Like the rest of the world, i awoke to despair and confusion. How did we get from Obama to Trump as leader of the free world?
I pondered awhile as to how this happened, but found that unlike with brexit, I wasn’t shocked or surprised.
We all saw this coming.
The thing that i have realised is that actually, we all have a lot in common. Thats right, im saying I, the bleeding heart liberal have a lot in common with the trump voter.
What has really happened in the last six months, is that the antiestablishment movement has taken off big style, just not in the way that I and many other like me, had hoped. People are voting against politics, against what they see as a corrupt and defunct system for something they hope is simpler and better; an old school ‘everyman’ representative.
Except neither Trump, Farage or Boris are in fact everyman, are they?
We all, brexiters, remainers, democrats and republicans alike are shouting from the rooftops ‘something has to change’. What baffles me is how easily democracy can be manipulated, how powerful the media and spin doctors really are. Like with the UK, the US population has been sold an ideal; better schools, healthcare, more jobs, tighter immigration, more rights for every citizen.
A politician that will make their country great again.
The problem is that these ideals are just that; idealistic. Unrealistic without fundamental change in how politics works.; the financing, the way the population is represented in government. This, again like brexit, was a very close call yet almost half of the voting population, lose their voice and input; Half the voting population. They will likely be branded sore losers if they dont accept and get on with whatever Trump decides to do to their country next. Hatred will be incited and encouraged by the press; let’s face it while the population are fighting amongst themselves and are distracted, a government can get on and do what they like.
While listening to Trumps victory speech me and the children debated the future. It cant be denied that if the plan he has sold, again like Boris and Farage, could actually happen, and promises could be kept, then maybe, just maybe things may get better. Fairer. kinder. Safer. More secure.
My ten year old pointed out that what he said in his speech, seemed like a good idea, and yes, yes it does if you ignore the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. If you ignore the impact of this vote on the most vulnerable, undoing 8 years of fighting for obamacare, tighter gun control, more action on climate change, less war, less poverty and more equal rights. Like in Britain we had finally begun to gain ground, in terms of equality for minorities whether that be ethnic, gender, ability or sexuality based. It feels like we’ve just voted to jump back a couple of decades.
Im not saying the alternative was perfect. Clinton seemed to the casual observer to be the better of two bad choices, and for what its worth, had Michelle Obama been able to run, i think the outcome would have been very different this morning. The democrats chose badly. There wasjust too much history for some voters to disregard, when it came to clinton.
So what next?
Its likely we will see similar ripple effects across european elections as they crop up, with the far right political message of ‘making our country great again’ and ‘taking our country back’ becomes normalised by the results in the UK and US.
Its almost funny that Americans were laughing their heads off at us on june 24th, then have gone and literally Trumped our own stupidity.
So what do we do now?
Well we fight, thats what. Once again we put aside our differences once the dust settles. We find the common ground with those opposing our own ideals and we work together to make our countries work better for us. We try together to make our governments keep their promises and dont stop until they do, or the system changes. The Trumpers as with the Brexiters have to stand alongside their opposing numbers as ultimately what all of us agree on is this:’something has got to change’. Your idea of how we get that to happen may be different to mine and thats okay with me, but we must stand together.
Very few of us can effect any real change nationally or globally, but what we can do is this: Practise tolerance and kindness. Look after our planet ourselves if our governments wont; recycle, reuse, pick up litter, protect our own local green spaces and wildlife. Share information and ideas. Join local groups that are working to effect the changes you want to see in your communities whether that be support groups, beach cleans, healthcare volunteering, fundraising for better local facilities. Do your bit. Educate your own children in these matters in a kind and compassionate way. Teach them about democracy.
I learnt from brexit that my response of fear and despair scared my children. This morning i told them messages of hope and explained that what the other half of the population believe is just as valid, just different to what I believe. Their way of getting to the end goal of security and peace for their own families if just different to mine. As with those that voted leave in the UK, only a very small minority of Trump voters are truly bigoted, fascist, racist indivuals; if you voted Trump and you are in the majority that aren’t those things, make sure your voice is heard.
In the Uk, we still stand divided post brexit and if there is one piece of advice I would give to my American brothers and sisters its this; learn from us, dont let this vote divide you from other good people that just think a little differently to you, find the common ground and the things you agree on. Fight for those things alongside one another. Have your moment to despair and be angry, but pick yourselves up and get on with doing what you can in a positive way to effect the changes you want to see.
Be that change.
May the force be with you America.