As many people out there, I woke up with tremendous disappointment yesterday morning. Finding Trump the leader of one of the most powerful countries in the world, if not the most powerful, put me in a state of disgust I could hardly bear. Consequently, I’ve tried to ignore the situation and ‘cultivate my own garden’ as Voltaire would say. Still, every time I think about that man in the oval office there is a lump in my throat warning me of substances coming up from my stomach so, rather than talking about the book I had planned to review, I’ve decided to spill my feelings on the virtual paper and, hopefully, let it go.
I will probably have to return to a time when, in the very background, I heard Trump was running for president. I’ve never had, believe me, any interest in US presidential elections. After all, I don’t live there. But hearing that Trump, better known for TV shows and occasional cameos on movies and for his ostentatious living arrangements, thought he had a hope in hell of becoming POTUS caught my attention. I mean, how could a man so obviously detached of the experience of the middle class every day toil appeal to the voters? Well, he showed us all, didn’t he?
I want to make a break to give some background on my own stand on the US because, you might have noticed, everybody has one in Europe and, well, the rest of the world.
The first shapes of my adulthood were formed in Spain at a time of a lot of political change. When I was sixteen and after years of post-Franquism reaction of voting left, in a flood of corruption, Spain decided to vote right. I remember clearly being in our Ethics class (an alternative to religious studies) and a girl retelling her mother’s voting. Her mother had come home and said that she had filled in the ballot and held her breath while voting, because of the stink of voting right. This was the attitude of many Spanish people at the time, they did what needed to be done because the situation the left wing government was in was very far past the line of acceptability. Fast-forward to post-9/11, to the Spanish government’s support of the war in Iraq. In a country as vocally liberal as Spain, that did not go down well. Anti-Americanism flourished like mold on a wet towel. There might have been anti-Americanism before, I just don’t remember it, it only stroke me as present during the beginning of the war in Iraq. It was to a point that an attempt was made to stop buying american products, namely Coca Cola, to boycott the USA. I’m not sure they had much success with that, but oh well. In any case, all of this was made worse by the terrorist attacks in Madrid on the 11th of March 2004, known as 11 M in Spain. The terrorist attack was blamed majorly on Spain’s support and participation in the war in Iraq. Now, I am not here to discuss the pros, cons and reasoning and misbehavior or otherwise of the then Spanish government because we, sofa-politicians, are always wiser, especially with the cushion of hindsight. What I want to explain is that through this hole anti-American feeling that I was surrounded by, I still held that Americans were not warmongers nor were they stupid. And believe me, the formula American = stupid is a mathematically accepted equivalence where I come from.
Fast forward to the present. I can’t but question my own opinions of America. And yes, I am still of the opinion that not all Americans are stupid, but this election will put the strongest American defense on the edge of changing their minds. Sadly, not only Americans though. I’ve heard many people here say they would have voted for Trump too. When asked why, the usual is: ‘I can’t stand Hillary Clinton’. Most don’t say it in those words, though. Most mention she is a liar, she supports late term abortion, she let a rapist get free… and other so-called infractions fed, mostly, by the media and a lack of research.
Other of the things they reproach Hillary, they can only reproach because of her roles in public service. Trump, however, couldn’t have committed such ‘outrageous infractions because, never having served in government, he has never been faced with options ranging from bad to unthinkable, and having to chose the least of possible evil, knowing that it would still look bad.
In any case, these are the same arguments Americans use, by the way. All of these accusations have been explained and rebuked over and over again -which is why I’m not going into it, Google it if you want, it’s all right there-, and yet made no difference. It makes me think of Iago grasping a straws to justify his hate of Othello (find the plot here if you don’t know what I’m talking about). The truth is, like Iago, they simply don’t like her. And I can understand it. She is far from warm and approachable. In that way, she reminds me of Margaret Thatcher. Still, I find no way to justify voting for Trump. Faced with a live or death surgery, Americans have ignored the surgeon with thirty years of experience and chosen a kid right out of high school who has just decided he wants to be a doctor. Sure, he has no idea what he’s doing, but the surgeon didn’t give them warm fuzzy feelings.
Americans have allowed their hate of Hillary Clinton and the scaremongery of the Republican party to sway their vote to the conservative side and elected a president that not only makes them the laughing stock of the world, it also makes them the people to blame when s*** hits the fan. Because, don’t fool yourselves, what happens in the US affects the world, for better or for worse.
But there is a reason why the scaremongery worked. The world hasn’t recovered from 9/11 and partly because of the continuous threat of ISIS. The recent attacks in France have left the world in a state of shock and terror, not knowing where the next threat will come from. And at this vulnerable time, a man and a party have come and taken advantage.
At this point I’d like to acknowledge and thank the services of the British intelligence and law enforcement who have worked so hard (and together, might I add) to keep Britain safe (see here).
This is the same reason Brexit won too. Yes, some were taken by the Brexit arguments on NHS and education and not being governed by Brussels but, since Brexit, all the government has talked about is how to stay into the single market (good luck to ya!) all while keeping immigrants out. And if Brexit has done one thing is tell racists and xenophobes that they are O.K. Sure, the country has your back. Hence the 40% increase in hate crimes since the referendum. If an advisory vote did that, what will Trump presidency tell the Americans? What will it tell its supporters, the KKK? Because, honestly, if the KKK supporting a candidate to president is not a big enough red flag, I don’t know what will be. Not even the p***y grabbing video was enough to make people vote for Hillary.
And that’s a sore point. Women cry for equality all the time (me included), yet contribute to another example of a woman losing a job to a less qualified man. But that’s not even the worse of it. No woman should have supported that man after the release of that video. Not ever.
There is much more that I could say about the subject but I think that’s enough. One thing I will add, though: it’s democracy at work. The only issue is that the American people didn’t hold their breath and voted for who was best for the country, as opposed to the person who they disliked less (still amazing though).
Understand me well, though, I’ve some American friends who I know have voted for Trump. I have British friends who I know voted for Brexit. Thankfully, I can still have a relationship with people who I disagree with. This is to say, America, don’t let this divide you the way Brexit has divided this country. It’s a tough situation and, as I said before the Brexit referendum, strength is in unity. Be strong and make sure you practice holding your breath for 2020. And now, back to my garden.
PS: Yes, I gave this situation one star because it is a review after all, and, although Trump won, the majority of people did vote for Hillary. Somewhere under there, there is hope.