Here in the UK, we had one hand on the award for ‘most insane political decision of 2016’. We could almost reach out and kiss it. It was quite a moment, because we hadn’t won that title since Suez in 1956. But it has been wrenched from our grasp, and how.
America has never quite been the beacon on the hill it seemed to think it was. Not from a European perspective, anyway – perhaps it was to downtrodden people elsewhere, who found it easier to dream of driving yellow taxis than of piloting a 2CV through the boulevardes. And it is true we always had a certain suspicion over the extremities of american religiosity and the vile obsession with guns. But America has long been at the heart of what we think of as western civilisation, admittedly due to size and influence, but nevertheless undeniably part of the great enlightened free civilisation that was the bulwark against the various totalitarianisms – Islamic or, back a bit, communist – that loomed on the fringes.
It doesn’t feel much like that now. The America of the coming four years looks alarmingly like an extremist state, and it was no accident. The people of America did this to themselves. Of course there are more conservative regimes – Saudi Arabia and Pakistan spring to mind – but is there anywhere where a large population has such right-wing instincts? Is there anywhere else that would have handed unbridled control – presidency, House and Senate (and soon the Supreme Court) to a party viciously opposed to Women’s reproductive rights and palpably infected with the misogynistic self-hatred of religion?
Hyperbole? Look at the record. i don’t mean trump’s revolting ‘locker room talk’, which was foul but which doesn’t bother me as much as some. i doubt he’s seen the inside of as many locker rooms as i have, but i’ve never heard someone talk like that. But we do of course know trump is a climate-change denier, a racist, a misogynist, and a conspiracy theorist whose ego was unable to accommodate the prospect of possible defeat without undermining trust in the very system that has elected him. What would have happened if the vote had gone the other way, with trump winning the popular vote and Hillary coming out on top in the electoral college?
The Vice-President elect, mike pence, has been a one-man crusade against abortion rights for many years. As recently as March, pence signed one of the most draconian anti-choice bills in the country. And in 2011 it was pence who penned the legislation to strip Planned Parenthood of its federal funding, as soon as the Republicans took control of the house. Later that year he was co-sponsor of the legislation requiring abortion providers to perform an ultrasound on any Woman seeking an abortion and report back with a detailed description of the embryo. he was not chosen by accident. Now they have control of every arm of Government, for two years at least, you think he’s about to change tack?
Let’s find a bright side. These things swing back and forth as people realise the grass is not greener. The bigger the swing, the bigger the reaction. There will be Senate elections in two years, if trump decides elections are worth having any more. trump got in with 53% of the white Female vote. They can take that away. It’s in Their hands, if Women are still permitted a vote four years from now.
In the mean time, if liberty in the US is still alive, She isn’t a Woman. The French should ask for their statue back.