The memes. The tears. The world reaction. It’s clear that this election galvanised more people than ever before. The world watched with bated breath. The world was invested. And some of us are celebrating while some of us are still in shock. I sit here unable to shake this pervading sense of dread spreading through my body. This is real. This isn’t an episode of Black Mirror or The Simpsons (what a prediction, eh?).
Today marks the 27th year anniversary of the Berlin Wall being dismantled, brick by brick by citizens and officials alike, in what one journalist described as “the greatest street party in the history of the world.” Some crossed freely into West Berlin, while others brought hammers and picks and began to chip away at the wall itself, with cranes and bulldozers pulling down sections. A show of unity to topple an oppressive regime.
There’s no denying today is a devastating day. We have gone from America’s first black president to a candidate who is openly endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan and a former KKK Grand Wizard. A candidate underestimated and even laughed at for daring to believe he could become the next POTUS. A man who has said deplorable things against people of colour, women, the disabled, the LGBT community and often simply lied. His intentions to bring change are clear but not exactly well thought through. He seems to be all talk and now is when we find out if he can deliver. The fact that the make up of the Senate and the House is mostly Republican though means he may have far less checks and balances in place which is undeniably terrifying. Polls were unable to anticipate the large turnout of white, working-class voters in key states. We can’t deny the facts. We can’t deny what we have seen and heard. We can’t deny that somehow we have regressed and repeated the mistakes of our predecessors.
As Trump became the 45th president of the United States of America, having no military or government experience, stock markets plummeted, the dollar tanked (and both rebounded) and many discussed similarities to ‘Brexit’ and the continued distasteful rhetoric from Trump supporters.
BUT this isn’t the time to give up. This is the time to let hope rise. To understand that not everyone who voted Republican is bigoted or racist or sexist as the candidate they have chosen and his appalling campaign. Now is when we unite. Over half of America, that voted, didn’t vote for Trump. That’s nearly 65 million people. We all want change. We all see the hurting America limping around bleeding, claiming it’s just a flesh wound and that it’s fine.
We should be proud of the fact that we had our say, we voted, defying all the data crunchers. Now what will we do? This shouldn’t divide us. This isn’t the time to flee. It’s the time to stand. To show we have not reverted to the darker days of our collective pasts. To rejoice in the news that women of colour have been voted into Senate with Kamla Harris being only the second black woman.
I’m not American. I’m British and we are slowly but surely making the best out of our Brexit decision and only time will tell what that holds for us too. So this is my letter to you that you need to keep going, to not let despair wash over you, to understand that it’s not all over. This is only the beginning. This could be the start of some exciting change. The people have spoken.
“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” Voltaire
Now what? I hope for our sake that in this instance Voltaire is wrong. Maybe the call to make America great again won’t be such a scary statement anymore.
For now, I’ll leave you with the best responses on Twitter, both sad and funny, including celebrities. I especially enjoyed the hashtag #MeanwhileInCanada.
What do you think of the election result? Your turn on the soapbox in 3, 2, 1.