Right. I’ve been wanting to have a word for a while, but I resisted because I believed it was none of my business, not being a US citizen and all. But now I feel I have to say something, even if it’s just to retain the nanometre of sanity I have left regarding politics. Specifically, your politics.
Like most of the world, I’ve been an eager viewer of the ever-engaging race for the Presidential election. And like most of the world, my reaction has wavered from amusement, to slight disbelief, to absolute shock, and now, if I’m honest, real fear. It pains me to admit this, because, as you may have guessed, I’m referring to the fact that a loud-mouthed orange with legs has reached the final of what has been a tumultuous competiton: five prizes for who this is. Dastardly Donald himself. The Trump. The Guy Who Has A Shedload of [debatedly undeserved] Money But Can’t Be Bothered to Buy a Decent Wig. And who wants to admit they’re scared of him?
So, this suggests: perhaps it’s not him we’re scared of. Maybe, instead, it’s the ideas he represents, the ugly sentiments he’s reawoken. Seemingly, the many progresses America has made in recent years regarding integration, economic stability, and basic human rights, are teetering on the edge of being overruled. All those policies, scratched out. All that work for a better future, eliminated. Yet people still want to vote for him. And in a way, I don’t blame them. Not because I think they’re voting for the right thing, but because of how they’ve come to vote for it. The indoctrination, for one thing.
Beguiling promises and ideas of a ‘greater America’: all too tempting for anyone who may have become disenchanted with recent politics.
But why? Sometimes I wonder whether there’s only a mainstream interest in politics when something is going wrong. Perhaps that’s why Obama isn’t widely popular anymore. Because he actually deigned to do good things. It may seem weird to those of you caught in the US bubble, but I’d like you to know that this man is very well loved around the world. For revising the image of America: making it a more inclusive, progressive and welcoming place for people from any gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or background. Note the recent legality of same-sex marriage across the country. An amazing step, that that joke of a ‘politician’ wants to overturn. Think how many people fought for that bill, in hard graft, amazing actions, incredible words. What a total lack of respect for these people, and for anyone else in the world who sees that there’s nothing wrong with wanting to legally join with the one you love. Obama did pretty amazing things for your health system too. These are only two examples; I could go on, but this isn’t what today’s post is about. Unfortunately.
I’d like to provide you with a little factfile/reality check about dear Donald (sarcasm), some snippets of what I’ve learned in my months of observation:
- He’s not entirely a self-made man: this may come as a bit of a shock to some, but he’s not in fact as entrepreneurial as we all thought, having benefitted from a ‘starting fund’ of $1 million from his father. I found this particularly interesting, as, in my post A-level (that’s the last year of high school for those wondering from across the pond) mindset, having just studied The Great Gatsby, I began thinking that perhaps Trump’s appeal came from representing that age-old desire of prosperity: the American Dream. Thus this little fact made his other lies taste that bit more sour. It’s a sad truth that money can come in very useful when you suddenly want to enter into American politics. I’ll leave that thought there with you for you to make your own conclusions… (as I’ve stated, I’m merely an innocent observer, of course) [Following debate on 26/09: Hillary makes a good point when she asks where in the world his tax returns are?- probably in the land of tax evasion’s capital city]
- An interview with him in People magazine of 1998 read thus: “If I were to run, I’d run as a Republican. They’re the dumbest group of voters in the country… I could lie and they’d still eat it up. I bet my numbers would be terrific”. Need I say more, apart from that this is an absolute insult to the intelligence and integrity of all those loyally voting for him. Not exactly a candidate ‘representing the needs of the people’!
- Despite what he may say, he did mean all those things he said: by ‘things’, I’m sure you’re aware of what I mean. Perhaps you recall a little whisper about building a wall between the USA and Mexico, or suggestions that all Muslims are terrorists. Perhaps you’ve seen footage of him being disgustingly misogynistic. He said all these awful things to shock, of course, but why should that mean there’s not genuine intent and feeling behind them? (and yes, I wholeheartedly believe there is) Once he’s got a captive audience, he can say almost anything he wants to. And he’s spent years in the public eye, understanding the ways of the media. He’ll be fully aware of how exactly to manipulate people, and of how to make frankly fascist, homophobic, sexist, racist; various other assorted -ist ‘statements’ seem wise, strong ideas which can provide a foundation for a ‘better America’. Or, in reality, an America drowning in a sea of his own twisted, money-driven creation. As I said, just to be frank.
- I could go on, but I don’t think he’s worth that much typing.
Now, I feel the time has come to address his rival: Mrs Clinton herself. Over the past year, I’ve heard an increasingly loud, resigned groan about her, manifesting in the words “she’s just as bad!” or “I suppose it’s a case of the lesser of two evils”. I concede, no politician is perfect. But to compare her to him with regard to the subject of evils is a bit of a long shot: I reckon we can all allow him to win that particular race.
A Hillary Clinton factfile, by comparison, would include, for example:
- She’s experienced: she’s witnessed first-hand the work that goes into being President both as First Lady to her husband Bill, and as Secretary of State for four years. I’d say on a scale of 1 to good work experience, it’s much better than a career Google summarises as a ‘businessman’ (hmpf) and a ‘television personality’ (oh good, at least he’s entertaining)…
- She’s interested in a female-friendly future: think this speaks for itself. As a female, I’d rather grow up in a world in which our only remaining Superpower cares for the needs of more than half of the world’s population (yep, 52% – we do matter.) Hillary herself has been a victim of ‘casual’ sexism in the race for Presidency; she’s been viewed as ‘bossy’ and ‘shrill’ throughout her career, emphasised by both fellow politicians and the media, simply because of the long-held fact that that can be the only explanation for a successful woman. Yet, funnily enough, do we ever hear the same of men at the top of their profession? I also imagine that the recent scare with her health, which, by the way, I wish the media would calm down about and let her recover in peace, has been exacerbated by the fact that, as a woman, her body will be seen as being just as important as her political standing, if not more in some cases. I just hope she recovers quickly, and that you as voters don’t waver because of it: if anything, it shows she’s been working non-stop to ensure the country she loves will be in good hands. Anyway, Mrs Clinton has always supported the political, economic and social equality of the sexes, which is more than we can say for someone who seemingly doesn’t recognise the humanity of women. Plus, Hillary doesn’t stop there: she’s openly pledged that she’ll always support integration and stand against any unwelcome -isms. Again, that’s more than we can say for Trump.
- The world would, in short, be safer in her hands: I think I can vouch for the rest of the citizens of the world when I say I’d feel much more secure with her in charge – remember, among other things, the President controls the ‘nuclear button’.
So, ‘make America great again’. What a catchy slogan, eh? Michelle Obama responded to this in a speech a few months ago, asking if she was the only one who thought America already was great. A sentiment I echoed in my past blog post about Brexit. Talking of that particular political tragedy, now, that was something nobody thought would happen. Who would have thought the UK would leave the EU, yet we did. Who would have thought Donald Trump would be in the last two running for President, yet he is. The unbelievable can happen, which is why I’m urging anyone with sense to go out there and vote. It’s so, so important. Because that old phrase is true: when America sneezes, the whole world catches a cold. Please realise what enormous responsibility you hold when voting. It may seem like a scratch on a piece of paper, but it means so much more than that. If you’re not sure what being a President entails (besides the obvious public bit, I’m talking about the relentless toil behind the scenes), then read up on it. You’ll soon realise that one of the candidates is completely unqualified and utterly unfit for the job, and it’s certainly not Hillary Clinton.
A British student, hoping you’ll make the right decision for all of our futures.
For anyone interested, here’s an excellent Brexit-Trump comparison made by esteemed American writer and writer-teacher Chuck Wendig:
Featured image by ItalianInBoston on universalhub.com, all credits go to them