I want to send love and solidarity to my American friends who voted against Donald Trump. Most of them did, just as most of my British (and Commonwealth) friends voted to Remain in June.
Today, I see the same emotions among my American friends as I did after the referendum. There’s a sense of disbelief and horror. People are in despair. These are new feelings for many of us. The resurgence of right wing politics – division, loathing and hostility – is something we never thought we would see.
Trump and Brexit are a symptom of people kicking against diversity, inclusion and progress. We are seeing racism, homophobia and sexism normalised and promoted, to our disgust. Fault lines have been forming under the supervision of the right wing press and neoliberalism, both of which have colluded very successfully to gain power from the ensuing divides.
Ironically, in both Brexit and the US election, elites were seen as the target. But here’s the biggest con trick we’ll ever live through: the elites are framing millionaires as saviours of ‘ordinary working people’. Farage and Trump have pulled this off with aplomb, supported by the news media and a populous that doesn’t know who to blame.
In 2016, the fault lines have finally ruptured. Young people are used to being global citizens; digital citizens, even. They see the world without borders. Hatred of foreigners is an abstract concept, because we work among foreigners and have friends in many countries, unlike previous generations. When a demagogue is elected to build walls, it makes the young feel imprisoned.
This morning, I’ve already seen dissenters being told to “move to Mexico if you don’t like it”, which is essentially a clone of the jibes we’ve come to expect from people who tell British Remain voters to “piss off and live in the EU”. These people honestly believe their shiny new Nationalist millionaire overlords will look after them. If you dare point out the irony, you’re told to pack up and leave.
Trump bears all the hallmarks of a man who is deeply insecure and craves validation. Deep down, he probably has no real interest in actually doing the job of President, and it’s a fallacy to believe he has the skills or stamina to even try.
There are tough times ahead. Don’t give up yet. We need to look after each other.
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