Saturday, 19 November 2016

We Need To Talk About Donald...

He's a baby.  You know, just in case this image was too subtle.

I feel like 2016 is trolling us.  First, it took Bowie, plus a whole heap of other awesome celebrities (seriously, next year's "in memorium" section at the BAFTAs is going to be about an hour long...).  Then, a Brexit campaign fought using a combination of racist rhetoric, scare-mongering and outright lies (hey, Mr Farage?  How about that £350million for the NHS, now that we're leaving the EU?!) actually won - albeit with a minority so small that, had the result gone the other way, you can bet your backside that Farage and co would be screaming from the rooftops about how unfair it was.  And now, we have an orange, weird haired, misogynistic bigot on his way to the White House.  If it wasn't for the fact that he's dead, I'd be convinced that Jeremy Beadle was about to pop out and tell us that this is all just some hilarious prank that the whole world somehow fell for.

Beadle's About.  He has to be about, right?!

The thing is, if I really force myself to imagine being in the shoes of a Leave voter, I can attempt to work out one or two supposedly sensible reasons for wanting Brexit, beyond mere racism and intolerance.  I don't agree with any of the reasons given for voting Leave, but I can just about understand where people are coming from, even if I will never share their views.  Trying to understand why other people think and feel the way they do is a pretty natural thing for most of us to want to do, because it can help foster better relations on both sides.  

But even if I try really, really hard to abandon all common sense for a while and get into the mindset of someone so fed up with the status quo that they feel that something radical must be done, even if that something means that a total wreck of a human being with all the moral integrity of a genital wart is put in a position of enormous power, I can't understand anyone voting Donald Trump into office.

Regardless of how frustrated you are with the way things are going in your county, it is never okay to decide that only the worst kind of human can fix it.  There is literally no excuse in this day and age (not that there ever truly was) for blatant racism, outright misogyny, homophobia or mocking of the disabled.  And yet these were all facets of Donald Trump's campaign, either from him directly, or as a result of his choice of running-mate, Mike Pence (the kind of charming guy who believes in electro-shock therapy to "cure" gay people).

He looks mad.  He probably has blood coming out of his... wherever.  Or something.

Now, we find ourselves watching in dismay, as Trump picks yet more racists for his cabinet team. In the past couple of days, Neo-Nazi webzine Daily Stormer, referred to Trump's cabinet as being "like Christmas" for those with racist beliefs.  Trump himself was gleefully cheered on by members of the KKK.  This is not a case of the liberals whinging that a crazy guy wants to build a bloody great wall to keep all the Mexican "rapists" out.  This is now actually happening: a man with openly bigoted views is assembling a cabinet of racists.  

His pick for Attorney General is Jeff Sessions, a man who was rejected as a Federal Judge in the 1980s, because of several racist comments he'd made.

His pick for National Security Adviser is Michael Flynn, a man who was unable to say, when pressed, that he outright disagreed with Trump's openness to reinstating extreme interrogation practises, such as waterboarding, nor would he outright deny that he agreed with Trump's threat to kill the entire families of suspected terrorists.

Mike Pompeo is Trump's choice for the chief of the CIA.  This is a man who voted against renewing the Violence Against Women Act, is a hardline anti-abortion campaigner and a lifelong member of the NRA.  He too, has also come under fire for racist comments.  Anyone else seeing a theme developing...?!

And of course, Steve Bannon, who has been handed the role of Trump's Chief Strategist, is the man Neo-Nazis and White Nationalists are cheering about, seemingly loudest of all.

Here's the thing:  It doesn't take much to realise that when the KKK and other such openly racist groups are applauding your new President and his cabinet, you don't cheer with them, unless you are also openly racist.  You've got to have been bashed over the head with the stupid stick if you can't see that connection.

The trouble is, even if not everyone who voted for Trump is a racist, there is a noisy group who very much are.  And those people believed that their grotesque, backwards views had been given legitimacy by his victory (much like the Leave voters here in the UK who did vote out of racist views).  Those same people are watching Trump fill his cabinet with fellow racists and are now, as the Neo-Nazi webzine mentioned earlier put it, feeling like it's Christmas.  If you are a Trump supporter and you're reading this and you are not racist in any way, I've just got to ask: can you not see this connection??!!  Can you really not see how Trump and his fellow cabinet members are giving racists a perceived golden ticket to air their views wherever they like, and to believe that they are now the majority?!  Is this the change you wanted?!

The trouble is, take away all the racism, homophobia and misogyny and what are you left with?  A spoilt, attention-seeking little brat whose moral compass has gone seriously awry.

Seriously, when we're talking about Donald Trump, when you cut away the "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN" rhetoric, you'll find a guy who lies and lies and lies.  He's a man-child, so emotionally stunted that he cannot accept a single word of criticism, however legitimate.  He will find any excuse to paint himself and those around him as victims, in order to whip up more hate.  This is a man whose victory speech was clearly penned by someone else, in order to have him on record saying that he will heal the divisions across the nation.  Yet, just days later, Trump was back on Twitter, insulting publications that failed to back him, by wrongly insinuating that they are failing.

When Mike Pence attended a performance of Hamilton on Broadway, the cast made an eloquent, heartfelt plea at the end of the performance, for Pence and the rest of the government to act on behalf of all citizens, regardless of ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender.  There was no mud-slinging, no swearing or harsh words.  It was an honest admission that many are afraid of what lies ahead.  It was a request for every American citizen to be considered equal.  There is video footage and a transcript readily available.  And yet Trump's response was to take to Twitter and lie, saying that Pence was "harrassed" and that an apology was due.  This, from the man who insinuated that he would support Hillary Clinton being shot, if she won the election.  This, from the man who claimed that he could sexually assault women and get away with it.  This, from the man who, at one electoral rally, openly mocked a disabled member of his audience.

The ACTUAL President of the ACTUAL United States.  I can't.

People - many of whom are Trump supporters - are insisting that we need to give this guy a chance.  We have to see what he actually does in office, before we judge him.  


This is a man whose entire campaign was built on hating his opponent, making Islamophobic and racist remarks, belittling women and mocking the disabled.  We judge people on what they put out into the world and what Trump put out in his entire Presidential campaign was enough to make many people genuinely fearful of what his time in office would mean for them and for the wider world.  He is now the President-Elect and he is still lying and spitting out his dummy on his Twitter account.  He is hiring a cabinet made up of men who've made headlines for their racist views.  He is doing nothing to calm the fears of those who are most at risk from him being given power.  He's said very little against the racial attacks carried out in his name.  He has not made any effort to unify his divided nation.

I may be just one, very small blogger in the UK.  But I am very serious when I say, we need to talk about Donald.  Because there is a real risk that something dreadful could happen - not only to America, but the world - if we stay silent.

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