Here we are, Wednesday 9th November. Donald Trump has been elected President of the United States. I cannot even believe I’m typing these words.
There is this bitter taste of deja-vu, a similar feeling than on 24th June when we woke up to the news 52% of the people who had bothered voting wanted the UK to leave the EU.
Of course we should have seen it coming; the Brexit results totally opened the way to make populist opinions openly acceptable. Of course we should not have given any credibility to the latest polls, which use within their methodologies past voting patterns. As if these elections could be in any way comparable to previous ones! Of course we should have remembered that history is a cycle and there had been many worrying signs racism and intolerance were on the rise again.
Tonight I am angry.
I am angry with politicians who are cynically using populist topics to get into power, making sexism, racism, anti Semitism etc. acceptable. They have destroyed the social varnish, the “surmoi” which helped contain as much as possible some of the unpleasantness of the human kind under cover, just to satisfy personal ambitions. Their responsibilities will I hope not get forgotten in the mess that will for sure follow.
I am angry with politicians in power, from all sides, who have over the past 30 years let things come to that way, slowly letting the hideous face of populism appear in the distance. They’ve been taking for granted how people would vote – the wealthy on that side, the poor on that one, same rule for each election. They’ve left inequalities and resentment rise, because it was easier to look away and carry on, and assume electors are like sheep, they will always follow the path that has been set for them. Their arrogance and contempt for people has led to the situation today; they have a lot to answer for.
I am angry with the media, which play a similar dangerous game to drive their sales up, bringing down the level of the debate, manipulating naïve people. Manipulating facts, using blatant lies and hiding behind the right for free speech are tactics that have been used by the most vile titles and channels across so many countries. The best way to sabotage their negative influence remains to touch them where it hurts: money. We should not buy these media, and push advertisers to take a moral stance and refuse to associate their brands with them.
I am angry with people like me, who laughed at these dangerous politicians without appreciating the real danger. We should have been thinking about how to convince back their supporters; we should have tried to understand what has driven them to see in these awful people the leaders they believe in. Showing contempt towards them will no help bringing people back together. Telling someone their decision was stupid therefore they’re stupid is not going to get them to change their mind and agree with us. We should have known better, all of us.
Tonight I am scared.
I’m scared for women and young girls; are we going backwards when it comes to women rights? When we still have so much work to do, in the workplace and in the political world?
I’m scared for the new generations. What message are we giving to children, in the US and across the world? The baddies always win? Misbehave and you’ll end up at the top?
I’m scared for our world as we know it. Our, in so many ways, far from perfect world, but a world where a lot of us have been lucky enough to only know peace in our lifetime.
I’m scared for our planet, which is under so much pressure. I cannot believe the most powerful man on Earth is a guy who thinks climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese. Seriously? It’s so grotesque it sounds like it’s from a random character in the Simpsons!
There is hope though. Clinton won the popular vote in the US. The Brexit vote represents only 26% of the UK population. Le Front National in France only got 15% of votes – it means 85% of the French electors did not vote for them. There are a lot of people out there, or should I say most people out there are not following in the steps of basic populism. All these elections are as many earthquakes which can wake us up and push people who want to fight for freedom, decency, progress, to be heard and louder. There is still hope, because we’re still the majority.