I still can’t believe that Donald J. Trump is the 45th President of the United States of America. It’s been 12 days since his inauguration and I’m still finding it difficult to understand that this is not a joke. That it’ll all be different when I wake in the morning. That he hasn’t actually been handed the codes to the means of world destruction when he can’t even be trusted with his Twitter account. His election has marked a scary turning point in American – where reason and sensibility has fallen away to racist populism and tautological buzzwords. That America chose a bigoted sexist over the most qualified candidate ever to go before them is not something I’m sure I could ever forgive them for.
Who occupies the Oval Office is not just an American concern. It effects us all. The Free Trade Agreements that the US is party to; the control of the world’s largest standing army; the ability to destroy entire countries with a push of the button; heavy influence over global stock markets – decisions made by the US President has global effects and it’s remiss of us to think of their election results as “their problem” or something similar.
We’re coming up on Trump’s first fortnight in charge and it’s time for reflection. Reflection on the decision that Americans made – and, importantly, why they made it. It’s also time to consider what kind of country the United States is liable to become over the next few years, and how the rest of the global community should respond to offset any adverse or regrettable decisions that Trump might inflict upon us. Because it’s clear that Trump is going to steer the US on to a path that will change it.
The United States is going to become considerably more isolationist and protectionist, something it hasn’t been for over 100 years. This will effect the global economy. It will effect global migration. It will effect the already fragile human right situations in developing countries. It will result in broken peace and broken relationships. Trump will steer the United States away from being the World’s Policeman and shall instead try to position the superpower as the World’s Aloof Neighbour. His win would suggest this is what the American populace want, which I can see an argument as being fair – why should they be relied upon to resolve the world’s problems?
Trump’s America will see the rights of the religious minorities infringed upon. His Muslim Ban is just the start of what will be a vicious witch-hunt for innocent scapegoats to appease the violently ignorant swathes of rural and middle America who elected him. Trump’s America will see the further denigration of women, who now have to suffer the indignity of having a President who laughed about sexually assaulting women lord over them. Trump’s America will see him fill the Supreme Court of the United States with ultra-conservative, religious Puritans who will seek to subvert enshrined civil rights for the betterment of their own chances of entering their perceived heaven. Trump’s America will see him subvert Congress and the Judiciary – the other co-equal branches of Government – via the issuances of Executive Memoranda and Orders.
Trump’s America may not descend into something we witnessed in 1984 or in Jennifer Government but we will see a descent into something less than it has been.
The scariest thing about President Trump is that no one, at least no one who is telling, is actually sure of his ideology. It’s clear that, so far, he is operating a typical hyper-conservative agenda, but pundits seem to believe it’s at the bidding of his Chief Strategist, Neo-Nazi Steve Bannon. Trump so wildly flip-flopped throughout the Primary and General Election campaigns, I don’t actually know what he stands for. What does he really think? Does he have a conscious? This is the man at the helm of one of the world’s biggest economies, armies, and nuclear arsenals. And we know nothing about him. We don’t even know his financial circumstances and whether or not he is at risk of manipulation by his creditors.
Trump’s America will be controlled by ignorance. He will lie, obfuscate, and cheat his way out of transparency with the press. He will control the story. He has a direct connection to the voting American public via social media. He makes the conventional media out to be the opposition, full of fake news, driving people to his Twitter feed as if it’s the source of manna from the Gods. He will break the rules and when there are attempts made to report such, he will bury them with old news, fake news, and Trump news. He doesn’t care about the rules, traditions, the right way of doing things – this much is clear.
It will be 4 long years, maybe even 8. I don’t see the weak GOP in Congress standing up to him, and gerrymandering and media manipulation mean the next midterm elections won’t change much. We’re stuck with Trump, and we’re stuck with the lasting effects he’s going to have on the American political, social, and economic landscape. Trump’s America is here, and Trump’s America is going to hurt.