Now there’s a slogan.
Four years ago, I was curled up on a couch in Brooklyn watching the results of the 2016 US Presidential election. My flatmates got home announcing that they’d voted, and they were hoping “things would be alright”. They later went out to watch the results at a local bar.
I stayed home and watched the reporting until the map of the US bled red and it was mathematically impossible for the finale to be different. I felt a sense of disbelief, however this was relatively easy to shrug off as I did not feel that the result affected me directly.
The following day I walked into town and could not help but notice the shrieking silence on the streets of one of the loudest cities in the world. The city that never sleeps was sleepwalking that morning, heads down and muted.
The following years passed and my initial disbelief turned into numbness while decreets such as the travel ban against Muslim nations, the separation of families at the US – Mexico border, the departure from the Paris Climate Accord, the pally-allying with Russia and the inability to condemn the mutilation and murder of a journalist, among so many others, kept rolling out of the White House like episodes of an unreality show.
And then the penny dropped and scared me heck this summer as I was watching the newscast, the racial protests and the ever-rising numbers of Covid cases States-side. For the past four years, Donald Trump has managed to distract the United States and the world while playing a textbook fascist hand: (white) racial supremacy – check, ethnic cleansing and separation of families – check, marginalisation of intellectuals / scientists – check, disregard for the separation of powers in a state – check, extreme nationalism and personality cult – check.
Photos of parents and children separated at the border are reminiscent in the collective psyche (at least of those who’ve studied history) of ideologies and political regimes in Europe in the 1940s that have not been so kind to mankind; “Make America Great Again” is broadly a play upon “Deutschland uber alles”, the anthem of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.
He’s distracted the United States and the world so much, that the entire American narrative, values and political discourse have been turned on their head. The way the dice land affects us all. The unpredictability of who’s going to win this election and the kind of world we’ll wake up to on Wednesday morning should make us all hope and pray that this time indeed “things would be alright”.
And so, to my friends across the Pond ~ come on guys, vote!