It’s November the 10th, 2016. The rain and dark clouds of yesterday have cleared, the bitter cold, not so bitter anymore, but still a lingering chill in the air. One that brushes your skin every so often just to remind you of the terrifying world we can only imagine we will be living in for the next 4-5 years, lest you try to forget.
I am grateful for it though. That lingering sense of something awful in the back of my mind, this darkness that is somehow always on the edges of my being. Always there. Always waiting. It’s frightening but I think we need that fear, that uncertainty. As hard as it may be we shouldn’t try to forget.
Was it only 8 years ago that America made history by electing its first ever black President? Not just black, but a lawyer, a senator, an all round cool dude and a good man. In his two terms as President, Obama has overseen new laws that would protect women against domestic violence, avoid suspicion as victims of sexual assault, lobbied for a woman’s right to choose, deployed Obamacare to 20 million people in desperate need of healthcare, made Medicaid accessible to countless other millions, oversaw Bin Laden’s killing, worked tirelessly to ensure sanctions on Iran’s development of nuclear weapons, he was the President when same-sex marriage was legalised across the entire country, created 9.5 million jobs to dramatically reduce the dire unemployment situation and has been the only sitting President to have openly and actively supported LGBT+ issues.
And that’s just some of the big stuff he did.
In response to this however, there was still one thing America decided it had had enough of: pretending they weren’t a country full of racists. Really, 8 years was just too long for them to keep doing that and they have had enough. For all Obama, Biden and First Lady Michelle, worked tirelessly to achieve, the country could not see anything else beyond the colour of his skin. It’s not important for them to elect a leader of the most powerful country on earth who can read, has a plan, knows the tiniest bit about foreign and domestic policy, knows anything about the economy, wants to keep the very new and extremely fragile civility between their country and Cuba intact, isn’t kissing Putin’s arse, doesn’t hate all women but loves and enjoys helping himself to any vagina below the age of 30 and literally hates any and all minorities.
What is important is that Trump is not a woman. Or black. Because fuck all of that Obama crap.
This morning I woke up to news of protests in cities across the country. Hundreds of thousands marching on the streets declaring they will not recognise Donald Trump as their President. Not surprising. And really, it won’t change the fact that he will be sworn in this coming January. Bar some sort of criminal conviction (and it would need to be a big one and provable beyond a reasonable doubt) this man will be President of the United States for the next 4 years. It won’t change it but speaking up is a start.
There are bigger implications in this. The Republicans retained control of the Senate, will elect the newest Supreme Court Judge (because they blocked Obama’s actual Presidential right to do so, you know, because he is black) and will do away with much needed and important policies like not making the planet catch on fire (where will they go for their ski trips if there is no snow I wonder?) Essentially, Obama’s entire legacy will be completely obliterated.
This won’t be a country that works for everyone. It will go back to being a country that services, white, rich, greedy, tax hating, gun loving, homophobes. It’s like the UK, except America are going at it much harder (everything is way bigger over there don’t you know). This won’t be just a giant step back for America, it’s a complete whitewashing of a country determined to ensure minorities know their goddamn place is, which is beneath straight, white people.
And they had better not forget it.
It’s shocking. It’s confusing. It’s beyond stupid. But this is where we are now. Trump will be President come January. Whether we like it or not, the UK will exit the EU and that hateful harpy (who is scarier than Trump because she is, unfortunately, not as dumb as he is) Marine Le Pen will become the elected President of the French Republic. Man, oh man, must terrorists everywhere be having a party at how easy it was to scare the stupid democratic westerners into proving them right.
The answer to all of this isn’t to cry, lick our wounds and pull back. The time for that has gone. We need to get up, dust ourselves off and fight it all over again. You don’t give up just because you lost. You use it to fight that much harder, to make yourselves that much tougher against hate and bullying. You fight for yourselves, your children, your grandchildren, the most vulnerable communities in our society who will surely suffer. You speak up for the world, not just for now but for long after you have left it.
It hurts right now. Use that pain, channel your fear and work to live in a better world where becoming a leader of your country, being part of those entrusted to run the country benefits everyone and not just the elite. Just last week the High Court ruled in favour of putting triggering Article 50 to Parliament first. That is a huge win, one that can wrestle control of Brexit from Theresa May’s scary, trump-loving, incompetency by attempting to make this a measured and transparent exit instead of a Theresa May/Trump/Farage-y type rush job.
That is what fighting gets you. A country working for those so often forgotten until its time for them to bear the burden of corruption. Fighting doesn’t mean trying to reverse a decision like Brexit or a Trump Presidency. It means fighting against the things those things stand for, the things that endanger the vulnerable.
It means donating to food banks, taking responsibility for building your own political knowledge (we know the media and newspapers can’t be trusted to be impartial if this year is anything to go by), a simple google search will show you when your state has a new election coming, the same thing will help you to read up on that candidate’s (for Governor, Senator, Sheriff, Mayor, whatever) plan, policy, moral compass. Use your head and then vote. Simply voting in an election for President every four years is no longer enough. If you want to avoid another shambolic result that hands all power to those who want to put guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them, to those who would burden you with higher tax obligations so that they don’t have to, to those who will tell you what to do with your reproductive organs or face the consequences, you must start from the bottom.
Roll up your sleeves, campaign, be a voice, donate, educate others, do something, anything to help get us all out from under the thumb of elitism. You can cry if you want to. You can scream if you need to. But don’t give up. You were lucky enough to have Obama for those eight years. We didn’t even have that. There has been no one even close. And right now, it’s Theresa May’s outright lies or Jeremy Corbyn (and I don’t trust him as far as I can throw him). Backing down does nothing but normalise hate speech, take our power away. Stand tall.
You can do it. We can all do it. Invest the time.
Don’t give up.
Hold the line.
We can do it.
Just hold the line.