Friday, 20 January 2017

How did it come to this?

Today's the day a proportion (though not the majority) of the American electorate get the man they think is going to make their country great again. There he is, on the left, brazenly, blatantly mocking disabled reporter Serge Kovaleski. Of course, he indignantly refutes this allegation, saying he would never mock any disabled person, but you've seen the video, you know the truth. And this is the man that, from today, will be the leader of the free world. Now I'm going out on a limb here, but I'm willing to bet that if you're a regular or even occasional reader of this blog then you won't believe this is a good thing.

I've been trying to marshal my thoughts on the US election and the President-elect for two months now, and I'm no nearer being calm enough to write cogently on the subject.

Instead, I have to content myself with a few bulletpoints summarising what we have learnt about both Trump and the sociopolitical mood that has led to his triumph. In no particular order:

  • Trump is not a smart man. If you were in doubt on this, consider his views on climate change.
  • Trump cannot laugh at himself, if his reaction to Alex Baldwin on SNL is anything to go by.
  • Trump is possibly the least presidential president in history. Twitter gives us all the proof of this we need.
  • Trump has elevated self-aggrandisement to an art form. "I will be the greatest <insert buzzword of the day here> in history..."
  • Trump's picks for high office betray his real interests and motivations...
  • ...and make a mockery of his pre-election pledge to shake up the system.
  • Fake news is apparently only fake news if it disagrees with or undermines you.
  • The rejection of experts, in our post-truth world, is now so complete that the US has a president who has never previously held any elected office. Of any kind. Ever.
  • Russia almost inevitably has some form of dossier on Trump, which may or may not include #Watersportsgate. It's naïve to think otherwise.
  • Pollsters have yet to analyse and quantify the effect of the so-called embarrassed or ashamed voter, hence the inaccurate predictions for the 2015 UK general election, the Brexit vote and now the US election. Seems that the greater the perceived stigma attached to voting a certain way, the greater the inaccuracy in the polls.
  • The presidential handover from Obama to Trump provides dictionaries with a new textbook definition of the phrase "from the sublime to the ridiculous".

I could go on and on, and this would turn into the longest post I have ever written. In case you haven't noticed, I believe Donald's rise to power is a disaster, not just for the US but globally. Not only that, I fear it marks a worrying change in an increasingly stratified society, where the difference in opinion becomes so extreme and the shades of grey in between decrease in number. Next stop, Eloi and Morlocks.

I thought of trying to leave you with something lighter in tone, maybe something mocking Trump (and let's be honest, there's no shortage of material there). Trouble is, it's not mockery that's needed now, as Trump and his ilk rise and rise around the world. What's needed now is resistance, protest, action. Protect the free press. Protect civil liberties. Protect equality. Live the way you want the world to live around you. And, if you are eligible to vote in US elections, get Trump out of office at the earliest opportunity. I pray, for all our sakes, that it won't be too late.


  1. I thought that maybe a lot of the pre-election crapola would be largely rhetoric and he would adopt a calmer more sensible approach once in power. Almost unbelievably he's got a million times worse. Nothing more than a playground bully but in charge of the USA! A popular REM song springs to mind but we don't feel fine.....

    1. Oh mate, I hoped so too, but with every press conference, every statement, every interview, it just becomes increasingly obvious that our worst fears are being realised, and then some. And boy, do we not feel fine...

      My biggest concern (of many) is his attitude to climate change and his coziness with the fossil fuel industry. If we, as a planet, are going to safeguard any kind of life for our kids we need to be acting now to cease the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide, not charging headlong down the coal/oil/gas route, tearing up all the hard work of the previous administration in the process. He might be the president of the US but he's shafting the whole planet. It's terrible, truly terrible.