Yesterday, as I drove home from work, I listened on the radio as Donald J Trump was sworn in as the 45th US president, and then went on to give his inaugural speech. And damn, he’s got good speech writers, because it wasn’t entirely offensive. And had I been American, less educated, more right-wing, and more stupid, I might have just bought it. However, because I’m not American, possess a post-graduate degree, vote left and am not stupid, I didn’t buy it for a second.
For starters, this man dared to mention god during his speech. Honestly? Who, hand on heart, believes he is a practising church-goer? Looking at the things he has said and done, on the campaign trail alone, this isn’t a man who loves his neighbour, or who openly practises any of the fundamental teachings of any religion. Those far-right bible-belt evangelicals may have been thrilled, but to everyone else it sounded moronic. This is a man who is more atheist than I am.
Yesterday afternoon, as I listened to America step into the abyss… It’s like watching a young child, or dopey teenager do something intensely stupid and damaging… And you can only watch in bemusement. America, as a nation, is so far removed from their own positive perceptions of themselves, that it’s laughable. Civil rights, gun legislation, immigration, health care, LGBTQ rights… They are so far removed from “equality, freedom and justice for all” that I don’t know how they dare to call themselves civilised.
However, maybe there is hope for them. As a member myself of the first generation that grew up online, we have a perception of the wider world, and took it upon ourselves to understand and try to appreciate those people who are not exactly like us. And as I got older, I grew to know a significant number of American women. None of whom voted for Trump. They represent the best of America. They are wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, teachers, scientists, nurses, designers and entrepreneurs. And if these women are opposed to Trump, when they are the best of the best, the rest of us must understand, and support them in their view, that this man is not a person equipped or to be entrusted with the most powerful job in the world. This is a man who is a proven bigot, sexual predator and compulsive liar. He is a man who appears to embrace and take pleasure in his own ignorance, bigotry and misogyny.
I completely fail to see what this man has to offer the world beyond fear and separation. Trump supporters laughed it off as “just talk”, and that he would mellow into something more moderate. This has yet to be seen. Indeed, before the inaugural speech was even over, climate change and civil rights were removed from the White House website. He moves fast. Honestly, he has no reason to moderate. He won the most powerful job on Earth, just as he is. His views have already received the validation they needed. Why change what has worked? This is a man who has zero experience of politics or the military, yet now has a nuclear arsenal to play with. How is that possibly seen as right or reasonable?
And who is to blame for this mess? The answer is, I think, everyone and no one. And who really cares about blame now? The most powerful country on earth have voluntarily elected their most dangerous leader to date. Someone right out of the history pages of the early 20th century. This is the man who said “I love war”. A man with zero experience, zero sense and zero capacity to lead with integrity.
Good luck America. Good luck World.