US president-elect Donald Trump
So what just happened?
David Wall, ‘sheet reader and “31 year old who is disappointed and concerned”, writes:
How did it happen? I’m shocked. I’m appalled. How could they be so stupid? How can we be so blind?
It’s us. We are complicit in the whole thing. We’ve stopped caring. Our concern is not for those at the bottom of society. Our concern is not for the ill or the elderly or the disadvantaged. No, society is about being top-dog.
Those at the bottom are left to rot, forgotten and marginalised. We could point fingers at who is to blame but what will that achieve? Nothing. Creating blame is an irrelevance, a distraction. Potentially we could argue the real answer is everyone is responsible and, in that contradictory way, this means nobody.
Currently, the public service is falling apart: guards, teachers, nurses, doctors, the members of SIPTU all looking for their share of the pot. Aggrieved at years of austerity and being told that the recovery is happening without actually partaking in the spoils of recovery they are buckling under the strain of society.
The private sector, in turn, glares at the public sector with disgust and disdain.
Men and women trying to hold their own and make ends meet being almost pitted against each other. Against this, a backdrop of homelessness, suicide, depression and anger. Of course people gravitate towards men like Donald Trump.
It’s happened over and over in history, yet somehow we are shocked and appalled. It’s happened in living memory and I don’t think there is any reason to start listing names.
Possibly the most galling aspect of this is the pseudo-disgust at Donald Trump and his supporters. How can we be so arrogant as to create this world and be shocked when people are forced to support the likes of Nigel Farage, Donald Trump and populist right wing demagogues?
We cocoon ourselves in bread and circuses. This isn’t a new trick, the Romans had worked it out by 100AD. Rather than watching gladiators we build life hopes and dreams around the Kardashians, we watch comfortable fuzzy reruns of Friends and Gogglebox, we lose the run of ourselves over sport.
We are averse to bad news and, as such, cannot bring ourselves to empathise with others. As long as our lot is ok others are an irrelevance. We create the other to justify how we treat those humans who don’t fit our safe, compartmentalised world.
We have voices like Katie Hopkins reinforcing that hate is good and foreigners/fat people/ refugees, etc, are bad and to be hated. We have been conditioned to look down on each other, conditioned to despise each other, conditioned to stomp on those who are most in need.
The cuts to public services here, in the UK, and further across Europe, have had a disproportionate impact on people, real people, who are deemed at the periphery of society.
The drive for profit and cost-cutting again disproportionately hammers the weakest. And yet we have the arrogance to attack people who have been forced to look for any avenue of escape.
The likes of Trump and Farage are an extension of what’s gone before and extension of our complicity in the world we now inhabit.
By, once again, blaming the “other”, we are condemning ourselves to legitimising the Farages, Trumps and the le Pens and further damning the ones who are most in need.
Donald Trump is not a reaction. He is the product of a cultural shift which can be seen the whole way across Australia, America and Europe. To counter this, we need to stop looking for others to blame and begin to take responsibility.