A few days have passed and I still find myself thoroughly disappointed and angry, but not particularly surprised by the American election results. It is yet another example of the myopic conservatism that is increasingly being seen worldwide – the Brexit vote in the UK and the resurgence of the far right wing parties in my homeland of Australia are prime examples. Even my adopted country of France faces the daunting prospect of the Front National (pretty much the Nazi Party) actually having a shot at the presidency next year. This selfish short-sightedness makes my blood boil and fills me with dread as we proceed into a disturbingly bleak future.
Of course, this hard swing to the right has many causes, with the looming spectre of terrorist attacks, the refugee crisis, uncertain financial markets and a general feeling of disenfranchisement, among the chief motivating factors. Unfortunately, this insular mentality neglects the fact that in today’s modern age our societies are more interconnected than ever and pretending the problems facing other countries don’t matter isn’t a realistic long-term option.
After what was pretty much an insane circus-themed Election, America has elected the President they deserve but not the one they need. Trump embodies the very worst stereotypes of American culture – self-indulgent, narcissistic and paranoid. He is a thin-skinned, rapey, orange bully who has no reason to change his behaviour now that he has the public backing.
True, he is a change to the establishment but not a good one. I do wonder how long it will be before Trump reneges on all of his unrealistic campaign promises and then blames everyone else for his failures – much as he’s done with his litany of botched business ventures. Frankly, if his supporters are gullible enough to believe that his long documented history of screwing people over somehow won’t apply to them, then they deserve what’s coming to them. I have no doubt at all that he will use his position to benefit himself first and foremost, with any benefit to the American people being a happy coincidence.
It will also be interesting to see how the ‘freedom of the press’ fares under his reign. Will Trump shove America more towards a Putin-style regime where any criticism of the government or its leader is harshly stamped out? One only need look at his frequent outbursts on social media to see how little he tolerates dissent. Honestly, is there anyone out there who doesn’t think he has the hair-trigger temperament to try and turn a Twitter war into an actual one?
Granted there are those who aren’t too worried, saying that there is a system of checks and balances that will stop the Trumpster from wreaking too much damage. If this was true, and the Republicans had been able to control him in the first place, he would never have been the nominee let alone the President Elect.
America has its problems but it was already a great country, although it’s doubtful that it will stay that way. It’s a dark road we’re going down and I’m finding it hard to see any light at the end. Sadly, this is what happens when you choose fear and hate instead of tolerance and love.