On the 8th November 2016, I went to bed anxious but hopeful that I would wake up in the morning to hear the news that the 45th American president was a woman. That it would be a monumental moment in our history that we would tell our future children about with a sense of enthusiasm and pride.
That said, I can’t say that I was at all shocked when I turned on the BBC at 6am to see that Trump was sweeping a majority and when I listened to Chris Evans announce as I sat in gridlock traffic on the A470 that it was official. That business man Donald Trump had landed arguably the most important and powerful job on this planet.
Because 2016 has been the year where rhetoric promoting extreme nationalism has captured the minds and the votes of a majority, not a huge majority, but a majority none the less, of citizens living in 2 of the most influential countries in the world .
The year where the right to cast a ‘protest vote’ is more of a priority for many than defending the human rights of racial minorities, of our women; daughters, mothers, mothers of our children, of homosexuals, of those fleeing persecution, of our fellow human beings.
Where do we begin?
Do we begin with the fact that the message for our next generation will be that anyone can hold the most important job in the world? Even if you’re unqualified, dangerous, racist, homophobic and misogynistic ? Oh but not if you’re a woman, even if you’re more experienced and more qualified and more competent to undertake the job. You’ll have to work 10 times harder and that still may not pay off.
Or the fact that for Britain, it may feel like we are watching a violent car crash from afar, but if that rogue car veers over to our side of the road and threatens to collide directly into us, we are on our own for this one.
Do we draw on the parallels throughout history, of rises to power by leaders promising to make countries ‘great again’ through alienation of ‘enemies’, by leaders who thrive on fear and hatred and persecution? Will this see itself through to similar horrific conclusions? Will we be complicit?
Do we take a look at ourselves as nations, and ask why and how this has happened, question where it all went wrong and instead of passing blame, listen up and take note and rebuild trust and make positive change?
Do we go back to bed and hibernate for the next few years hoping that when we wake up this has all just been a bizarre dream?
So this morning, I walked to get my morning coffee with a sense of impending doom wash over me. Feeling like our children will be reading about Brexit, and the term of the 45th American president in a preface of an A level history text book, except with a gut wrenching sense of uselessness and fear, because we don’t yet know what happens in the next chapter.