This post comes to us by way of Stephanie Emerson who is the founder of the Indivisible group, Order of the Phoenix in Roseville, CA.
I did not vote for Donald Trump. I understand that many people had many different reasons for doing so and I don’t fault them that. The election process is, after all, the cornerstone of our democracy. Perhaps you believe Trump is pro-life and will elect a Supreme Court justice (or two or three) who will overturn Roe v. Wade. Perhaps you voted for him because he’s an “outsider” and you believe him when he says he’s going to “drain the swamp” in Washington. Perhaps you voted for him because you like his wall idea and you can think of no better way to keep the Mexicans out. Perhaps you voted for him because you’re not a fan of Obamacare and you’re counting on him to dismantle it. Perhaps you expect him to bring back obsolete jobs that were once the bread and butter of your community. Perhaps you voted for him because you hate Hillary more than you hate Trump. Perhaps you just thought it would be fun to shake shit up really hard for once.
Regardless of the collective reasons that our country elected Donald Trump, I fear that we’re not seeing past the ends of our noses. My family spent five weeks in Europe this past summer, arriving in England only days after Great Britain voted to remove itself from the European Union. All of Europe was in despair over this decision. When we were in London we inadvertently found ourselves engulfed in a Brexit protest exactly like the ones that are filling our own city streets this week. Headlines on newspapers in each of the six countries we visited decried Brexit and what it means for the E.U. A warning was heeded to the U.S. – Tread carefully! This could happen to you, too! Brexit was a topic of discussion at every gathering we attended.
Another popular topic of conversation in Europe this summer was our own election, as Europeans grappled to try and understand where Trump supporters in America were coming from. Try as we might, Doug and I couldn’t explain it to them. It seemed clear to me that Europeans understand something I fear many Americans do not – our decision will have implications far, far beyond the reaches of our own borders.
A telling example of this was a comment on one of JK Rowling’s tweets Wednesday. (Most of you will not be surprised to learn that I often turn to Rowling for words of wisdom in times of personal distress). Her tweet read “The easy thing is to keep your head down and let the bullies run amok. The right thing to do is to challenge racism, misogyny and hatred.” To which one Jennifer Waid – presumably an American - replied “The best thing to do is mind your own business.”
But what the Jennifer Waids of our country haven’t realized yet is that America’s business is everyone’s business. I find it troubling that so many of us still don’t inherently know that.
And just as the election of Donald Trump is the world’s business, Brexit is our business. I suspect that it affects us more than we will collectively realize for a long time. Brexit was the first event in what I fear is a chain of events that are leading the world toward disaster. First Britain secedes from its union with Europe, weakening the E.U. as a whole and moving them toward isolationism. As a result, the Trump movement in the U.S. is bolstered. Maybe just a tiny, little bit in a manner that’s nearly undetectable, but it’s bolstered. Then the US elects this president, who is known for his isolationist, anti-globalization rhetoric. These two events SEEM like isolated incidents because they’re happening far away from each other, but are they?
And guess what? In France, Marine Le Pen – a candidate for the French presidency and a Trump supporter - is poised to do that exact same thing come spring. Her anti-immigration, anti-globalization rhetoric echoes Donald Trump’s precisely. Trump’s win this week has energized her supporters and Le Pen couldn’t be more thrilled.
History repeats itself. Humans are self-destructive. Historians can look back on any human disaster in history and connect the dots in a straight line from one catalytic event, to the next event, to the next - all the way to the disaster. And guess what? No one – save for a few lonely voices that everyone ignored - EVER realizes it at the time.
I fear that Brexit may have been the catalyst that tipped the climate of our global society and led to the election of Donald Trump. This will, in turn, position the far-far-right in France to elect Le Pen for their next president. And there are half a dozen more of these candidates on the far-far-right standing in the wings in half a dozen more countries in Europe - just waiting for these events to mobilize THEIR people to vote THEM into office.
All of these dominoes will fall; Russia will begin to gain a stronger foothold in Europe and then the E.U. will begin to divide. Take sides. And we’ll be right there in the middle of it, because - like it or not - it’s our business.
We’re playing a global game of chess and the pawns are already out.
Our enemies wanted Brexit. They’re thrilled we elected Donald Trump. They hope France will elect Le Pen – and I’m willing to bet France will. Our enemies hope that we will begin the process of deglobalization sooner rather than later. Why? Because they know that we’re weaker divided. As a mother and as a human I’m in despair. I’m terrified that we’re setting the global stage for World War III and nuclear catastrophe, and we can’t see past the ends of our noses to recognize it.
I feel like it’s too late. That we’re powerless to stop it. I’ve woken up each morning for the past five mornings with a pit in my stomach. I fear that this beautiful life that Doug and I have worked so hard to build is at risk. I feel compelled to begin planning our family’s exit strategy. I’m trying to have hope but I’m still in mourning.
Many will argue that a Clinton presidency may have resulted in World War III. Irrelevant. There’s no need to discuss that here.
I feel compelled at this point to note that I had serious reservations about a Clinton presidency, not the least of which is our right to medical freedom. Is she a crook? I don’t know, and neither do you. In the end I voted for Clinton because my number one issue of concern is our environment and I believe that she would have been the more likely of the two to take measures to protect it. But like I said: irrelevant. Besides, I live in a dark blue state and it literally doesn’t matter who I voted for. My vote doesn’t count.
I sincerely believe that when this is all over, there will be no wall, people will continue to abort unwanted pregnancies, and gay people will still fall in love. Donald Trump will probably become a “Washington insider” and coal miners will still be out of work. Terrorism will still be a threat and crazy people will still shoot up schools. The earth will continue to warm and healthcare will still be too expensive. I’m nearly certain we won’t have medical freedom. I don’t, for a single minute, believe that Donald Trump is the answer to our prayers.
But I do have hope.
I hope to GOD that I am wrong about all of this. I hope I’m BIGLY wrong. I hope I’m SO wrong. I hope I’m so wrong that they put my face in the dictionary next to “wrong.” There’s nothing I want more now than for all the people who voted for Trump to be right, and for me to be so very wrong. Trust me when I say this. In four years (or eight years, so help us God), if I’m wrong, please feel free to throw it all back in my face. Gloat. Rub it in. Say I told you so. Tell me to suck it. Stick your tongue out at me. Spit at my feet. Taunt me mercilessly for using the words “Trump” and “World War III” in the same post. This is what I want more than anything and I’ll be hoping it happens every day for the next four years.