I do not pretend to be a political expert and can't predict how Clinton would have fared as president.
Maybe the millions who voted for Trump know something that those of us who are shocked at the US election result don't. Maybe I'm a bleeding heart Liberal. What I do know is that I have some sense of a moral compass and an ability to distinguish right from just downright wrong. I have written this not as a political pundit, not as a grandstander who loves the sound of her own voice. But as a mother and a global citizen. Some of the most intelligent, cultured, rational, kind, open-minded people I know are American. It takes all sorts, especially in a country as vast as the USA. I realise this. Nevertheless, this is my take on the US election 2016.
I set foot on American soil for the first time aged 21, with a huge rucksack on my back and an ecstatic smile on my face.
I'll never forget almost falling out of the airport shuttle bus with excitement upon my first sighting of the Empire State Building. My heart just leapt. New York, one of the symbols of the American Dream, the city of a thousand TV series and films, was finally in front of me. I spent two months working on a summer camp near Great Barrington, MA, before Greyhounding it around the USA, from East to West back to East coast; the best memories.
I returned to the UK two stone heavier with a shortlived American drawl and an addiction to Mexican food and American pancakes.
A love affair with the USA had begun; I really did think it was the best at everything. There were frustrations too at such things as the lack of wordliness of most Americans I met and the belief that their country was the centre of the universe; trying to explain that Liverpool was not in London, what curry was and that it's possible to have a 'British' accent despite having brown skin, was tedious. But I was young and forgiving. The years rolled by. Many dreams of living there, several wonderful holidays to the States - including an incredible honeymoon - later, my husband and I applied to move stateside with our young family. We were denied the visa. Twice. This was despite having a very strong application and an excellent sponsor. I cannot deny, that for various reasons, I was relieved. I had decided, for so many reasons (how long have you got?) that it just isn't a country where I would feel comfortable raising my children. The love affair had ended.
The morning the US election 2016 results were announced, I walked into my neighbourhood café, stared open-mouthed at the TV screen
and genuinely considered asking the barista to slip some whiskey in my cappuccino to take the edge off my horror. (Note, I hate whiskey.) The café was packed, the staff immobile watching the news aghast. My friend arrived: "I thought of you as soon as I heard the news and I thought Prabs must be so happy they never got the visa to move to there" she said, followed by "this is Brexit supersized". Well it's the USA. Everything is supersized. [Ponders whether to elaborate on this...]
We finished coffee, I headed off on household errands and a while later, sat down to write something about this fateful day.
Frankly I stared at my screen paralysed, unable to process what had happened.
The line 'I don't know how to explain this to my kids' was never more true. When your 12 year-old daughter asks "But Mummy why would women vote for a person who has zero respect for females or anyone?"...actually I can't finish that sentence.
What came to mind was a letter I would address to Trump's supporters:
So America you have voted.
The nation that has forever believed itself to be the biggest and the best, the land of dreams where anything is possible, you have put a loose canon in the Oval Office (well at least you proved that anything is in fact possible). A belligerent man - who ran his entire campaign on childish outbursts, insult hurling and a whole heap of outlandish straw-clutching - has brought a whole new meaning to the iconic stars and stripes, flying the flag for ignorance, chauvinism, hatred and division etc..
In voting to Make America 'great again', you have actually made America an utter laughing stock.
Except what has happened is no laughing matter; it is in fact utterly terrifying, an example of totally incomprehensible democracy. More American Horror Story than American Dream, one could say.
You, the country that filled us with hope in electing its first black president, have done a total u-turn
handing the most important of jobs to a fake-tanned, homophobic, sexually predatory tax evading narcissist. I can't help thinking of the TV series title. I guess Orange is the New Black now... This isn't entertainment, though. This is real.
You have declared to the world that it is perfectly acceptable to have someone with questionable intelligence and zero sensitivity run your country as long as they are not a woman.
It would seem a woman, regarding whom the only wrongdoing that could be unearthed was an email scandal that turned out to be no scandal, is not to be trusted...whilst it is clear that a man, with an exhausting record of blacklistable offences, is the perfect contender for President of the United States of America.
Let's not pretend that the female sex of the loser was not a very real issue here. You see America, it's no longer a mere glass ceiling. It's a gigantic concrete one, painted an ominous black for all the world to see.
You have decided it is safe to give the enormous responsibility of the role of Commander in Chief to an unpredictable toddler who masquerades as an adult.
Just think about that America. A man who is incapable of controlling his words and behaviour - whether it's his urge to grab a woman by the vagina or insult a terminally ill supporter - will have his finger on the button! Not a woman's blouse button...well alright there'll probably be some of that because he thinks that the sexual harassment of women is a sport and a man's birthright...but no I mean THE BIG RED BUTTON.
You have shown to your own flesh and blood that you place no value on the existence or future of females
or else why would you have put a contempt-filled misogynist, accused of repeated sexual assault, in such a position of power? Female Trumpettes...you stagger me!
You have chosen to believe that a self-aggrandising bully has your best interests at heart.
You have entrusted the overseeing of financial policies for the restoration of your retirement pensions and the rehabilitation of the American dollar to a man who has boasted about tax evasion, lost a billion dollars and is notorious for shafting his own employees.
You apparently see no wrong in putting at the same table as Heads of State, a raging racist.
Oh the mental image America! Never mind Trump holding discourse with Presidents and Prime Ministers in the Eastern or Arab world. He's only got to go north of the border: how long do you give it before he insults certain members of the Canadian Ministry?!
You have found it in yourselves to invest a power hungry devil with the authority to nominate the Supreme Court members.
The Supreme Court people! The most powerful entity that makes THE most important decisions that affect you, your partner, brother, sister, mother, father, children (God help us all YOUR CHILDREN!), your neighbour, your friend. If that isn't a horror story right there, I don't know what is.
I understand that people are sick of the political elite and feel that the establishment has ignored them - but the idea that a billionaire, non-tax payer like Donald Trump is their anti-establishment champion is what baffles me. He's not the answer, he's part of that same problem. Jeff Gardiner, Author
So dear America. You really have gone from embodying the American dream to a nightmare.
Whilst I be may be sighing an enormous sigh of relief that you denied us that visa, I can't deny that you still are the biggest and the best. You elected the biggest madman and when you mess up, you do it better than everyone.
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