America, always lovingly polarised by its competing melting pot of vastly different ideologies, once again faces a crucial election, with democracy at stake. ‘Land of the free’ has always meant ‘freedom to discriminate without responsibility’, plaguing their nation and attracting violent extremism, prejudice, and distinct aversion to compromise. Once again, the world now gives half-attention to the conclusion of the four-year cycle of shambles, in the US election.
Given that they eagerly thrust their Empire into every crevice and corner of the globe, regardless of previous or current occupation by other parties, the impact of the US election undoubtably resonates worldwide. Uniquely for most political elections, 2020 has proven remarkable because there is, in fact, a correct answer. There is one candidate who, despite his flaws, should triumph, and one who’s regime should be vanquished into the annuls of history, a renewed reminder of the dangers of popularism. ‘Politics’ overwhelmingly refers not to broad governance, but instead probes into people’s private lives. Through the politicisation of personal identities, the phrase has morphed into a convenient platform to allocate questions of basic human rights as a topic for political debate, conducted exclusively by those already in power.
Control over your own body, the freedom to express who you are, the right for affordable shelter, and food, to live safely in a nation of your choosing. All swirl through the upper echelons of society as tools of oppression.
In the fourth year of his term, I would envy anyone still unfamiliar with Donald Trump, before quickly condemning their choice of habitation under a rock. The man is ludicrously, impossibly awful in every regard. Any opportunity to illustrate even the slightest attachment to reality has produced a bizarre parade of lunacy, encapsulated by his cultivated style of hot-heated, raving tangents. The manifestation of straight, white, male privilege in its purest form, Trump has been delivered his every desire with no effort or gratitude. Taking liberties with life, he accidently found himself in his country’s highest position of power, despite his entire career evidencing his inability to lead a successful operation.
It can be fun to laugh at Trump, especially when the stakes are low. This reason alone is a proven recipe for a successful reality star. His Twitter feed is a nonsensical stream of muddled consciousness, lamenting anyone and everything to sooth his fragile ego. He can’t hold a cup of water with one hand, or walk down a gentle ramp without that hand being held, is so terrified of intelligent women he can’t help but criticise their appearances, and required his campaign to air positive ads around his favourite shows, to reassure him he was a good boy.
However, this insecure, egotistical idiot does, unfortunately, have the potential to be dangerous.
Trump holds a position of actual power, the ramifications genuinely impacting the lives of his constituents. The list of his abuses and crimes is simply too long for concise recital. His legacy will be a tragedy for civil rights. It’s so disappointing that Black Lives Matter couldn’t gain the spontaneous traction it did this summer under Obama, or Biden, or any functioning human with a capacity for compassion. Or that a misogynistic sex pest now dwells in the White House, instead of America’s first and only female President, continuing 244 years without a woman in the role. That, under him, a manipulative rapist was appointed to the Supreme Court. That Pence has been given free reign to conduct his personal onslaught against progressive LGBTQ legislation. That transgender people cannot serve their country in the military.
But I mean, only losers and suckers would sign up for that job. Go, Veterans for Trump!
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Listen. America was given a referendum on basic human decency. And failed. The world should have awoken yesterday to see a 99% turnout of eligible adults against Donald Trump. Joe Biden has plenty of merits, he has his accompanying flaws as any candidate does. Certainly, he deserves all the votes he received, having dedicated his… Continue Reading →
Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, described his first election run as the ‘greatest political infomercial’, designed to enhance his personal status. Trump didn’t even want to win. Whilst President, his fundamental focus has exclusively revolved around re-election, to the extent he violated the Hatch Act and held an illegal campaign on the White House Lawn. Admittedly, as of two weeks ago, I’d never heard of the Hatch Act, and remain unfamiliar beyond the basic principle that Executive powers do not extend towards self-promotion for a political position. Which obviously makes sense. From ten seconds on Wikipedia, an exception appears to exist when the individual responsible is the acting President, or Vice. But, crucially, this is but one incident of Trump improperly comporting himself within office, unquestioningly endorsed by the GOP.
It additionally speaks not just to specific illegality, but a worrying trend in Trump’s tactics. Owing to his immense privilege, Trump’s has enjoyed a flexible relationship with the law. Abusing his position in pageant shows enabled him to embark upon a lengthy string of sexual assaults, with 26 different women now alleging sexual misconduct from various backgrounds. Presumably, since ‘grab ‘em by the pussy’ failed to register as mortifyingly disgusting in 2016, these ongoing cases will fail to dissuade proud feminists from voting for Trump. His career background being in scam businesses, and using his children to funnel money out of a children’s charity, Trump’s latest involvement has been a fake ‘Wall building’ scheme (yeah, limited reserves of sympathy for anyone who donated money for a physical wall to deter asylum seekers). Not, of course, to overlook the whole ‘Hydroxychloroquine’ peddling, alongside his bleach-drinking advice.
Robert Muller identified firm evidence Russia, colluding with the Trump campaign, meddled in the 2016 election, and that Trump obstructed justice during this investigation. What should really have been the beginning of the end was his impeachment: Trump, on the record, threatened the Ukrainian government by withholding military aid, in the hopes of obtaining political information on an opponent. But the GOP conspired to ensure a fair trial never followed the House impeachment. Under the slogan ‘Read the transcript’, Trump supporters ignored Trump’s blatant culpability immediately obvious in the transcript.
Openly courting, at times begging, China’s President Xi to interfere in 2020, Trump continues to flout proper democratic processes. Still nothing, I hope, will ever compare to his Attack on Lafayette Square. Forcefully removing peaceful protesters by use of violent, federal troops, including the eviction of an elderly priest from his church, all for a political photo shoot, so he could hold a bible upside-down. Recent revelations that ‘heat rays’ were developed in preparation, to be deployed by the US military against their own citizens, have compounded the horror.
Does he deserve a Nobel Peace Prize, for drawing Israel and the UAE closer together and opening official diplomatic links? Probably not. I can’t undermine this achievement and couldn’t accurately and justly speak to the historical complexities of the Middle East, and the vast importance of moving towards peace. The previously existing de facto relationship of understanding has now been consolidated between the two. Yet, it has not reconciled Israel and Palestine, the more significant issue. Equally, Trump’s nomination alone is certainly not the accomplishment he believes it – not only is a nomination relatively accessible, but he joins the friendly ranks of Stalin, Mussolini, Tito and Trujillo as nominees.
It’s concerning that Trump, supposed leader of democracy, spends his time befriending dictators and mimicking their behaviours. Some regard this as unstable genius. Certainly, no nuclear war erupted between Trump and now-pen-pal Kim Jong Un. Equally, Trump has been praised for not entering a war in Iran. The baseline for world leaders should not be ‘they preserved peace’. Here, an ape would have accomplished this goal more successfully, not taunting Iran with ‘fire and fury’ whilst in a period of national mourning.
This month’s events have been most enlightening. Following the sad passing of civil rights hero and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Trump and the GOP elected to hypocritically attempt to force their new nomination through the Senate. By the Supreme Court rules, a new Trump appointee would, for a lifetime, hold their position and abuse it to reverse any progressive legislation thus far enacted, like the anti-abortion (i.e. fanatic Christian anti-women) Amy Coney Barrett. This is despite GOP senators shamelessly retracting their stances from 2016. In the last year of his Presidency, it was unequivocally stressed Barack Obama could not appoint a new Supreme Court justice – the American people should be voiced by the upcoming election. Fair enough. Now, even as clips quoting Lindsay Graham remarking ‘I hope you’ll use these words against me’ percolate, they continue to advance their regime irrespective of legality or basic decency. These events merely compound the direction Trump’s campaign is moving.
The sanctity of America’s November election is under direct threat. Naturally, the COVID pandemic has raised concerns regarding in-person voting, the system of polling booths historically designed to discriminate against poorer neighbourhoods and people of colour. But Trump also feared mail-in ballots could somehow be manipulated to commit voter fraud. Which is strange, because the postal service is still often revered as the most secure communication method, and absentee voting happens, worldwide, almost every year without any whisper of safety concerns. So, as any well-meaning dictator would, Trump appointed a campaign donator to demolish the USPS, ask his supporters to commit voter fraud, and now use the controversy to criticise the upcoming election as already rigged. By the Democrats. When directly asked, Trump would not commit to a peaceful transfer of power, suggesting instead there would be not a transfer, but a continuation. In his mind, the election has already happened, the Democrats stole it from him, and he’s refused to leave. Part of why this Supreme Court is so important, is because he hopes swinging the balance towards Republicans will incline the Supreme Court to rule in favour of another term. Which would utterly secure the precedent of incumbent Presidents choosing the election result. Also Putin’s preferred method of Presidency.
Trump’s platform balances atop stilts of hypocrisy, corruption and scandal, carrying the hopes and dreams of every white supremacist GOP member. Arguably as dangerous as the lecherous men themselves, are what they represent.
As of writing, 27th September, Trump’s approval numbers are in the low 43%, according to site fivethreeeight, whilst polling at the same number against Biden’s 53%. Casting aside potential fluctuations in the next fifty days, Biden is a comfortable favourite.
But think about a 43% approval rating. It certainly isn’t great, especially against a disapproval rating of over 52%. But what it really means is that, even at his lowest point, Trump was never without the active support of at least a third of the country. One whole third endorsed him, through his impeachment, and ordering the brutal crushing of peaceful protesters by police violence. Despite the continued and palpably experienced COVID pandemic, compounded by the recent public admission Trump deliberately downplayed the danger, he has strangely maintained favour amongst some. Unfathomably, Trump is actually gaining amongst people of colour.
That is what popularism can achieve, however, and why it’s so concerning.
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To clarify, the short answer is: no-one. To date, no woman has officially served as President of the United States. In fact, Kamala Harris (featured) is making history, as the first female, first black, and first Asian American to be Vice-President. A momentous achievement, just 232 years since George Washington’s inauguration, and subsequent all-male successions…. Continue Reading →
How such a large swathe of the American population remains unwavering in their fervent support of Trump is exceptional. By appearances, these men, and inexplicably women, are not just stupid but proudly ignorant, frequently and gleefully boasting their lack of intelligence at mask-less rallies. Feasting upon his surges of misinformation like pigs drowning in shit, they absorb and recite extraordinarily far-fetched lies. And, furthermore, the conspiracies only keep getting weirder, basking in their own wilful deception. Undoubtably true for some, the reality worryingly lies deeper.
Clearly, there is a simmering body of disaffected voters, whose best interests are apparently served by Donald Trump. In both Britain and America, and across much of Europe, the new millennium has cemented a new wave of progressive thinking. Finally introducing actionable, legislative change, like the right to same sex marriages. Perhaps more importantly, there has also been a cultural shift, regarded with horror by some, and known colloquially as ‘political correctness’. A new, socially aware and compassionate generation has entered maturity, and decided it will no longer abide by antiquated inequality. This has been a largely superficial change since the de facto balance of power has yet to follow suit. It still proves the potential to disband out-dated ideals and systematic repression, which, naturally, is to the detriment of the current and privileged ruling class. Being a straight, white male is no longer a ticket to success.
Now, for the first time in history, there is a band of straight, white, middle-class voters threatened because of their identity.
So why not retreat into the warm and soothing arms of deranged but equally white-supremacist Donald Trump, who promises to keep the Mexicans and Muslims out, be tough on Russia and China, particularly in light of ‘China Flu’, and crush the rights of anyone with too much melanin. This group of extremists, violently revolting against change, have even resorted to domestic terrorism across America. Thankfully, this hatred and anger, though equally prevalent in the UK, has yet to combine with Trump’s cult-like efficiency (Farage’s racism was just too unlikeable to be mainstream). The token representatives of colour paraded by Trump to reassure his racist voters are just that – a blatant and weak distraction.
Donald Trump is a wannabe dictator, and hopefully the dying age of a straight white male ruling class. Most worryingly, however, he remains supported by a desperate, but large and powerful, bracket of supporters now willing to risk everything. For many of these people, ‘Make America Great Again’ is a genuine beacon of hope. White evangelicals have concocted a paranoid fantasy in which they are the oppressed in America, unironically suggesting they face more religious persecution than other denominations. This group, never having lost their historical power, refuse to yield even remotely to afford fellow humans their same rights, now leading racist protests.
Too often they hear the complaints of discrimination from others, hear of alternative and hidden struggles, and perceive some attack against themselves. Whilst the numbers of supporters may have slipped away from Trump, the enthusiasm of those who remain only increases exponentially.
If they could stop and take a breath. Utilise opportunities to listen and empathise when hearing of different struggles, instead of becoming gripped by insecurity, and invite compassion into their lives, the world would become a more open and interesting place. But so many refuse. They do so because they know, beneath the shallow façade, they are deeply bigoted. They know the facts, they see the criminal they support, and yet, because that reality doesn’t comfort them, they ignore it.
Racism is intoxicating. Just look at the raging pandemic, protests, ongoing police brutality, widespread unemployment, rampant social inequality, wildfires and science deniers, and a 43% APPROVAL RATING.
Thanks for reading! I post regularly with short stories, travel blogs, and contemporary commentary, so stayed tuned!
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