On Trump and the U.S. Election by an American in America

rainbow-white-houseI was recently asked by Renée at the Mummy Tries blog to write a post about how I thought a Trump presidency might affect the rest of the world. I waited until just a few days before Election Day to write the piece because my thoughts and opinions were on a roller coaster ride on a daily basis.

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Because I spent my junior year of college abroad, attending the University of Bristol, I know what it’s like to “represent” an entire country’s way of thinking. Although Bristol is in no way a backwater, country town, and other Americans attended the university, I still found that those around me—friends, fellow students, professors, shop owners—were still very much interested in getting the opinion of an American on a variety of subjects. It’s both a difficult and heady position to be in, and I tried to tread carefully because I was under no delusions then, and even less delusions now, that my opinion in any way, shape, or form represents the bulk of Americans. It can be a dangerous thing, indeed, to assume that other people think the way that you do.

Having said that, I hope I’ve dispatched with the idea that my opinion represents the whole of the U.S. Obviously, if it did, this presidential race would not be so close—not by a longshot. If my opinion was shared by all Americans, Trump would no longer even be a memory on the electoral stage. But, alas, he’s still here, and misogyny is still the norm and not the exception.

No doubt, it’s been a wild ride. As someone who has lived in other countries, I understand how much other societies still look to the U.S. for so much and, yes, even put the U.S. up on a pedestal as some sort of ideal. Perhaps Americans who are unaware of that are less bothered than I am by the fact that this pedestal has been kicked over. If not quite the laughingstock of the world at the moment, the U.S. is no doubt the cause of much head-scratching outside of its borders. If you’re wondering what the heck is going on over here, imagine how so many of us feel. The lunatics are attempting to run the asylum.

It didn’t happen overnight. So much has been steadily eroding over the last decade or two, including—unfortunately—civility and diplomacy. Social media and 24/7 “news” cycles have led us to have increasingly short attention spans and a knee-jerk tendency to believe everything we hear. These same news programs no longer even pretend to be impartial, so we gravitate toward those who say what we want to hear. Where is the education in that? Perhaps we, as a society, will soon be getting what we deserve. We are absolutely reaping what we sow.

How would a Trump presidency (I actually cringed as I wrote those two words together) affect the U.S., as well as the rest of the world? There are some days that I manage to convince myself that it wouldn’t be all that bad; that we’ve recovered from worse. It’s hard to know what to expect from a con man who has probably only said ten honest things in his entire life. Of course, his power is also affected by the status of Congress, and whether the Democrats or Republicans rule that nest.

In the near term, he has promised to appoint Supreme Court judges who uphold what basically amount to right-wing Christian values. So much for impartiality, and the whole system of checks and balances that are supposed to exist in our political system. What this could mean immediately is that two major rulings would be overturned: Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges. The first gave women the right to make their own decisions about their pregnancy, without outside interference. The second led to the Marriage Equality Act, which made same-sex marriages legal in every state, regardless of state law (or individual religious belief).

These rollbacks will appease the alt-right and allow Trump to throw his vice-presidential running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, a much-desired bone. Pence is, in fact, the scarier of the two men on the Republican ticket—check out his actions while Indiana’s governor to see what I mean. At heart, both of these rulings were enacted to protect citizens’ privacy. If the Supreme Court overturns them, it sets a huge precedent for any case arguing individual freedoms. Including the gun lobby.

If any of this makes you uncomfortable, it should. A democracy that strips its citizens of individual freedoms is no longer a democracy. If the U.S. has any small amount of influence left over other countries, there could be ripple effects. I have heard that this is a race between globalism and nationalism, and I tend to agree with that assessment. Trump’s supporters want the clock turned back to isolationalism and that could be terrible for trade, as we are nothing if not a consumer-based society. And as much as I’d like us to remove ourselves from conflicts around the globe, our humanitarian efforts (and dollars) are very much needed, and even relied upon.

As for giving a lunatic the codes for the nuclear arsenal—I’m not as worried about that. Or his promise to make Mexico build a wall to keep out illegal immigrants. Blustering fools say things to get votes that: a) they don’t mean and/or b) they don’t have the power to do. No, in addition to the erosion of my personal protections, I worry the most about Trump’s effect on the next generation.

Any of us raising children, no matter where we live, should be concerned by what these last two years have shown us about the devolution of society as a whole: the lack of civil discourse; the propensity to hate; the wholesale inability to demonstrate even the smallest amount of empathy to anybody who looks, speaks, acts or thinks differently. This is not what we want our children to learn, and I’m working hard to ensure my kids never think this way. I hope you’re doing the same.

We can, both as a nation and a global society, survive a Trump presidency. It’s the legacy of hate that we must never give up fighting.

Originally written for and published on Mummy Tries here.

©2016  All Rights Reserved

 

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