The deed is done, and what was dismissed by most – including myself – 19 months ago, has become reality: Donald Trump has taken the oath of office and is the 45th President of the United States of America. Such a fact, that it is Trump who will sit in the Oval Office for the next four years (if he’s not impeached first) or… shudder… the next eight years, remains shocking to me and to many hundreds of millions around the world.
This feels like an historic occasion, and yet for all the wrong reasons. The sinister tendrils of the Kremlin; the threat of a new power struggle with China; the anticipated negative treatment of women, of ethnic and religious minorities, and of the LGBT+ community; of threatened nuclear proliferation; of expanded spheres of fascist influence emerging in France, Germany, Italy, and beyond – we’re walking down from a mountain and into a deep valley, the sun dipping below the peaks ahead, plunging us into a dark and foreboding future.
One cannot help but feel like we’re entering another period of massive repercussions similar to the Wall Street Crash, the rise of Nazi Germany, the Cold War, the Arab-Israeli conflicts that have been drawn out for nearly seven decades, the rise of international terrorism, and the banking collapse of the late 00s. Political progress can move at a snail’s pace, and yet it feels like with Trump behind the desk at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, political regression will move blindingly fast.
Over recent weeks, I’ve found myself becoming more politically vocal, whether that’s on social media platforms, in person, or through Political Intrigue. I can’t help but feel that sitting back and letting those who would roll back decades of progress unchallenged is akin to being the narrator in Martin Niemöller’s famous “First they came for…” quotation. What I find comforting is that I’m not the only one – far from it – and in most cases, people are becoming more active every day to stand up for their progressive and civilised rights.
So, for those looking for support and like-minded groups, can I recommend the following:
- Listen to The FourFiveOne, a podcast for the resistance
- Watch ‘The Resistance with Keith Olberman’
- Follow Sarah Kendzior, Summer Brennan, and Dan Rather on Twitter and Facebook
As others have suggested since Trump first won the US election in November, find organisations under threat from the new administration – Planned Parenthood, LGBT advocacy groups, and others – and donate your time and fundraise for them. Become advocates of those advocacy groups. While not an American, I can honestly say that – as the results of the election showed – a majority of Americans do not stand with Trump.
On this side of the Atlantic we’re stilling trying to figure out the fudge that is Brexit and what that means not only for us Brits but also for the wider European Union. Le Pen in France continues to threaten to knock on the door on the Elyse Palace, while at least there has been some glimmer of good news in the recent days as polls – yes, I know – show decreasing support for neo-Nazi party, the AfD, in Germany.
Losing the two biggest economies in the Eurozone to the social media savvy neo-fascists of the alt-right, in addition to the current UKIP voter-pandering antics of Mrs May in Downing Street, would be a disaster for Europe and must not happen. Politicians and the people who want to stop this increasing shadow of popular nationalism must stand up and make their voices heard.
While admittedly it may all sound like doom and gloom, this new period will not last. We may be heading into a valley, but that is not the end of the journey – after all, every valley has a mountain up ahead, and that is what we must all now journey towards, and begin our ascent once more to a more progressive and tolerant world.