Whilst many people feel shock and anger at Donald Trump's election victory, Nick Triani decides it's time to engage with a familiar foe, the same one we've been fighting all along: ourselves.
Nowhere to Hide
Maybe I can bury my head in the sand. Please shovel high and don’t miss any spots, no skin in sight, bury me deep. Perhaps I could scream at the wall. Scream and trash my throat. I could become the Howard Beale of the condescendingly enlightened. The discontent is disconcerting. But why am I surprised? My social media feeds have been full of the news of despondent rejection. Core values that me and my peers represent are seemingly under attack. Trump has come up trumps, it’s the truth we don’t want to hear, worse than a smear against my name. With my relatively comfortable existence I can express resignation and horror but in truth I’m fairly protected from any of the immediate effects of Trumps imminent coronation.
I could become the Howard Beale of the condescendingly enlightened. The discontent is disconcerting.
Another racist right wing politician lies. Are we shocked? When has this been any different. Since Trump became President people are asking why – trying to fathom the unfathomable. It could have been the 45 plus % who didn’t vote at all? Casting your eye over demographic figures, splits between gender, wage earners and on who voted for who only partially reveals meaningful insights. Life is hard and too many are just getting on with the business of living. Elections? Do me a favour.
“Bill Clinton was ‘the man’ when I last voted, and he ended up doing nothing for me” Hank from Wyoming comments.
“He maybe crazy but that Trump fella talks a lot of sense” remarked Bill on Wall Street.
Hillary Clinton was maimed by her own history and the stale whiff of familiarity, the kind of old friend you really don’t want to stop and chat to in the street. You’ve nothing in common anymore so why bother. These unwanted have left me as confused and as lost as anyone else. So much has been implied by this election result, yet so little clarity follows. What do we do now?
The army of displaced
I’m a member of the growing army of the electoral displaced. Of course, many of us by birthright and location have no possibility of voting in the US presidential elections. Thanks to Brexit – not by choice – I will soon have no right to vote anywhere. I am a democratic pariah. I’ve lived too long outside my country of birth to have a say in that ‘democratic process’. My British passport, at one time a badge of acceptance everywhere, represents a country looking for it’s own isolation. Being the bearer of said passport also forbids me to vote in my adopted country’s major elections. Locally – in Helsinki – I still have a voice, at least until Brexit becomes reality. Of course I could change my nationality, but what desperate depths should I go to for acceptance? And who exactly is looking out for me? Stripped and outcast, I can silently curse my luck, struck by innocent relocation. But no politician talks to me, and if they did, I can’t acquiesce anyway. A wonderful example of democracy and free movement working hand in hand.
For all our mocking of the American people and their choice of the orange tan, in Europe we preside over a shameful refugee crises, a deep denial of our ingrained sense of community.
It’s never been any different for me, I am the son of Italian immigrants, as my children are now fathered by an immigrant in Finland. Being the other in 2016 is about as welcome as that unflushed turd in the toilet pan. For all our mocking of the American people and their choice of the orange tan, in Europe we preside over a shameful refugee crises, a deep denial of our ingrained sense of community. The land of free movement is only accessible to some. It’s all about the money, dummy. And let’s keep the dialogue as racially explicit as possible, we wouldn’t want to leave any doubts. Yes, the racist language used in the US election was appalling, but no worse than your average Le Pen, UKIP, True Finns or the Brexit campaign discourse. I’m sure it’s a sign of the ‘new’ politics we’d all been promised.
Donald of course is no rocket scientist, but he does understand the deep seated divisions that lie at the heart of all our societies. Enough hateful rhetoric will go far to appease the disenfranchised, the downtrodden and the poor who are looking for someone to hate on, for someone to take the heat for their miserable, struggling existence. It’s been with us since the dawn of time. It doesn’t get easier for many. Of course, this is a simpleton’s view and I must resist it. Was this a protest vote perhaps? Or how about the much castigated elite being complicit, some of them are brimming with glee at the possibilites Trump’s victory presents. Big buisness. The fact that it takes a very rich reality TV host to illuminate their plight and to shine the light on establishment privileges, rings with an irony that’s perfect for our times.
I no longer have the faith in our society to correct its moral compass through reasonable discourse
I keep hearing that left-leaning voices must countenance and understand such bigotry to get their hands back on the power reins. Really? Should we not know better by now? And why must I entertain discourse with the racist in our midst? I’d like to tell them to go fuck themselves, not some appeasing titbit dialogue to gain favour with someone I don’t want to understand. And here is my quandary. My tolerance of ignorance has been beaten out of me. I will not tolerate racism, misogyny, homophobia or any other prejudice you harbour. My only countenance to such views will be a curt fuck you. But I no longer have the faith in our society to correct its moral compass through reasonable discourse. Right now it feels akin to pissing in the wind. So I ask again, what do we do now?
Eyes Wide Open
Where do we go, and more pertinently, where do I go? Perhaps it’s worth considering a new state of affairs, or conservatively, sticking with the same old same old. The PC doors have been blown off. Across the world the idealism of communal responsibility lies in tatters. Acceptance of each other is no longer requisite. We have all become isolationists. We are a society of individuals, barely tolerating our differences or our need to be different. But this melting pot of resentment is what we have, so we have to work with this. Like we always have. We have to co-exist not with like minded souls working to the same ends to better ourselves and share in our communal endeavours, but instead, we have to breathe side by side with the enemy. I would not be so presumptuous to suggest that this worldly sentiment is something new, this swing to the right which engulfs those of us with passions for good. It has been thus far our operational status: evil. We co-exist, despite the disagreement.
We can stamp our feet a little more and wait for the wind to change direction (it always does), but now is the time for biding time and doing what you can. Find a cause. Get up and fight. Don’t like it? Then fucking try and change it. Your facebook feed is not your guru. I’ve changed my mind, dig me out of that sand hole. I want to be seen and heard. We’ve never had it so bad/we’ve never had it so good. Trump is in the White House, yet it’s the same as it ever was. A Nobel laureate famously espoused ‘Times they are a changin’ – but time doesn’t really change, it just offers variants on the same. How much I engage and am aware of our situation, and what I try to do to change this situation is my only justification for my own indignant howl. I’m alive and awake and my eyes are open.
what I try to do to change this situation is my only justification for my own indignant howl