Although it was America’s election, it’s fair to say large parts of the world awoke with a pounding headache last Wednesday morning. By the end of the day, I was so emotionally battered I didn’t know which way to turn. All around me was the doom and gloom of what this win meant. Brexit all over again. Brexit tenfold more like it. How would it effect Ireland seemed to be our biggest concern. I found that hard to digest. Not that it wouldn’t impact us, but the man had just been elected. Hillary had barely surfaced from the nightmare of the past 18 months. Her supporters and those caught in the middle had not yet digested the results, let alone its impact. And here was little old Ireland wondering how it would effect us.
The overwhelming feeling was that this was a big loss for progress. Not for democracy. The man stood for election. He campaigned hard. He spoke to the people. He got through the noise and they came out and voted. Okay, Hillary did win the popular vote but only marginally. Throughout the day all I heard from Trump supporters was how he would bring back jobs, tighten our borders and save the unborn. Like he was some demigod who could resurrect an America of by-gone years.
Bring back jobs. Hell yes, please do. No one wants to see a community destroyed by a recession. Factories closing, unemployment rising. Local trade disintegrating, flattened by big business. It’s hard for me not to point out the obvious. That Trump is big business. How and ever! This man does not have a magic wand. He can’t kick-start an economy that no longer benefits from dying trades like mining. As sad as that is.
Tighten our borders. I understand the frustration and sense of loss that has been experienced with growing immigration. The world is changing and at such a pace that it’s hard to know where to stand. But we must stand together. We must not put up walls – literally and metaphorically – that knock down the most vulnerable in our society. It frustrates me to see countries like America and Britain spout this racial and anti-immigrant rhetoric. The hypocrisy of their positions. Okay, unlike Britain, America never colonised another country. But it’s not as though they keep to themselves. With American tentacles feeling their way in to many different countries, all the while, promoting their own homestead as a land of dreams, are we surprised that people are vying in their masses to go there? By hook or by crook.
And for many years that didn’t seem to be a problem. But now it’s like the benefactor is questioning your worth. How do you benefit me? Only if you’re not going to be a drain on our resources. What happened to this superpower that protects the weak? Instead, like Britain, they want to turn their backs on you in your time of need and not offer this land of so called opportunity to everyone. Okay, I know that’s not feasible. I understand that restrictions need to be in place but at the heart of this is a deep racial sentiment, that if we don’t name, and name loudly, we’ll find ourselves back in a time when it was okay to make Jewish people wear stars and file them off to camps. History repeats itself. Let us not forget.
As for this anti-abortion rhetoric, I can’t even begin to comment. I still live in a country where our (predominantly male) politicians refuse to deal with the crisis at hand. Passing it off to some citizen’s assembly, as though it really is the solution to all our problems. And not just a way to avoid facing the truth. But in a country where abortion rights were hard fought and has been legal since 1973, it’s depressing to see that this is still an issue. What’s worse is the thought that people think they can reverse these rulings along with marriage equality. I just don’t understand it. You don’t believe in abortion or marriage equality? Fine. That’s not the point. It’s about the right to choose. It’s about education. People who voted for Trump feel they were educated enough to make that decision. They feel they knew the truth about this man. That’s their choice. As much as it stinks that this hypocritical, hatred citing buffoon can actually be the only person who reached a nation of disillusioned, lost, angry, tired people, well, hell, that’s democracy! And some thing we have to live with for the next four years.
As for Ireland, well, despite our failings – homelessness and rising costs of rent, crises in our health system, over worked and under payed Nurses and Gardai and many, many other issues – we’re not stupid. We know what’s important to our country. A small island in the large Atlantic Ocean. And that’s foreign business. We need you. That much is clear from Taoiseach Enda Kenny being the third person to speak with the President Elect.
All hail …
No, no. I just can’t.