Trump is President: Are We Doomed?

For many of us, the truth hasn’t quite sunk in yet. It’s unfathomable. Insane.  Preposterous. But I’m afraid we need to accept it. As of January 20th 2017, Donald Trump will be President of the United States of America ­– the superpower that essentially supports the entire world’s economies and political systems. And he’s here to stay whether we like it or not.

It seems completely surreal to me. I thought the world was starting to improve its attitude. According to Time Magazine (as of June 2015) gay marriage is now legal in 21 countries as well as America [1]. Global organisations like Barclays bank have been encouraging more diversity in their business cultures [2]. Women are being given more equal rights in order to tackle male dominance in our society; with The Guardian telling us that “in the US, for the first time, in 2011, women made up slightly more than half the workforce.” [3] Granted, we still have a long way to go – but we’ve been getting better. Slowly.

Although, just when the western world seems to take a positive step forward, it takes a monolithic step backwards. Right after America’s first African-American, Barrack Obama, completes two terms of a solid and admirable presidency, the people choose to replace him with a misogynistic, homophobic, narcissistic racist. With riots and protests sparking all over the continent, many of you are probably asking, “How did this even happen?” I’ve been asking the same thing.

BBC News reckons the success of his campaign was down to a number of factors. There was obviously his “white wave” of supporters. Then there was his charisma, which – like him or not – was so prominent (and so contrasting to Clinton’s) that any controversy he ignited was quickly snuffed out and forgotten. He was also an outsider – an underdog, almost – who trusted his own instincts against all the odds. But perhaps the biggest element was Clinton’s own questionable past. [4] One can’t help but wonder, however, if she would’ve been the lesser of two evils.

In the end, it makes no difference how Trump won. The fact that he will sit in the White House is clear evidence that he can sway the nation to follow him, whatever outrageous plans he has in store. Yet, while we (the British) can mock America’s decision with awe and bemusement for many months to come, are we really that much better? Even though it may have been slightly overshadowed by recent events, it wasn’t that long ago that 51.9% of our country (according to The Telegraph) voted to leave the European Union (EU). [5]

I’ll make this clear now: there shouldn’t have been a referendum in the first place. It was way too complex a decision for uneducated voters to make and few people truly understood what the consequences would be either way. Now, I voted to remain; I did this because I believed it was the only logical choice. But for those of you who voted to leave and are itching to start typing away in the comments section, please hear me out.

If you read George Bevan’s blog (and if you don’t, do! He’s a bit sweary, but makes a lot of sense) and you happened to come across EU Referendum: In or Out, you may have realised how much the EU actually does for us – and how much we take it for granted. Just a few things include easy access to a third of the world’s markets; cross-border policing to combat human trafficking, drug smuggling and terrorism; and for 60 years they’ve acted as “a foundation of peace between European neighbours after many years of bloodshed.” [6] In my view, we have too much to lose by leaving.

Having said that, I have to respect the views of those who supported Brexit. I’ve thought about this a lot, and I’ve done my best to look at the situation from both perspectives. I must say, I’ve heard some valid arguments from work colleagues about the benefits of Brexit. Points like being able to trade with the EU under our own terms, rather than theirs. Assuming we can negotiate it, this would be brilliant – because it would work wonders for our economy further down the line. And this is still possible, even now. Unfortunately, it appears that the majority of citizens who voted to leave the EU didn’t do so for this reason.

Novelist and journalist, Will Self – who happens to be a former lecturer of mine – made a statement on Channel 4 News on the eve of this year’s referendum. As entertaining as it was to watch Will (a sweltering pot of sardonic commentary) beating heads with a spirited Brexit supporter, he did make one point that stood out above all the rest: “Not all Brexiters are racists. But almost all racists will be voting for Brexit.” [7]. A bit of a “steady on!” statement perhaps. What’s more, this is a fellow who doesn’t exactly have to highest levels of empathy when he’s trying to make a point. Though, on this occasion, he’s making a good one.

It saddens me to say this, but the overarching reasons why our country will be leaving the EU in around two years are the exact same reasons why Donald Trump will now President of the United States. Fear and hatred. Because – despite our attitudes towards things like sexuality, ethnicity, gender, climate change and so on having improved significantly over the last few decades – a huge segment of our society is still stuck in the dark ages. Unable or simply unwilling to accept change.

So what do we take from all this? Well for one, 2016 doesn’t seem like a year that most of us are going to look back on with pride any time soon. But are we doomed? While I chose to put it in the title, I should point out that “doom” isn’t exactly a word that gets used a lot nowadays (if Game of Thrones doesn’t even use it, you know it’s out of fashion). If, however, the real question is whether or not Donald Trump will turn out to be the worst president of all time, I cannot say.

Although I take an interest in politics from time to time, I don’t follow it nearly enough to be able to craft an informed conclusion. Then again, I don’t think anyone can. It’s just too early to tell. Will Trump follow through with his claims about immigration? Will the world’s economy and environment suffer because of his newfound power? Will his questionable values lead to an increase in terrorism and hate crime? Or will he surprise us all and actually be a good leader? I seriously doubt that last entry, but right now, there’s simply no way of knowing with complete certainty.

So, instead of dwelling on the uncertain future ahead of us, let’s take a page out of Monty Python’s Life of Brian, and look on the bright side of life. David Attenborough is still going strong and giving us another Planet Earth series. Physical books are still a thing, even after e-books tried to do away with them. And best of all, Star Wars is more prominent and epic than ever before.

The moral of the story is, try to stay positive! If you’re still feeling down about the way of the world this time next week, fear not. I’ll be here to provide you with a weekly fix of randomness to brighten up your day. As it seemed appropriate, this week has been about politics. But what will my next post be? A review of the latest theatre performance? My take on a popular film theory? A short story perhaps? Like Trump’s overall impact as president, only time will tell.

Thanks for reading through my first ever blog post. I’m sure there will be many more to come. Stay awesome, Internet. Until next time.

 

Sources

[1] http://time.com/3937766/us-supreme-court-countries-same-sex-gay-marriage-legal/

[2] https://www.home.barclays/citizenship/our-approach/diversity-and-inclusion.html

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/sep/29/women-better-off-far-from-equal-men

[4] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-us-2016-37918303

[5] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/23/leave-or-remain-eu-referendum-results-and-live-maps/

[6] https://glwtf.net/page/3/ [It’s his first post. Scroll to the bottom)

[7] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLpWU46USbo (about 4 mins 53 seconds in)

 

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