Thoughts on the U.S. Election + the Rise of Fascism

bad-men-need-nothing-more-quote

“Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.” – John Stuart Mill

When I woke up Wednesday morning and saw the results of the U.S. Election I felt lost for words. I couldn’t honestly say that I was surprised (not after Brexit), but I was shocked. I didn’t think that people would actually elect a sexist, racist, homophobic, narcissistic fascist like Trump. While I don’t think all of those who voted for Trump are sexist, or racist, they did, through their actions, say that racism is not a deal-breaker, homophobia is not a deal-breaker, sexism is not a deal-breaker.

The same people who, throughout Obama’s presidency, spread lies and fought him every step of the way, are now saying that everyone just needs to calm down and come together under Trump now that “the people have spoken”. Ignoring the fact that Hillary won the popular vote and the electoral college is a joke that was designed to keep slaveholders in power.

Of course half of the eligible voters didn’t vote at all. Usually I’d be sympathetic to that, because the U.S. political system is frankly f**ked up, but under the circumstances I am saddened that half of the eligible voters didn’t care enough to fight tooth and nail to prevent someone like Trump from taking power.Hopefully they will wake up now and do what they can to keep his power in check.

The results of the election shows how desperate white people are to keep their privilege. According to exit polls by CNN 53% of white women voted for Trump. More than half of the white women who voted decided that white privilege was more important than their right to bodily autonomy or not to be treated like an object by the most misogynistic presidential candidate in recent (if not all of U.S.) history.. White privilege was more important than standing up for yourself and other women (not to mention POC and all other minorities).

So what do we do now?

I am heartbroken. How did we get here? How could we let things get this far?

I know.
I’m not American.
I don’t live in the U.S.
This doesn’t and  won’t affect me nearly as much as those in the U.S. But it does affect me (and not just because of my friends and loved ones in the U.S., that are likely to be personally affected by this). It affects all of us, because unfortunately what happens in the U.S. greatly affects what happens in the rest of the world, and frankly having a vengeful narcissist like Trump as commander-in-chief with access to the nuclear launch codes is terrifying.

Generally I would avoid referencing to Nazism (Godwin’s law and all that), because it’s too often used as hyperbole completely diluting the seriousness of that entails. But there are times when you need to take a stand, and I believe this is one of those times. I do not say this lightly, and I sincerely hope that I am mistaken.

Looking at the history leading up to Hitler being democratically elected in Germany, and up to WWII there are strong parallels to what is happening now. History tends to repeat itself, and we close our eyes and ignore the signs to our peril.

Speak up

If this is what is in our future (and if you take Trump at his own word, it is), then I have to speak up.
We all have to speak up.
We all have to take action (as best we can within our abilities and limitations).
We need to stay informed – and not just consume information from within our own “bubble” (I for one am guilty of that).
We need to share information (remembering to fact check).
We need to take part in the democratic process, wherever we are.
But most importantly we need to speak up when we hear racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, islamophobic or other forms of bigoted speech – especially when it comes from those who are closest to us. Let them know that this behaviour is not okay.

All of this goes doubly so for those who are highly privileged. There might be times when it’s safe for you (us) to step in, but wouldn’t be for someone with less privilege.

I wasn’t sure I would write this post. Due to my health issues writing takes a lot out of me, and so many people have already said it better than I could. But I believe we all have a role to play, we all need to speak up in whatever way we can.
While I’ve had to write this in 15 minute chunks over several days, this is me adding my voice and speaking up.

I won’t be silent on what might become the defining fight of this generation. I hope you won’t be either.

Further Reading

EMERGENCY POST-TRUMP EPISODE: The Patriarchy Strikes Back – Guilty Feminist Part 1 + Part 2 Presented by Deborah Frances-White and Carrie Quinlan with special guests Hannah Peaker, Graysen Lane, Sara Barron, Avery Edison, Tiff Stevenson

History Tells Us What Will Happen Next With Brexit and Trump – Huffington Post

Post-Election Care: What to Do After You’ve Lost Your Faith in Humanity – Ravishly

Tomorrow We Fight – Love, Joy, Feminism

9 Real, Actionable Things We Can Do About Trump – Yes and Yes

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