I went to bed last night hoping to wake up to a world with Hillary Clinton as president. The news that the US has chosen a homophobic, racist, sexist, megalomaniacal, demagogue is calamitous, but not surprising. Post Brexit, it’s clear we are living in a dark age when the worst of human nature is in charge. Today’s politicians appeal to fear and prejudice, inciting braying intolerance and zealous nationalism. The US and the UK are hideous mirror images of one another.
Trump has proclaimed global warming a hoax, perpetuated by China, and has promised to dismiss the Paris Agreement, which could devastate our already beleaguered environment. He’s also implied that the US should only offer military support to NATO members who have met their financial obligations. Under the NATO agreement, all member states should allocate 2% of their GDP to defence. The US is one of only 5 countries who met this requirement in 2016. However, the assurance that the US will come to the aid of any NATO member state (regardless of their monetary contributions) has provided the bedrock of global security since World War II. To render this treaty equivocal could be catastrophic. Trump justifies all his propositions with the assertion that the US should aggressively protect it’s own interests, at the expense of co-operating with other countries and the benefit of the whole world. These are just a couple of examples of the potential outcomes of a Trump presidency. I’m not even going touch his stance on nuclear weapons, the thought is too terrifying to entertain.
Added to Trump’s victory, the continued rise of the far right in Europe and the UK, signals the worrying times in which we live. On both sides of the atlantic, there has been much talk about making our nations ‘great again’. This is a fallacious concept based on dangerous sentimentality. When protesters were ejected from his rallies, Donald Trump said that he missed ‘the old days’ when activists would be ‘carried out on a stretcher’. Which leaves one with the question, what time period of greatness is he referring to? Perhaps he’s referencing the civil rights movement, when segregation and police brutality were rampant. This is probable, given Trump’s propensity towards self-interest. Back in the ‘good old days’ rich, old white men were in charge, while pesky minorities and women were kept in their place. It seems that we’re regressing, moving away from racial and sexual equality, back to a time when we were (supposedly) great.
At this point, I don’t have much to offer in the way of hope, other than hope itself. I’m holding out for some sensible, experienced politicians behind the scenes in the Whitehouse, who will shackle Trump’s more ridiculous policies. In the mean time, I guess the only thing to do is prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.