Make America Great Again? Or Something Along Those Lines Anyway…

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I think in the same way that I had Brexit denial I had Donald Trump denial as well. In both scenarios I was completely aware of all the facts, I had done my research on public opinion, I had watched the news reports, heard the campaign speeches and knew the results of exit polls and all of this did seem to translate into disastrous results however I remained (unusually for me) positive. Which wasn’t great if I’m honest as when I was let down on a massive scale by members of the public I was all the more upset. How could we possibly have voted to leave the EU? How could they have even given that subject to a public vote knowing the general lack of knowledge of the normal individual? And regarding the Trump scenario, how could it have possibly got to the point where this businessman with no political background whatsoever became the Republican candidate to run the most powerful country in the world?

I’m not going to lie; I’ve never had much faith in America. When I was in my GCSE year I put the USA in Room 101 for my English exam. This was during the George Bush era with his ‘war on terrorism’ (“we will fight terror with terror”) and the Iraq War; an assault so ridiculous and destructive that it’s still widely discussed and criticised over ten years later. My fifteen-year-old self was extremely critical of this and Bush’s election tactics that I felt were unfair and bullying. I ended my speech with a hopeful note; that the USA would make a significantly historic move, they would elect the first African-American president and they did; everything, for a while, was redeemed. For eight years America was lead by a level headed and reasonable individual that campaigned for normal things like more accessible healthcare and a tighter stance on gun control only for it to all to be reversed under the capable hand of Mr Donald J. Trump.

I think what is so difficult to comprehend is that although there was always the threat of this happening (as with Brexit) and it was looking to become a real possibility there was always the reassurance that what was spouting from Trump’s mouth was ridiculous and everyone must be able to see how utterly ridiculous he was. Again, as with Brexit, I think it says something about the people I associate myself with that for me there was no real way this could happen when I looked at the widely held views of the individual’s around me. This man is not a politician; he is a businessman and B-list celebrity. He has no grasp of politics, which admittedly is what some people find so appealing. In the run up to the election I watched an episode of Newsnight where ‘ordinary’ Americans outlined that they were voting for Trump as they were tired of the status quo, of elitist individuals who claimed to have the people’s best interests at heart yet displayed non of this when they were elected. The overall theme was that they were tired of being lied to, a feeling I sympathise with, and that Donald Trump was honest and straightforward. This is true, he does seem to be honest and straightforward however his honesty and the things he says which he claims to be true are so unattractive and fascist that surely it simply being his truthful opinion doesn’t redeem it.

Firstly, unless you’re a White, American, heterosexual male he probably hates you, or has some reason as to why you are inferior of the White, American, heterosexual male. He has insulted nearly everyone that he could possibly insult (along with many White, American, heterosexual males who are appalled by his comments). His stance on immigration is laughable but only because that’s they only sane way of dealing with it. The man wants to build a wall between the USA and Mexico because apparently Mexico never send the good ones to integrate themselves in American society, no apparently its just the rapists and drug users. Imagine! Imagine if this guy actually builds a wall!? To begin with, no that just won’t work. I personally do not believe that such a wall will be built, it’s an exaggeration, a big ‘look what I can do!’ It’s a massive statement on his stance towards immigration and his intolerance towards other cultures and nationalities. This man clearly has very little understanding of his great country’s history. A country that is entirely built on destructive immigration from Europe and further enriched by forced immigration and brutality in the form of slavery. He has no idea of the hypocrisy he is a part of as last I looked he showed no signs of being a native American but is instead most definitely descendent of a long line of illegal immigrants.

Not content with simply insulting the entirety of Mexico and all of America’s Latino population Trump must then start on the Muslims. Because what political campaign doesn’t need some religious prejudice as well? The man focuses entirely on being as inflammatory as possible. I highly doubt he will be able to cease all Muslim immigration into the US but by God he’ll be damned if he doesn’t give it a try. The post 9/11 world is an extremely prejudice and tense place, heightened further by the rise of IS, and Trump has either fallen victim to this paranoia or is cleverly playing it. Through his words and his election win he is legitimising hate crime. A campaign built on hate and prejudice will legitimise hate and prejudice. America has a dark past, the introduction of Jim Crow laws post slavery and the civil rights movement of the mid twentieth century demonstrate this and is a lesson to be learned not repeated. Trump’s campaign normalises behaviour that the world wishes it had moved on from. Directing abuse towards different religious and ethnic groups now seems to be something that will be commonplace in twenty-first century America, a fact that should be unbelievable but I bet in the weeks and months to come will be very much the opposite. There is already evidence in the news of White Supremacist groups targeting different races ranging from verbal abuse to hateful graffiti on public property. This is not the kind of world I wish to live in. As with post Brexit, the hateful views of a small minority have been legitimised and this small minority now think they have the right to exercise and demonstrate their backwards thoughts and opinions.

In addition to his hateful views on different races and religions Trump also demonstrates a blatant disregard for women. Here is a man who is so blatantly misogynistic one would think that his whole life source depends upon it. Women have worked to hard throughout history to gain a place in society that is respectable and deserved to have to put up with this kind of idiotic rambling. We demand better than this. It is scary that a man with multiple sexual assault cases stacked up against him, who has said things like “grab her by the pussy” and treats women as nothing more than inanimate sex objects has been voted into a position of such power. What’s more scary is that there were women who voted for him claiming that they simply ignore the remarks he has about their gender. One cannot simply ignore exclamations so disgustingly damaging and suggestive. This man is encouraging harassment. Although the place of women has progressed in society (again only in very recent history) it is obvious through things such as sexual assault cases that women are very often treated as second-class citizens. So often in America men, or more accurately boys, are given very light sentences in relation to sexual assault and rape claims on the basis of them being under the influence of alcohol, or not understanding that if someone is unconscious they are not able to consent to sex. Just remember the Brock Turner case. Although found guilty the college student only served a three month sentence, which was half of his original one. For sexual assault Turner only received six months jail time. Does the world need to be reminded of the extremely emotional and heartfelt speech that his victim gave in court and the bravery that she displayed in order to try and gain justice for herself and others? People have tirelessly campaigned and protested in order to try and make the criminal justice system understand the pain of sexual assault victims and the meaning of sexual consent and with each case you would hope that the understanding becomes a bit more. The election of Donald Trump is a terrifying prospect for these kinds of cases. There is no demonstration of guarantee that the law will become more favourable towards the victim but rather that it will continue on a path of victim blaming and sympathy for the perpetrator.

Indeed there is no doubt that Trump’s America will be a dangerous one. Also on his list of people he has offended and marginalised, aside from women, religious groups and different ethnicities are LGBT groups, transgender people, disabled people and just about any sane person to cross his path or hear of his campaign. You want to believe that there is absolutely no way that anything he has campaigned for will come true yet simultaneously there is a worry that although he knows nothing of politics he knows a lot about the world of money and money speaks. This man has so much money he doesn’t know what to do with it. It’s like his run for president was a big joke as he was bored and had a lot of spare money. Something tells me his advisors won’t be big on the idea of building a wall between the USA and Mexico but Trump has so much money he could just do it anyway. Aside from changes he wants to make that no one had ever remotely dreamed of before there’s all the changes he will make that will be detrimental to how progressive the States had become under Obama. For eight years this man worked tirelessly to improve things like healthcare and gun control. Passing tighter laws relating to who could own and sell firearms was a difficult task for Obama and it took a lot of strength and determination in the face of much resistance. Under Trump we can look forward to all of that being undone. It’s sad. As mentioned the civil rights movement is in many people’s memories still and is a piece of extremely recent history however there was evidence of great change in America after the darker days of Bush. To see a nation take such a tremendous leap backwards is not only upsetting but also terrifying and I fear for not just America but for the whole world for the next four years.

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