Yesterday at 8:25am it felt for many as though the sky had begun to fall, like the world as we know it, the world we believed, no, hoped it would be was well and truly over. Donald J. Trump, TV personality and billionaire businessman, was officially declared the 45th President of the United States of America.
Trump’s exhaustively bizarre and venomous campaign has ended in a victory not even he could have predicted. The democratic majority have spoken and with that voice they have loudly and proudly elected a leader whose political ideology is rotten to the core. For many Brits, myself included, feelings post-Brexit resurfaced; shock, anger, sadness, but most of all the feeling of bitter disappointment at where hateful, nationalistic propaganda has landed the West once again.
The unashamed construction of the fearsome and dangerous “Other” has played a key role in the success enjoyed by both Trump and by Brexit. The familiar song of “them versus us” was played note for note and many people resolutely joined in the chorus. Consequently, these deplorable nationalistic sentiments have been being legitimised further within this toxic political climate in which we now find ourselves.
The whys and hows of Trump’s victory will undoubtedly be asked for decades to come, along with the questions like; when did people, particularly in the West, become so angry? When did the horrors of past nationalisms appear so conveniently forgotten? When did vulnerable people stop being deserving of help? When did the word refugee transform into resource-draining pariah? And when did society begin to resent diversity and multiculturalism?
As a global community, we are now faced with some tough times ahead. Uncomfortable questions need to asked and answered, certain values and power relations need to be dramatically revaluated and paths through this rising smog of nationalism must be forged. Most importantly, we must forge these paths together, we must look beyond our own communities and reach out to others for support and guidance. No one path is definitively right, if we begin to engage with and value the experiences and perspectives of others, we will inevitably begin to move forward…
The hopelessness left in the wake of this election cannot be allowed to settle on us like an invisible dust we forget to shake off. Now more than ever we must open our hearts and minds and be bountiful with our kindness as those currently in power may not be so kind to us.
Since this piece began with a falling sky, it seems only apt it should end with an ascending one. In the words of Dr. Ashkhari Johnson Hodari “if everyone helps to hold up the sky, not one person will become tired.”
Love can still trump hate.
Article by BWV Reporter Amy Cox