As I sit here reeling from the reality that now sees Donald Trump as the next President of the free-world, I can’t help but question how on earth we got here and more importantly, where to from here?
I remember when I first heard Trump was running for President and, after hearing his speech about being “ridiculously wealthy”, thinking that it must be all some kind of joke and that there was no chance he was getting in (I don’t think I was alone in this sentiment).
Yet fast-forward two years and we now see Trump as the next American President, in what the media is calling a “surprise and stunning victory.”
In his victory/acceptance speech, Trump said he didn’t see the last two years as a campaign, but rather as a “new movement”, which pitched him as the voice for the “forgotten people of America” and saw him promise to “make America great again.”
Whether we like it or not, his message obviously resonated with the vast majority of Americans, as we are now faced with the fact that he is the next President of the United States and that many people felt he was the best person for the job.
I don’t claim to know all the ins and outs of American politics, but from what I have seen and comparing the qualifications and political experience of the two candidates, I was convinced that America would have to choose Hillary Clinton, even if she wasn’t as popular as her predecessor, Barack Obama (or the First-Lady Michelle Obama, who I personally think should be the next US President- Intelligent, Charming, Humanistic, Black, Female President= winning!)
And while there was all of the controversy regarding private emails and claims of dirty deals made with big corporations tied to the Clinton camp, I would have thought that none of that compared in contrast to the sexist, racist and divisive language spewed out loud and clear by the Trump party on a regular basis.
I would have also assumed that we had reached a point in history where we were ready to see the first-ever female US President or that people weren’t going to stand for a man who likes to joke about “grabbing women by the pussy” (among other vulgar, offensive remarks regarding women).
Yet here we are, shell-shocked at the result of the 2016 US election and contemplating (freaking out) about a future that no one can possibly predict.
I have to play devil’s advocate here though and ask, are we just a bit ignorant in our surprise? I mean all we have to do is look to our own backyard and the rise in popularity of people such as Pauline Hanson or the recent Brexit decision in Britain to see that the rise of protectionism and fears surrounding immigration are very real.
In fact, if we’re blatantly honest with ourselves, Trump may actually be onto something when he says there is a “new movement” in the air, as obviously there has been an undercurrent of dissatisfaction building and it’s now finally here in all its ugly glory.
In the midst of all of this uncertainty, however, I still hold on to the hope for a better future, because in my idealistic view, I believe that out of bad there will always come good and as with everything in life, there has to be change in order for there to be growth.
So the question is now: how bad does it have to get before things get better? Only time will tell….