I’ve been wanting to write about this for weeks, even months, but have never been able to sum up the energy. But today could be a last chance in so many ways. Everything could change tomorrow.
Is that hyperbole? Have others felt like this? Is it possible to feel the turn of History, to feel this story being etched in some great ledger, to hear the ghostly construction of future paragraphs: Here is where the world changed.
There is so much fear and paranoia and rumour and fury on both sides of this presidential election that I find it hard to swipe the accumulated outrage, glazed over with my own anxiety, and see the truth underneath. Nuclear codes and walls around America and men grabbing women by the pussy – will all this come to pass, if the unthinkable happens? Or will life continue much as it does for us here in this white, middle classed privilege, with only the slow drip drip drip of misogyny and racism and homophobia, insidious and creeping everywhere until it’s in our homes and in our hearts and we didn’t even see it coming because it didn’t appear as apocalyptic as we’d been told it would be? Will this turning point fall like a nuclear blast or a tightening of a grip around our throats? Or neither?
For posterity, for History, I will write this. I hope very much that at some point in the future we will have completely forgotten the name Donald Trump, just an embarrassing footnote, and almost was, written in vulgar orange ink in the story of America. So I will write this with hope, a hope that will allow me to tell this story as though the notion of President Trump was a joke that no one on this planet other than the man himself saw as anything but.
Donald Trump is a businessman. Opinions vary on how successful a businessman he is, though it’s my personal belief that money begets money, and millions blur in the eyes of those who don’t possess them, and a billion is too big a number to fit in the minds of men who live paycheck to paycheck. Who cares that Trump filed for bankruptcy multiple times, that he failed to pay contractors and partners and left ruined men in his wake? Or that, carefully managed, his billions could have been shepherded into multiples if he had only inherited intelligence as well as a fortune.
Donald Trump is running for president, and against all sense, against all odds, there’s a good chance that he could win. His catalogue of vulgarities, of misogyny, racism, ableism, homophobia and gross unfeeling will be easily googled in the future (assuming of course that his presidency does not bring about a nuclear apocalyptic wasteland where we suddenly realize that we were too busy googling celebrity nude selfies to look up the important things, like how to survive in a nuclear apocalyptic wasteland).
So, I won’t list all the reasons that just the sight of this man’s face on a newspaper makes me taste bile in the back of my throat. What I will say instead, is that he is the least of the things we should be frightened of. Donald Trump is just a man, but there are millions who support him with spittle and bile and the rabid white hot righteousness of God and guns and money. One day Donald Trump will not exist, but this hatred can survive inside us through happiness and prosperity, down deep and dormant, waiting for the day that things don’t go our way and we need someone, anyone, to blame. In the nuclear wasteland apocalypse it will be the cockroaches and our own fear – hatred – suspicion – that survives.
It can’t be ignored any more: there are people out there who think so very differently from us, who cannot be reasoned with and would swear that up is down and the grass is blue if it suited them, if they were told this long and hard enough by a man with money and charisma and a scapegoat on hand.
Maybe this is human nature. There’s the hope that enough education and exposure to different people and ways of life, ways to live and a love, would work like a vaccine for this hatred. But people will always be born with different brains, hooked up and wired in different ways, and people will always find an other to fear.
God this is depressing. A few paragraphs ago I said that I would write this with hope – where did that go? All I know is that reason is too fragile these days, that sense is rickety and broken and all that we can cling to is hope. Perhaps we’re kidding ourselves. I don’t know what I’ll do tomorrow night, if Trump wins this election. My heart has been creeping steadily into my throat as the election nears, and here, on the eve of this huge decision (of which, I might add, I cannot take part in as an immigrant without the right to vote) I feel sick and weary with it all, a feeling that I know so many share.
So here. Let’s end with hope. I am sitting here writing this in a coffee shop in the democratic bastion of New York City, wearing a Hillary Clinton shirt. Much has been made in the press of her emails, of various supposed wrongdoings, and in the end all we can do is to make up our own minds, cast our vote and stand on the side of the person we believe in no matter the chance that someday that belief might be undermined. I believe in Hillary Clinton, right here, right now, on November the 7th 2016. I believe that it’s about fucking time that a woman becomes the President of the United States (I mean, I know our track record with female leaders hasn’t been particularly good, but a woman prime minister has at least been possible since the 1970s in the United Kingdom). I believe that it’s pure insanity that a qualified, experienced, smart woman is having a hard time winning against a petri-dish specimen of small-minded stupidity like Donald Trump. And isn’t that something that we should be thinking about? That ultimately a lot of the suspicion and argument against Hillary is born of the deep-down, subconscious mistrust of a woman in charge. Bossy, shrill, bitchy, nasty woman. She doesn’t dress like you want her to, she doesn’t lie down and take it, she’s not obliging and willing, she won’t smile and laugh nervously like Melania Trump when her husband’s friends flirt and touch her. She’d punch Billy Bush in the balls and stomp all over him in her practical shoes.
I believe that, ultimately, the very idea of a female president is powerful and good and helpful enough before we even begin to think about what she could achieve. As a concept, President Hillary Clinton will push us forwards, to make the same leap that 2008 made when what had seemed impossible for so long came to pass, and America elected a black president.
Either way, Trump or Clinton, a new paragraph will be written in the world history books tomorrow, November the 8th 2016. Donald Trump is an intrinsically American concept, the end-product of all the mis-steps and fumbles of the American Experiment. Tomorrow, will we take the next step in the evolution of this country, or wallow in the genetic cul-de-sac of Donald Trump, and the very worst that is in all of us? Please show the world that Love can Trump Hate, after all.