I’m numb. The events of the last day have been so surreal as to be beyond parody itself. The 45th President of the United States, is none other than the star of the Celebrity Apprentice, Donald J. Trump: serial abuser, racist, xenophobe, fascist, misogynist and troll of the highest order. The man is the literal antithesis of President Barack Obama; a man of poise, intellect and deep reverence for the American political system.
Today’s events have shaken my political beliefs, worldview, and general being to it’s very core. And yet, my cynical side saw it coming. I got burned badly by Brexit in June, and my faith in the political establishment has been eroding gradually ever since. This is hard to state. I consider myself to be a Liberal Internationalist. Yet, it seems that this ideology is currently undergoing its death throes. Indeed, it seems to me that western liberalism is being slowly suffocated by the anger of a white underclass entrapped by neoliberalism, disenfranchised by identity politics and dismayed by changing demographics. I must state that I am generalising massively, nonetheless, this is how I have come to envision the populist and nativist movements sweeping the Western World.
Equally, the political elite and metropolitan liberals of my ilk whether in London, D.C. or Brussels simply didn’t see the pain and loathing, or more likely chose to ignore it. It was allowed to fester, seething under the surface until small men, members of that same elite, but castigated within it, began their campaigns to free the lumpen public from their stupor. Of course, the entire thing was a ruse designed to benefit those very same small men with money, power and more importantly enhanced reputations amongst the elite that scorned them.
Such a cesspool allowed old evils to reemerge but in new forms. In this new age, the internet acted as the critical medium for the rise of the Alt-Right and ‘news stations’ like Breibart which sold themselves as a way of providing a voice to the voiceless. That voice was unfettered Hate.
Hate is what produced this intolerance, and is what produced President Trump and Brexit. It is likely that this same hate will produce President Le Pen in France next year. I do hope not but I’ve been proven wrong enough times to doubt the possibility.
Finally, the satire of this post-truth post-fact world is that I am now the nostalgic one. I want to return to a politics of decency, civil norms and democracy. I suppose that will require fighting for. It promises to be a long uphill climb.