A personal farewell from your English Cousins.
It will stay in my memory forever the moment I found out you had won. It was Winter. I had finished an intense workout in a fitness first gym in Bournemouth and was feeling pretty confident the results would end in Hilary’s favour. So, when I picked up my phone and read that it was you who had won I was slightly taken aback.
“Trump won,” I said out loud.
I wasn't the only one shocked by the results. Within a flash several strangers had circled me, grabbing my phone staring in shock at the report. It was the first sign of many that we were mutually concerned.
It had been an odd year. Us Brits were still readjusting from the aftermath of our own political earthquake. Brexit had caused a divide I’d never experienced before. We had protests, rallies & a never-ending discussion about the pros and cons for divorce from our European cousins. I didn’t want to separate but hadn't been too gutted that we'd agreed to it. There was, like everything these days, information overload. I regularly felt overwhelmed by listening to the arguments. Therefore incapable of making a whole-hearted decision. What was gutting, however, was our Brothers in arms voting you in.
Before, your past antics had occasionally featured in our line of vision. We had a sense of your character and had agreed you were a bit of a joke. Hilary wasn't popular. Truthfully, we haven't been fond of many of America’s past presidents. We don't even like our own. Hilary, however, felt like a lesser of two evils & a sure win. You felt like a big step in the wrong direction. In short, we were worried.
Since then we Brits have been watching you with an unblinkered focus. As public interest in you grew videos were released confirming your misogyny. Twitter once again became a daily feature in my news scrolling to read you racist comments. And the corruption in your presidential orders has fascinated and horrified us for the past 4 years.
So, accidentally you unified us.
To quote Jay-Z "He (you) is bringing out an ugly side of America that we wanted to believe was gone and it’s still here and we still have to deal with it”.
What you also helped fast-track was a conversation about our ugly side. Never before have the English looked at our history of Slavery so intently. Our racial inequality & hate crimes. Fascist movements suddenly became more mainstream as did reports of the damage British companies and Politicians were doing to our environment. You reminded us that we are not all raised with an equal “moral instinct”. I have friends who had never read a newspaper before you came into power. Now they organize groups to join protests for movements such as Me Too, Black Lives Matter and Extinction Rebellion. You are certainly not the only reason why all of this extra attention is being placed on the issues above. But you have certainly helped them stay present in our minds because of your policies.
To list off a few, let's start with you slashing funding for the US environmental Act. Withdrawing America from the Paris agreement. The Mexican wall, your attacks on the Affordable Care Act and the Child separation policy. The order banning visitors from seven Muslim nations that had never presented a terrorist threat whilst - predictably - excluding the countries where you had business concerns like Turkey and Saudi Arabia. And who could forget your handling of the Covid 19 pandemic? I can’t tell you how many memes there were of you injecting yourself with disinfectant the week you promoted it as a cure.
But nothing will symbolize your time in Office better than the attack on your Capitol. Your supporters, being watched & interviewed created an international audience. Displaying the personality type we associate with your die-hard fans. Angry, Bigotted, ego-centric and completely brainwashed. Hitler’s regime was the most popular government in German history. At the end of the war, many of Hitler's followers claimed they had been brainwashed by their government and had no idea how much damage the Nazi Movement had caused. I wonder if your followers will say the same thing in years to come.
There is a wonderful analogy that is in my opinion is one of the most perfect metaphors for human behaviour. The metaphor reads ‘If one throws a frog into a pot filled with boiling water the frog will leap out instantly. However, should you place the frog in a pot filled with pleasantly tepid water and heat it gradually, the frog will stay in the water until it boils to death. The frog symbolizes our inability or unwillingness to react to sinister threats that arise slowly until it’s too late. Climate change for example.
I hope after the Capitols seige we have hit a boiling point that your next government will try and bring down. Your impeachment - however long overdue - was still important. Your country is still divided but now that your power has somewhat diminished I hope for a much healthier government that can repair some of your damage. Just looking at the figure of civilians who voted this year proved you haven’t just lite a flame in us to take notice, but in your people as well. So what I am left with now is hope. For a brighter future. Trump-free.