I went to sleep last night in my hotel room in Munich just as Americans were lining up to cast their votes. CNN International blared from my television, various hosts and their pundits almost smug in the thought that victory was a foregone conclusion for Hillary. They cited their polls and debunked the theory that there might be silent Trump voters queuing up to make their voices heard.
In the past few weeks, I have expressed how nervous I’ve been to colleagues, friends etc. because I was getting a sense that this man has beaten all odds to reach here, he might just pull it off. A victory in the face of all conventional wisdom.
I went to sleep, even though I was tempted to watch through. But, I had a flight to catch at 9:20am next morning, so I did the sensible thing, which in the case of American voters would have been to vote in Hillary.
I woke up at about 4:20am to go to the loo. As soon as I got up, I remembered the elections were on and results might be pouring in. I should have gone back to sleep, to wake up to my alarm which I had set for 6:15am, but my curiosity got the better of me.
I switched on the television and tuned in to CNN. The anchors didn’t seem as confident as they had the previous night, Wisconsin, Florida, Michigan, New Hampshire were all up for grabs at this time! Wisconsin and Michigan were the big surprise. Blue states being turned red in a virtual bloodbath.
About an hour into watching, it was all over. Trump had won! My worst nightmare had come true. When he first announced he was going to run, I laughed, like many others I thought it was a joke, that he was a joke. How wrong we all have been. The world has changed, and progressive minded people need to take stock of these changes if we want the world around us to remain liberal and progressive.
There are two questions in my mind now. First, what went wrong? And second, what will this Trump Presidency bring?
Let’s address what went wrong first. The biggest problem and greatest fear right now is the rise of terrorism around the world. I don’t think it is sufficient to say that the Middle East is a ticking time bomb, that was before, now this is an understatement, the Middle East is a nuclear explosion waiting to happen.
The responsibility of this lies with global superpowers like USA, UK, Russia among others. Politicians in these countries have abused their powers and gone into sovereign countries and raped and pillaged their populations. They have manufactured a generation of terrorists. The Iraq war started more than a decade ago. Hundreds of thousands of children have seen their families destroyed, their parents killed, their homes gone.
So the west gave birth to terrorism and now it strikes too close to home. The attacks in Paris, the massacre in Orlando, the attacks in San Bernardino are all testament to the tumultuous times which have begun in earnest. So what should politicians do now? They need to start looking inward, within their own borders instead of looking outward and interfering where they shouldn’t.
This was one of the key themes around Donald Trump’s campaign. He promised to set things right at home. Whether he will do this, only time will tell. As is a signature theme with him, he never has one position on a subject, has takes many opposing positions based on the time of day.
The rich have gotten greedy, and left the middle class behind. This has happened around the world. This is a side effect of rampant capitalism. When every service offered is motivated by a profit motive, it is only a matter of time that greed grows into a monster that can’t be tamed. As companies keep consolidating, power and money centralizes in the hands of a few. The rest, of course feel frustrated and left out. Health care, Insurance, Food supply, infrastructure are a few of the many industries which have left people behind. A major part of this problem is the access corporates have to policy makers, more often than not sacrificing the needs of the individual to feed the need of the corporation.
Trump has made this a central theme of his campaign as well. Calling out the Washington corruption and this has struck a chord with the public who have supported him. Again I doubt that he is the right person to tackle this issue though, as he is the epitome of greed himself. How can an alcoholic help his neighbor to deal with alcoholism?
Illegal immigration has also played a big part in this election, just as European immigration played a part in Brexit. I think Trump’s original position on this issue is on the right side to begin with, just his handling of the issue, the crudeness with which has has spoken and insulted particular groups and ethnicities is distasteful. I fear a person so spiteful in his rhetoric may not do proper justice and solve this problem in a way that doesn’t adversely impact families who truly suffer n a day to day basis.
Another aspect of immigration is the ideology of those immigrating. If a family has been awarded a privilege to move to a country which offers them superior opportunity, financial security and way of life, then it is that family’s responsibility to adopt the culture and ethos of its new home country. That doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have freedom to practice their religion or culture, just means that they follow the rules of the land without a desire to have those rules changed to reflect their religious beliefs.
I have always imagined a smart, intelligent business person leading a country based on sound logic and deduction and have been confident that such a person could truly change his country and bring hope to the world. Unfortunately, I am not sure Donald Trump is that person. Having said that, he has proven me wrong before by getting this far, I hope he will prove me wrong again by actually being a President who brings positive change to America and the world as he has promised many a time.
What are your thoughts about this? Which side are you on and why? Do share your views in the comments section.