It’s hard to look away.

Normally, I don’t obsess over human rights violations in nations like Uganda, Russia, Afghanistan and Iran, to name just some of the many that treat their citizens like cattle. It’s not that I don’t care. I do care very much. But I would be weeping every waking hour of my day if I thought about the human suffering in those countries caused by brutal, ignorant leaders.

But it is not so easy to look away from the suffering being caused by Republicans and their extremist backers in the country next door, the United States of America — which is anything but united these days.

The human rights violations are piling up, and it really troubles me because I care a lot about Americans. Most of this blog’s readership is based in the United States, and they have been loyal to me here for a long time. I would like to travel in the states, hang out in L.A for a while, maybe spend some time poking around in Arizona. But I am afraid to step foot in that country. I’m afraid I’d be shot. Or arrested on suspicion of some Trumped-up crime. I’m getting the feeling that it is not safe to be a stranger in America anymore and if the law doesn’t find some excuse to get ya, some crazed MAGA extremist will.

OK, maybe I am being paranoid. But I am a member of the LGBTQ community, and I have long lobbied for their rights. I’ve also lobbied for the legalization of cannabis — which is legal now in Canada — and I have a slew of (money-losing) cannabis stocks. So, I might not even get across the U.S. border. Or they might seize me there, on the spot, after doing a quick social media check on me because cannabis is still illegal at the federal level in the U.S., even if it is legal in the state to which I would be travelling.

So, better to be safe than sorry: I will probably never get to travel to the United States again — at least in this lifetime (and if I am reincarnated into the U.S., please let it be a Democratic state).

From my vantage point now, though, I’m not sure the United States will survive as a country. I can see it ultimately splitting into two nations: one for Christian extremists, one for the rest.

Canada won’t stay united, either. I can see Quebec, my home, going it alone while the Prairie provinces choose the right-wing extremist route. As for B.C. and the Atlantic provinces, I’m not sure.

That’s if — and it’s a big if — both the United States and Canada have not been successfully conquered by Russia or China. I have a gut feeling that Russia is behind the division we are witnessing in the U.S., and that Russia is quite literally conquering the U.S. right now. It just doesn’t compute for me that men like Ron DeSantis are willingly shunning democracy and stripping away the civil rights of fellow citizens. It’s un-American. It’s something Russia would do to its citizens.

Canada is finally facing up to allegations of foreign interference here by China and, no doubt, Russia as well. There are allegations that China has been interfering in our federal elections for decades. They are even accused of setting up Chinese police stations in Canada to monitor Chinese people here and coerce them into doing their bidding.

Anyway you spin it, if the allegations are true, it’s an invasion of Canada by the Chinese government.

And any foreign meddling in American affairs would be an invasion of the U.S., too, in my view.

How else to explain the deep divisions in America today? I know many will point to Donald Trump and his appeal to the populist vote as the reason for divisions. But there has to be more to it than that. We know that foreign disruptors are everywhere in social media and even in the comments sections of mainstream media. They stoke hatred and division. They spread propaganda and outright lies. They demonize people and create false narratives about them.

They are using a very old technique: divide and conquer.

And I fear America is in the process of being conquered not so much by the Republicans and their religious extremist backers, but by a foreign power.

And if so, it is happening right under their noses.

But are the Republican politicians that blind and dumb? Or are they complicit?

Or none of the above?

I don’t know, but for the past week or so, I have been playing my brothers’ and sisters’ keeper. I’ve been speaking up for LGBTQ people in the U.S. and decrying their abuse by Republican politicians. It’s tearing me apart. I need to look away from it, but like so many other Canadians, I can’t.

Because we care . . .

— Jillian