Yesterday, the unthinkable happened. Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States of America. He’s not only set to become President, he’s now one of the most powerful men in the world.
This was predicted by The Simpsons in the 2000 episode ‘Bart to the Future’.
I don’t reference the Simpsons because I find humor in it, but because when this episode was aired 16 years ago the possibility of President Trump was preposterous and laughable, and now it’s a reality. That’s the world we live in. I can’t even bring myself to find humor in the memes today.
When we view America from abroad, we think of California, New York, Illinois, Washington D.C. It turns out that this isn’t America. The vast majority of places and people we recognise didn’t vote for Trump. Unfortunately, the cohesive reasonably liberal society portrayed by the media isn’t the real America. Those states in red on the voter maps represent the majority, the ignored and ultimately those who voted in a way many of us deem to be deplorable.
Alaska voted for Trump. Alaska! We know Trump’s views on climate change, and that his presidency is going to be a disaster for the planet. How could Alaska vote for him?
There are many inevitable comparisons to Brexit. For me, this seems so much worse. Yes, Brexit gave racists, bigots and haters validation that people shared their views and hate crimes increased, but I do believe that those types of people and voters were in the minority and that people in the UK had genuine and valid reasons for voting to leave the EU.
On a personal level, I was devastated by the UK’s decision to leave the EU, but I understood that people where perhaps voting against the current system and against the establishment, rather than through hatred. This New Statesman article sums it up nicely.
In order to continue to live in this country, I have to believe that the same has happened here. That rather than actively choosing to vote for a racist, sexist, bigot people believed that they were so trapped a dramatic change was needed and this was their only option. Of course they did vote for Trump, and I can’t possibly fathom why they would do that or justify it, but rather than stew and feel sad, the important thing for those of us that call this country home is to understand how the unthinkable happened and how we can prevent something this dire happening ever again.
No one I’ve spoken to in San Francisco thought this would actually happen. The media pegged Hillary as the clear winner. I’m worried, sad and fearful about life in America over the next 4 years. I hope some of the things Trump threatened were just ‘locker room banter’ and he won’t actually be stupid enough to go through with his more controversial and ridiculous ideas. I hope people come together, fight for what’s right and we don’t get to say ‘we told you so’ when it all goes tits up.
I’ve been in tears this morning at both Hillary and Obama’s speeches. I will leave you with this picture of Obama’s adorable dogs in the White House to remind us all that there is good in the world.