Of all the phrases I'd like to see banned right now, I think "Who cares? It's only politics" probably tops my list. Yes, beating out such topical contenders as "abstract noun means abstract noun" and "Make America Great America Again". Because it's a phrase that's used to shut down conversation, minimalise your concerns and move back to sharing cat memes. Politics is all about picking the red team or the blue team (and the way the teams fall can cause quite some transatlantic confusion) and then you're sad when they don't win. That's politics, right? You feel sad but you get over it and you move on.
But this year has not just been about politics. It's been about history. Either way the US election went, it was going to be historical. It could have been historical in a glass-ceiling-busting way but it wasn't. Still, we will look back on 2016 as a monumental year of change.
Making history is not necessarily a good thing. History tends to highlight the bad things that happen and the years of peace in between get passed over pretty quickly. Do you know what happened in Germany in 1925? Probably not. It was between the two world wars, the Weimar government was relatively stable, there was prosperity. It wasn't a monumental year. But do you know what happened in Germany in 1933? I bet you do.
Goodwin's Law is another thing I'd like to outlaw from the internet. Yes, comparisons to Nazi Germany are overdone but sometimes they are apt. This is not "Waltham Forest have installed some speedbumps and I don't like them. It's like Nazi Germany round here." It's more "America have just voted in an extreme right-wing candidate whose rallies were violent and full of hate-speak. It's like Nazi Germany over there". See the difference? It's sometimes OK to invoke historical comparisons when we are in a time of change like we are now. I've seen Russia being compared to 1930s Germany (as opposed to 1930s.....errr...Russia?) and America as the Neville Chamberlain character that appeases the potential threat. I'm pretty sure the second part is wrong but it raises an interesting question - if Russia is rising as a dangerous world power, should we be with Putin or against him?
Well, considering the humans rights violations Putin's overseen, I think I know where I stand. I mean, I wouldn't be first in line to piss him off but neither would I be buddying up to him like Trump is. I'm not sure which endorsement is more shameful - Trump's of Putin or Putin's of Trump, but the whole thing makes me feel a bit like I'm going backwards on the DLR down the big slope into Bank. My stomach is lurching. The promise of an alliance between Trump's America and Putin's Russia is terrifying but even more terrifying is the prospect of what happens when those two Alpha Males fall out. Because that always happens when you get two headstrong male pals - eventually they will fall out and the literal fallout of that could potentially be devastating.
While we're on devastating effects, I'm alarmed by the stories already coming out of America - daily I'm hearing of homophobic and racist insults being thrown in the street and supermarket. Of gay and interracial couples being abused for daring to display their perfectly legal and legitimate love. Their stories aren't mine to tell but it's deeply disturbing. Trump's America is already a worse place to live, and he isn't even President yet.
I'm far from sorted when it comes to my thoughts about this whole political situation - my brain starts to shut down when I think too much about the coming apocalypse - but one thing is clear to me. We're on the edge of something monumental. And like that rollercoaster into Bank, it may well leave you feeling nauseous...