What a morning? Many of our worst nightmares have come true and those of us in the UK have a sense of déjà vu. We woke up on 24 June and realised that our world had changed and that for many of us everything we believed in had been undermined because of petty party politics. Today we woke up to see that the US had raised the bar even higher – you always win!
Many believe that Trump is a good thing. On our recent trip to the US we met lots of genuinely nice Americans who had nothing good to say about Hillary Clinton. The underlying message was that “we” need a change and Trump is the agent of change, devil or not. Our non-scientific conclusion was that Trump would win.
For others in the US, Clinton’s loss in the USA election is a nightmare; it’s a complete loss of identity because ‘good’ has been trumped. Many in the USA will be in the same kind of shock as many in Britain on the morning of 24 June – their values have been destroyed by those who want a society that is not attainable. Making America Great Again is a similar message to talking back control from Europe.
To those of us who are living through Brexit this result is ominous. The UK and US have both had a soft rebellion against the ruling elite and there is no doubt that many voted just to give the political establishment “a kicking”. We have seen in the UK how the ‘winners’ have gloated and expressed long-hidden racist views. We have also seen how this has manifested itself in a rise in hate crimes. It’s bad news if you are an immigrant.
It is too easy though to think the idiots have taken over the asylum but the reality is that we haven’t done enough to be inclusive and ordinary, mainly white, people see themselves as being left behind because of societal and economic change. A better brighter future is what everyone wants and economic stagnation or decline has impacted on the ‘forgotten men and women’ more than the mainstream has admitted. But, and it is a big but, how do all of us tell our children or grandchildren that working hard pays off when you see a privileged wastrel in the Whitehouse? Where is the UK or US role model who shows that being a bully, liar and a bigot doesn’t pay?
In the end, it seems, Trump called it right when he predicted this election would mirror Brexit, (he even got Farage over to gloat). However, it is frightening that the far right parties in Europe (France, Holland and Germany) were fast out of the blocks in celebrating Brexit and Trump. No doubt they see both nasty campaigns as their model to win upcoming elections. With the US result the self-destruction of western democracy continues and populism is on the rise.