Our first opinion piece in response to the election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States of America.
The country has come to a standstill. What no one around me believed possible is reality. He won. Hours of nerve-wracking uncertainty and frantic calculations fade away into hazy stares of disbelief and consternation. Anger, cynicism, self-doubt and predominantly horror take over. Hope and unity have lost. The scars run deep.
America is plunging into historically unprecedented territory. The populace has decided that after 150 years of relative civil peace under a stable bipartisan elite it is time for an overthrow. The system is so broken that trust in authorities and the institutions of the state has sunk to a record low. Society is polarized and strife is inexorably on the horizon. Aggression and provocation are now imposed from the top. This is a new era in world politics: the rule of illiberal demagogues. Its rise has endless roots, first and foremost the failure of globalization itself. In America, however, the problem is worse. It goes deeper. It bears witness to a society that is deeply entrenched in conflicts which if unresolved can darken the horizon for all seven billion of us.
“It is the last cry of a dying class of rulers who controlled the past few centuries but have surpassed their zenith.”
First of all, America has always been a country of immigration. Innovators and free thinkers fleeing repression and war built this country and every day contribute to its status at the top of the world economic order. This concept is under attack. Whether or not the United States were designed as a white-man’s land does not matter; it is not now! There is a demographic shift ending white majorities in the nation. Accepting this is hard for this previously secure group who by virtue of their race and nationality and a certain amount of hard work could achieve a standard of life unchallenged in most parts of the globe. This ideal is changing through pressures from formerly repressed minorities in the country and by globalization and the uplifting of large swaths of middle classes in developing nations. The new president stands for the death-breath of white male supremacy in the world. It is the last cry of a dying class of rulers who controlled the past few centuries but have surpassed their zenith. But will they go peacefully?
Their way to stop the trend is to build a wall stopping ‘rapists’. This approach is ludicrous. Building walls is as effective as restrictive drug policies: as prohibition did in the past, it encourages illegality. Just like the walls in Berlin and Palestine, this one will be a monument to institutional doom and repression earning America more rejection in the world. It will lead to deaths. It will lead to misery. Most of all, it will not solve the problems of immigration and crime. They have much deeper roots than the nation’s favorite demagogue tells people. The failed war on drugs directly creates the crime and outrageous poverty in Central America that drive immigration. It is also a tool for persisting discrimination against black people in its third reincarnation: Post-slavery, post-Jim Crow, it is now the Prison-Industrial Complex, racist policing and drug legislation repressing and killing African Americans even as one of their own sits out his second term as President.
“The Prison-Industrial Complex”
Great Again? It never existed. White America has certainly seen better days at the expense of all other groups in society. Yet it is today’s America that allows abortion and same-sex marriage, that provides opportunities for more female, black, Latino and disabled children than any before. From January 20, we will move away again from equality and freedoms, daily reminded by the misogynist, xenophobic and hateful bigot ripping the nation apart from the top. We will see sectarianism and political polarization driven to the extremes as he curbs his way around the judicial and legislative bastions of the republic. This is the dystopia we shall come to expect.
Worst of all, this businessman is racing towards the destruction of America’s central prowess securing its importance in the world: competitive advantage in a free trade system. When you know you are the best and you convince the rest of the actors to contend on an even playing field, then what do you have to lose? When you eliminate this playing field, you step into a minefield of trade wars and barriers that the authoritarian power players of this world know better than the profit-driven kings of capitalism in Wall Street and Silicon Valley. Isolation and cooperation with strongmen is not this country’s creed. Could it be its downfall?
November 8, 2016 marks a victory for an America of hate. Hate is the only ideology the millions of perceived losers of globalization, modernization and equality can cling on to. Hate makes them feel stronger again. This America is built on the premises of difference and conflict. It celebrates an anachronistic amendment that manifests a dysfunctional constitution. It denies global warming because it is blended by the heat of its own irrational radicalization. It shuns free media and science to glorify propagandistic ‘balances’ that trample on fundamental values of progressive society. Finally, it has elevated showmasters to power to put reality into their right image.
Organisms are powerful in their final moments before death. White power’s last breath is long and full of hate. It must not poison the world around it.
Even when it is blowing straight in your face, do not hesitate. Take a step forward. Face the problem. Tackle it. Remove its source and the breeze of destruction will cease. There is a broad coalition of proud Americans who will unrelentingly fight for their rights and futures. Join them. Build a movement. Hate is in the halls of power. Spread compassion and resilience in the community centers, churches and parks, the cafes, schools and offices, and most importantly in the hearts of this nation’s great people. Build a plurality for reason and love. Show the dark shadows of today that tomorrow is full of color and joy. Fight for this and keep it enshrined in your conscience. This is not a downfall; it is a stepping stone. The beautiful America needs to get back up on its feet quickly and lose the strings of disunity holding it back. It must take a decisive step to brush hate aside and find the right path again. I believe in it.