stories about the handsome new leader of Canada. It felt like the indie band I once loved had rocketed to international fame overnight. Suddenly, it seemed like every news outlet was talking about his famous name, his movie star looks, and his bromance with President Obama.
After Donald Trump became president, it seemed that the Internet’s obsession with Justin increased ten-fold. The first time he met with Trump in Washington DC, I saw never ending pics of his soft brown eyes and full head of thick hair next to Trump’s scowl and questionable combover. A very famous meme was floating around of Justin pausing a minute before shaking Trump’s hand. That picture captured liberal America’s skepticism that Trump can ever be trusted. Even Ivanka Trump appeared to have a crush on Justin. In fact, if you had to come up with the antithesis of Trump, it would probably look exactly like Justin. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is fit, compassionate, and gives well-thought out speeches, charming every woman within spitting distance (and probably several men.) It is stark contrast to the hysterics of an overweight old man.
I think for Americans right now, Justin represents of sense of normalcy. He reminds us that it’s not business as usual going on in US politics at the moment. When it seems many US liberal politicians have surrendered to Trumpism, he represent an alternate universe where liberal ideas are winning the day. If Justin is helping Americans hang on until 2018 or 2020 or whenever this GOP stranglehold ends, then I am willing to share my internet boyfriend with America. Just remember that I saw him first.