Donald Trump is a virus. He is the embodiment of the very worst humanity has to offer. He is a pompous, self-aggrandising buffoon with as much charm and sophistication as a pubic louse. He is the result of our culture’s obsession with celebrity, its glorification of power, its male-privileged pomposity, and its sick, endearing admiration for the mega-rich and famous.
But this U.S. election was more than a choice for president. It was a choice of identity – America’s identity. In the end, it chose intolerance over inclusion, rage over reason and division over diversity.
How will parents break this to their kids? How will people that raised their children to “never insult others”, “reject racism and bigotry”, “work hard, be prepared and do your homework” – how will they look their kids in the eye and say a man that represented the very antithesis of every value they hold dear just became the most powerful person on the planet?
And what of his opponent?
Hillary Clinton – the most organised, the most prepared, the most calm, measured and judicious candidate in my lifetime (and by far the most qualified) – just lost to a man with zero experience, zero preparation and zero intellect.
Yes. A former First Lady of Arkansas, former First Lady of the United States, former New York Senator and former Secretary of State just lost the 2016 U.S. presidential election to a former steak salesman and reality TV star.
This is what sexism looks like. This is what misogyny looks like. Just when a woman was about to (finally) shatter the glass ceiling and become the first female U.S. president – providing perhaps the most important symbolic feminist victory of this young millennium – Trump manages to mend all the cracks and order a thicker sheet of glass.
To recap (because it has been a lengthy slog of an election and is worth taking a step back):
The man who wants to ban Muslims from entering the country; the man who wants to build a wall on the Mexican border; the man who calls Mexicans “rapists”; the man who bragged about sexually assaulting women; the man who was accused numerous times of sexual harassment; the man who refers to women as “dogs”; the man who doesn’t pay his taxes; the man who deliberately courted white supremacists; the man who won the endorsement of the KKK; the man who thinks Climate Change is a hoax and was “invented by the Chinese”…
This boisterous, bloviating, bigoted, blow-hard bully is President of the United States.
Let me be clear: I am not saying that everyone who voted for Trump is a racist. It would be wrong and impertinent of me to claim that. But consider this: Everyone who voted for Trump supported a racist. Everyone who voted for Trump validated a racist. And everyone who voted for Trump elected a racist.
This is a bitter pill to have to swallow.
But be optimistic. Be hopeful. It may seem impossible right now, but we must. This morning, Gloria Steinem said “Today is a vote against the future. But the future is going to happen anyway.” She’s right.
I am not American. However, this far-right reactionary movement is sadly not unique to the U.S. – in fact it is much closer to home than I’d care to imagine. But this is why I say “we” and not “you”. Because we are all in this together. Which is why we must keep fighting. We must never give up. We must be kind and we must be caring. And we must go high when they go low.
“This loss hurts,” Hillary Clinton said in her concession speech to a room full of mournful supporters, “But please, never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.”
Hear, hear Hillary. Hear, hear.