Right now, at this very moment, along with a lot of other people in the world, I have a multitude of emotions going through my head, and unfortunately none of them are positive ones.
I was very privileged enough to make my first ever trip to the US in August this year, when I went to Seattle for a week to visit some lovely friends up there. For those of you who have never been, Seattle is one of the most socially progressive cities in the whole of the USA. A complete melting pot of diversity, whether it be through gender, sexuality, race. And absolutely loved it.
Sadly I believe (and I say this with no melodrama intended) that this will be the first and last time that I visit the US. Leaving behind all my dear friends that I have over there, coast to coast. Not after what has happened today.
In case you have not heard as yet, Donald Trump was just elected as the 45th President of the United States of America. These are words that I never ever thought I would be writing (and indeed hoped that I would never have to write).
Politics in today’s world is a very complex beast, and there are so many obstacles to overcome, so many hops to jump through. Hillary Clinton knew this better than anyone else, and yet she always managed to find a way forward. And like any other career politician/public servant, she has made bad decisions throughout the course of that career.
But the thing with her is that she has always approached it from a sense of what is possible and what is good. And there is no doubt whatsoever that she came into the Democratic candidacy being the most qualified Presidential candidate in US history (State First Lady of Arkansas, US First Lady, Senator of New York, Secretary of State).
And momentum was slowly but surely heading towards her breaking that glass ceiling and becoming the first woman to become President of the USA. But alas it was not to be…
Instead the people of the USA chose to elect someone who has been documented as:
- Not ever having served in public office,
- Engaging in systematic racism going back as far as the 1970s,
- Showing himself repeatedly to be misogynistic (“grab ’em by the pussy” anyone?), and
- Lacking the kind of temperament required to be the leader of any world country, let alone the US President.
Now I get that there has been unease within the USA around terrorism, immigration, and the economy. On the latter score though, the US economy is the best that it has been since before the GWB years. Obama managed to cut the deficit, lower unemployment throughout the country, and even introduced more healthcare coverage to 22 million Americans who otherwise would not have been insured.
Instead, you have chosen to elect someone who will almost certainly reverse all those gains that were rebuilt over the last 8 years. Indeed Donald Trump has committed to repealing Obamacare, and also to devolve same-sex marriage back to state level (which will essentially bring that issue back to square one). To potentially overturn Roe vs Wade. To allow the Supreme Court to gain a conservative bent that will set back the country and have ramifications for generations.
You have chosen the racist, sexist, homophobic and xenophobic demagogue over the one person who could actually continue the good progress that your country was making. Now I do not deny anyone the right to vote, and in fact it is something we all treasure. We also have a duty to ensure that we are making the right choice for the country and not for ourselves.
Unfortunately, America, the majority of you chose the latter. Your own self-interest. Your own fears. The greater good did not matter to you today. And you might have had your own rationale inside your head for making the choice that you did.
But know this. For those of you who voted for Donald Trump, you now need to own your vote. You now need to take responsibility for that vote and ask yourselves, despite all the evidence that was there to see, what you were hoping to achieve by doing what you did today. And I so hope that you are able and have the power to keep Donald Trump to account in accordance with the values of the USA, particularly as the Republican Party now has control of the Presidency, the Senate and the House.
Is this what you really wanted? Is this the type of future that you truly intend for your children, your grandchildren, and so on? I cannot for the life of me figure out why any rationale, logical human being would want that.
We will wake up tomorrow to a new day, as it will inevitably go on. But we have now veered into unchartered waters. And it’s not just America that will feel the reverbations of this. As the leader of the Free World, this will further unleash a torrent of xenophobia and hatred, and more scarily, LEGITIMISE IT.
We all have a duty, no matter where we are in the world, to push back on this behaviour wherever and whenever we witness it, and declare it repugnant and contrary to the values that we want in today’s society. So I encourage all of you to stand up what is right and good in the world. Just mouthing platitudes won’t do. We all need to be proactive about this. And this includes the people who chose to condone this behaviour in the first place by voting for Trump.
Those who know me also know that I always try to look at the positives (the silver linings, so to speak), but the only one I can see so far is that half the USA wanted to be on the right side of the history today, and those are the people I feel really bad for. My hope and my heart are with those people right now.
But alas there is not much else I can say that can make things better for myself at this moment. So I leave this post by saying this in the kindest way possible…
America, you fucked up big time.