Politics is one of the three forbidden discussions amongst friends, the other two being religion and sex. Although, to be honest, if you ever have a group of friends together and they never talk about sex they are either zombies or dead. Or both. However, politics has played a key role in our lives recently and is going to be very important to the American people in the coming days and weeks.
Before I really get started, I thought I’d add a caveat. I’m not throwing rocks from my glass house. The birthplace of the American civilisation, the United Kingdom, has seen it’s fair share of tumultuous politics recently. The British have voted to leave the EU, has a new Prime Minister who appears to be trying to emulate one of the most hated/loved Prime Ministers in our recent history (no, not Blair) and has selected a buffoon to be our Foreign Secretary. Don’t get me wrong, I like Boris Johnson the same way I like Jeremy Clarkson. He can be amusing, entertaining and a complete idiot. I don’t think anyone is going to make Clarkson a Foreign Secretary though. As for our opposition, well, they are all in opposition to one another and it’s a complete mess. So, British politics is hardly the ‘most envied democratic system in the world’, as one Member of Parliament had the audacity to claim.
But Donald Trump? Are the Americans really serious? Part of me is hoping that this is all a huge media typo and it’s supposed to read Donald Duck. That would be the lesser of two evils, surely?
We all know that a lot of politicians suffer from Mythomania (that’s the polite, not going to get sued term) but Trump takes it to a whole new level. He has made promises to the American people that even the dumbest has got to realise will never be fulfilled. Building a wall along the Mexican border? Banning all Muslims from the country? However, the real appeal of the man is that he is promising some sort of El Dorado, where the streets are covered in precious gems and gold and there will be no more poverty. People are lapping this up and in complete denial of the reality of the situation.
Trump is appealing to those voters disaffected with mainstream politics, those who are fed up with the false promises – irony intended – and those who have lost their jobs as factories and plants closed down during the recent economic depression. He is offering hope and to say he is controversial is like saying ISIS is bad; the premise is correct but there so much more that should be said. As a household celebrity in the states, he has had a lot of media exposure as a successful businessman, something he is now selling to the US voter with promises even his chequebook can’t write. He is promising El Dorado. None of it is true. None of it could be true even if his intentions were honest and pure; and yet millions believe him. What is more alarming though is that he is sowing dissent and hatred. Whether this is intentional or not, the results are the same. Trump is dragging civil and humanitarian rights back to the stone age. Things are bad enough over there without more fuel being added to the fire.
There isn’t enough time to detail his, let say ‘dodgy’, business dealings and it has all been covered in numerous other articles. Suffice to say, he has plenty of skeletons in his closet but the people he is appealing to are just ignoring them. Trump’s opposition for the Presidency is Hilary Clinton, who has her fair share of skeletons and was stupid enough to expose herself to more criticism by using her own email for storing classified information while she was the Secretary of State. She is as unpopular a candidate for the Presidency as ever there was. Bar one. Donald Trump. However, she is an experienced politician and although she may be ‘unpalatable’ to many, she isn’t making outrageous promises nor is she spouting the vitriol that has been escaping Trump’s mouth.
With the fate of the world on a knife-edge, Trump has claimed that he can cosy up with the single most egotistical, devious and dangerous ‘democratically’ elected leader of a foreign country. No, not Recep Tayyip Erdo?an. Putin. I’m pretty sure that they’ll make a lovely couple but my blood runs cold at the thought. But what of Putin? The ‘west’ is going down the drain without a paddle and he is probably sitting back and watching with glee. First the UK decides to leave the EU and now America may well elect Donald Trump to the Presidency. Putin must be loving it. At a time when the ‘West’ must remain strong, divisiveness weakens it. Surely it couldn’t get any worse?
Well, actually, it could. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, NATO, has been the defining force in keeping the world from another World War since 1945. America has played a key role, if not the primary role in NATO and guess who says that he would ignore the treaty? Yup. Donald Trump who stated that he could quite happily call the head of a NATO country that has been invaded and tell them that they are on their own. An article on what Trump claimed he would do is just scary and leads me to believe that Trump is clearly an isolationist who thinks that the United States can just sit on it’s own and watch the world go by. Surely no-one can be that naive?
The UK vote to leave the EU was closely followed by the western media. It was a pivotal moment in our history and many were dismayed when the vote to leave won. The markets went into overdrive and there was speculation of another depression, words of woe and that nothing good would come of this. In my opinion, the UK leaving the EU is nothing compared to this years presidential race in the United States. On one hand we have Hillary Clinton who is trying to be the first female President in history but has one hell of an uphill struggle. On the other hand we have Donald Trump. A businessman who doesn’t appear to understand politics, an isolationist and promising El Dorado to all the poor, disillusioned electorate. Oh, and a divisive figure who appears to encourage racism and hate.
Let’s not forget his comb-over although that’s the least of his sins.
This is both fascinating and scary. Barring additional terrorist attacks in Europe, this presidential race will be our headlines for the weeks to come. We can’t judge or criticise the American people for whom they vote for but that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to be affected by their decision because like it or not, America plays a key role in the world and what happens there will have consequences everywhere.
Whenever a superpower has ‘consequences’, all of us should sit up and take notice. That is reality.