All posts edited by Madeline Ricchiuto.

Friday, March 11, 2016

I Can't Handle a Trump Presidency

So the US primaries have been going on for quite some time now, but I've been avoiding them pretty much at all costs. With many debates having already happened, we're getting down to the final stretch and soon enough we shall have our nominees from each respective party. For myself and many others that means its time to start coming to terms with who 'the people' have chosen to represent themselves and start thinking further into the future about what it means should they be elected. Thats why there's recently been a surge in articles about Americans fleeing to Canada should Trump actually become president.

I have an admission to make. I am one of those people. And its not something I say lightly. To many it may seem like a joke - as if many of us wouldn't actually leave or aren't serious about following through but its true. I, and many other people, don't want to live in an America where Trump or anyone like him is able to come into power.

But its way more than just not wanting to live there. If my only objection was disagreeing with his policies then I wouldn't feel so adamant about leaving - a problem I'll add that I can't really have seeing as he doesn't have any real policies (those he has put up are vague and disastrous at best). The issue lies in what his election represents about the American people and their values they share with him.

Trump has placed himself as the bastion of the conservative, fundamentalist, base. He has taken some of their more ridiculous views (such as literally building a wall between us and Mexico) pushed them to their most extreme and many are just eating it all up. His politics represent all the negatives people associate with politics - avoiding answering questions, not dealing with the real issues, providing meaningless ideology and not actual plans: in essence he is just a balloon of hot air and empty words. But he's managed to distance himself from it all by insisting that he is just a frugal businessman - an outsider to the world of politics. Supporters see him as untouchable - so much so that he can only be brought down by himself.

He has shown time and again that he is overtly and explicitly racist. From his attitudes towards immigrants, refugees, and Muslims, to the more recent refusal to condemn the KKK despite half-hearted tweets "decrying" white supremacists, Trump not only represents modern implicit racism, structural racism, but explicit and direct racism as well. He is a cornucopia of racism. How many of Trump's supporters have said they support placing refugees and immigrants into concentration camps? Or, remember that time Trump supporters were OK with holocaust-style registries for Muslims and Jews? Trump's campaign pits minorities against each other and especially tries to get millennials on board with his anti-immigrant rhetoric. Only this past week we are seeing more and more of the violence at Trump rallies. Not to mention how much he is suppressing media and those who disagree with him at his events.

Think about what that means if he gets supported and eventually put into power. It means that many of the people who don't support some of his more racist views still voted for him. They would be complicit in furthering that agenda. It means that they saw Trump's racism, xenophobia, sexism and oppressiveness and thought that we could let them be for a while and instead focus on some other issue (probably some babble about the economy or 'making America great again') like a trade-off. It means to me that they are racist because they are willing to accept and encourage racism.

Don't get me wrong, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and the like aren't only problems with the Trump campaign. You'd be hard pressed to find me a single Republican political campaign on a state or national level that didn't have at least one extremely regressive prejudice. For example both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio for example have shown definite racism, especially in their immigration policies, and prejudice against LGBTQ+ people with their positions on marriage, and particularly trans issues. However, though they are definitely extremely problematic they don't seem to be, in my mind, on the same level as Trump. Their policies are bad for all minorities but unlike Trump I don't see the same hostility in their supporters.

A Trump presidency scares me, not just on an ideological level, but on a personal level. People who turn a blind eye to such blatant racism will likely turn a blind eye to other social issues too. Racists tend to also be homophobic, transphobic, and sexist. With Trump as a president I worry not just for the American political system but more importantly that America's diverse population won't be safe walking around and being themselves. It makes me worry about my own personal safety and that of my friends. Trump's supporters have shown themselves to be extremists in all senses of the word. They are angry, rowdy, and most importantly violent. It terrifies me and I'm a white male, and if you saw me on the street you would probably assume I was straight. I can only imagine what others must be feeling in response but I imagine that it is immeasurably worse than what I feel.

I'm not giving up before its already done. I've still got fight left in me and I plan on fighting and being active against a Trump Republican ticket. I know that there is support of that cause from both liberal and conservative activists alike. Even much of the Republican establishment don't want him to win because he is so out of control but, if a non-partisan effort against Trump and the Democratic nominees political power can't win out against Trump then I think I'll be burned out. My fight will be gone and then, just like our autonomic nervous systems response to stress, my response will probably be to run. To avoid. To move away - back here to the UK.