I have an apology to make and it’s this. I’m sorry that Trump getting elected might just be the best thing to happen this century. Let me explain.
Back when the 2016 US Presidential Election was in it’s final weeks, an American friend and I were doing what friend’s do best – arguing. And we were arguing about the marginal benefit of electing Clinton. Now let me state categorically that I don’t have a vote in America, nor did I change the voting decision of my American buddy. Therefore, I’m pretty much in the same category as Russia in that there’s no clear evidence to support a hypothesis that I interfered in the US Election. 😉 But I digress.
My friend contended that Trump was very dangerous and on this basis needed to be beaten. For my part I argued that Trump was certainly more erratic than Clinton but since she had already proven herself to be an establishment candidate, that her election would have little positive impact on some of the most important affairs of the globe, namely true global democracy / peace and climate change.
In turn my friend believed that I was simply pissed off at the way Bernie Sander’s campaign ended and that I was just trying to be controversial in backing Trump. Which I refuted. Bernie is by the standards of American politics, a veritable saint and his record and plans could have set the United States on a new path and I was disappointed he didn’t get the nomination. However I wasn’t simply seeking to be controversial or pick the contrarian view. Indeed I agreed that most of Trump’s ideas were crazy or dangerous or both. Despite this, I insisted that Trump’s election was the only thing that could possibly lead to a genuinely democratic revolution in the United States. A revolution that I believe is badly needed. So yes, you might say that I hoped that Trump would get elected. And he did. And I guess that makes me in a strange way a Trump Supporter. That said, I wouldn’t have had the balls to vote for Trump but neither would I have voted Clinton to keep him out.
It’s still my view that Clinton would have brought nothing substantively new or beneficial to the table in terms of tackling global warming or ending international wars. Clinton’s election would have seen a continuation of policies that have created the mess we’re in where big business calls the shots in Washington DC. Hillary’s election would have added to voter disillusionment at a time when more and more people are turning off politics. Sure, Clinton would have improved the status of women and she would never have approached the immigration question in such a racist or ham fisted manner. But as important as those issues are, they pale into insignificance when compared to issues surrounding the rapid change we are witnessing in global climate and in the increasing proliferation of nuclear weaponry around the world. Clinton was a status quo candidate. It wasn’t enough. By virtue of unstoppable climate change or nuclear war, we face a future where vast portions of the planet will stop supporting life. (In this short video, Noam Chomsky argues this case in a much more engaging and articulate way than I ever could.) And this is coming within our children’s lifetime.
And yes, perhaps it’s wishful thinking but my hope was and still is, that Trump’s election might spark something. That it might be the point when the good guys in the US might say, “we’ve had enough.” The point where Rocky, having been pounded for eight grueling rounds, would get off the ropes and fight back. I hoped that Trump’s election might encourage people to rise up and take control of their politics at a local, national and international level. Because with or without Clinton, if the American public don’t take control of the United States, things are going to get worse for the poorest and the most vulnerable on the planet, putting the lives of billions in danger. The arms industry will continue to thrive, nuclear tensions will increase and the climate will become more and more unstable. That is where we were headed before Trump got elected. And nothing has changed since. Nor would it have changed with Clinton. The election of a lunatic is perhaps the only thing that can change the status quo. Because I want more than the status quo. We need more that that. We need a democratic revolution because God stopped sending miracles years ago.
Need something light hearted after that? Click here for an Ode to Ginger Nuts