I don't know where to begin with this blogpost. 2016 has been a year of political shake-ups of the super cray cray variety and not necessarily with the public's best interests in mind. Progressives have been steadily losing ground thanks to a whipping up of Islamophobic, anti immigration rhetoric by Alt-Right journalistic hacks and opportunistic partisan politicians who would rather divide us than bring us together to achieve their perverted ends. Terrorist attacks have been widely reported by the Mainstream Media (MSM) outlets with the blame being solely laid at Islam's door. Ordinary Muslims have been found guilty by association with radical terrorist groups and now feel less trusted and less welcome in the West than never before.
Brexit continues to concern me greatly, especially with the raft of legislative proposals that have been sneaked through the UK Parliament without much ability to scrutinise those measures in any great depth. Brexit voters are meant to have voted to leave the EU to "Take Back Control" of
Parliament in order to "Make Parliament Sovereign Again" but so far the decisions made re fracking in Lancashire, higher energy bills for consumers as a result of a deal between China, France's EDF and the Government to build a new nuclear power station (Hinckley Point C) and to build a third runaway at Heathrow do not seem to chime well with progressive voters. Nor with centrist/moderate like me either. I guess many will dismiss my concerns because I am a Remainer. My views have not changed. If you've been a keen blog reader of mine, you'd know I am a Remainer at heart, a globalist that believes more international cooperation on social issues such as abortion rights, workers rights, transparency and LGBTQIA rights is needed, not less.
Perhaps what is more troubling to me than lack of sovereignty being realised is that hate crime has risen in the UK as a result of the Brexit vote, with Eastern European immigrants and Muslims (both
British and foreign-born Citizens) feeling they are no longer valued for the solid contribution they have made to the success of the UK economy and society over the past 40 years. I feel the blame is truly misplaced; instead of mocking and insulting hard workers based on their nationality or creed, we should be blaming successful Governments for not investing enough in regional areas, especially in the North.
It's been quite sad to see a visceral amount of hate towards immigrants and Muslims also being emulated in US Presidential Election coverage. I've read on Twitter about a recent story (October 2016) about an Arizonan teacher telling a 10 year old Muslim student that he'll no longer be allowed to stay in the US if Donald Trump wins, purely based on his religion. Such statements get dismissed as "rare" by Trump supporters. However, having watched the US Election campaign unfold in its entirety (first time ever), I know that Trump's built his campaign around alienation tactics that were designed to only speak to a certain base: "angry white people" who hate progressive liberalism with a passion that could rival Jesus's unfiltered compassion.
Only recently, loud mouth Trash filled Donald Trump decided to stereotypically categorise Latino immigrants as "Nasty Hombres" and he is yet to fully row back his proposal to "Build a Wall" on the Mexican border and to make "Mexico Pay For It" (without ironically seeing that "illegal" immigrant builders might actually be helping to build the wall which is meant to "keep them out" in the first place). Donald Trump's campaign is all about "Building a Wall of Ideas"- whether it be preventing women and girls from obtaining an abortion when they have a right to choose what they want to do with their own bodies and lives, to allowing transgender, queer, gender-neutral/fluid folks to use the bathroom that most closely aligns to their gender or no gender. Trump never spoke openly against the draconian North Carolinian HB2 law; in fact he seems to suggest that LGBTQIA rights should be entirely devolved to state governments to decide, meaning that same sex marriage laws could come under threat in the event of a Trump presidency emboldening Alt-Right, homophobic conservatives to repeal rights at will to suit their own bigoted agendas, all in the name of "Christian ethical purity".
Trump can't help but be a beacon of "hope" for the Alt-Right media (essentially white supremacists/ fear mongers/ hate peddlers packaged under a new name to make them seem "hip"). When Trump make recourse to Lügenpresse principles (where the Mainstream Media (MSM) outlets are demonised as rigged to delegitimise any sentient analysis of a political candidate's personal/moral character temperament or even their basic policy details that would matter to ordinary Americans, unless the MSM is critiquing their opponent(s), it leads to an emboldened enthusiasm from this crowd of self-confessed narcissists. They see Trump as a way of destroying the mainstream media outlets, silencing liberal opponents, repealing progressive laws, making American "Evangelical Christian" again at the expense of other Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, agnostics and atheists. To use religious principles to control a woman's body by denying them abortion rights appears to be the very height of hypocrisy when they know Islamic terrorists use theirs to enforce an anti-LGBTQIA agenda on the Syrian people. The semantic battles surrounding Terrorism in America is just beyond uber stupid; we all know that some terrorists identify with Islam, regardless of whether you feel the need to use the "right term" to describe them. Yes Americans and Brits want solutions to prevent terror attacks from occurring in the West, but if you think putting an outright ban on foreign Muslims from entering the country or deporting domestic Muslim to internment camps will stop every attack from happening, you're living in cookoo land. The key is de-radicalisation schemes which allow close teamworking with liberal Muslims to try and combat fundamentalist Islamic Jihadi ideology, coupled with teamworking with allies in the Middle East (not just Russia) to destroy the capability of ISIS to destroy their dream of a "Hate Homeland State". You think Trump has the awareness or temperament needed to set up these teamworking schemes without peddling hate discourse against Muslims at the same time? Every speech, every press conference I've seen during the Republican primary and every Presidential debate/ supporter rally I've seen during the Presidential campaign makes me doubt his ability to foster appropriate relations with foreign powers. Unless you count Russia. Or North Korea. I'm guessing he goes down pretty well with any dictator/ autocrat that may be salivating at the prospect of a compromised USA over the next 4 years.
What makes me most angry at Trump even being a Presidential candidate is his treatment of women. I've seen and heard about some of the scandals- grabbing his daughter Ivanka by her chest in public being one which I guess is open to interpretation (I'd say he was grabbing inappropriately) but many are clear-cut examples of a man who has mastered the art of misogyny.
Recently, Trump has started a hate campaign against NBC reporter Katy Tur, who has been covering his rallies comprehensively since mid-2015 by bullying her during a rally in Miami, Florida. Apparently Trump was angry with the media for not accurately reporting the size of his rallies because the cameras "didn't show the crowd" to the public viewing NBC news at home. It's part of Trump "Winning" myth that he has to have the "biggest rallies" because it apparently shows he has the majority of support in the US needed to become POTUS. So he has a go at Katy in front of 4000 people which resulted in mass booing of her. OK it adds to the Lügenpresse dialogue mentioned earlier, but I don't think I've heard such an explicit attempt to humiliate a journalist by lying about her not doing her job when the camera playback shows she was actually doing her job well. Besides Katy isn't a camera-operator so isn't fully responsible for how NBC reports his rally. It just seems he wanted to bully a journalist in public and the journalist in question just happened to be female.
Trump's singling out of women and accusing them of mistakes doesn't seem to be a rare occurrence. Trump seems to have an on-going feud with female conservative presenter Megyn Kelly of Fox News
who dared to question Trump's moral character and misogyny head-on at the first Republican Presidential debate on August 6, 2015: "You’ve called women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals." Trump twitter trolled Megyn by saying she "bombed" at the debate and "had blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her whatever" a deliberate alluding to women's menstruation cycles and an attempt to blame going through a "period" on Megyn Kelly's harsh criticism. Ironic that Megyn was only drawing attention to the fact that Trump had made misogynistic comments in the past and Trump answered that criticism with more misogyny. You'd think that would have reduced his support during the Primary but alas, No. Now Trump continues to attack Megyn Kelly and has emboldened supporters to use misogyny and slut shaming to carry on doing it for him; for example, Newt Gingrich blew up after Megyn tried to question him about Trump being labelled a "sexual predator" in the press and Gingrich accused her of being "fascinated with sex" to which Megyn replied "I'm fascinated by the protection of women, and understanding what we're getting in the Oval Office", which I feel was a most dignified response to Gingrich's unfounded insinuations.
The Gingrich Interview was an attempt by Trump to address a tape that was released by The Washington Post on October 7th, 2016 of a conversation between Access Hollywood presenter Billy Bush and Trump talking about women in an extremely lewd fashion in September 2005. Now I believe we all pretty much know the contents of the tape by now; a failed attempt at seducing Bush's co-presenter Nancy O'Dell who he moved on "very heavily" despite her married status. I don't think his comments about attempting to commit adultery shocked liberals particularly, it was more his demeaning of O'Dell's looks after she decided to go through breast-enlargement surgery that caused offence. Lookism seems to be at the heart of Trump's campaign against women. If they don't fancy him or they do something he disapproves of, he demeans them. Yet the worst comments came when Trump was talking about Arianne Zucker, whom he was going to meet in the recording. Trump was bragging that he could grab any woman by their genitals because they are objects drawn to him being in a position of power. Describing women as objects to be grabbed is the very essence of misogyny and Trump and his supporters must realise that it is not acceptable to demean women on tape knowing that other men/boys could follow his example and start treating women as "objects" that can be grabbed by their genital parts and can be rated out of 10, just because they are "stars" in a position of power afforded to them by cis-white patriarchal privilege.
Now I know some are "forgiving" Trump for what he said on the 1996 tape because he offered a tepid, forced apology on camera (which I didn't feel was sincere, honest or even well thought out at the time) but his actions during the Presidential campaign have been nothing short of deplorable and entirely misogynistic. For example, in the second debate, Trump seemed to be hell bent on stalking Hillary around the stage rather than trying to engage with undecided voters. Moments where Trump was literally behind Hillary, leaning in on her, breathing behind her made me feel extremely uncomfortable. No man has a right to violate a woman's personal space and I'm in awe of the fact that Hillary didn't even flinch! I guess one reason why I love Hillary so much as a candidate is her refusal to let Trump intimidate her, to let him know he has knocked her self-confidence. Some interpret this as vanity but it is a sign of strength. FLOTUS Michelle Obama gave a voice to Hillary's lack of Trump-Flinching, something she shares with millions of members of Team #NeverTrump: "When he goes low, we go high".
Trump, unlike Hillary, never seems to be able to "turn the other cheek" when he gets challenged; it seems his only real "Trumpcard" is to threaten to sue them in the hope of intimidating them into silence. His Alt-Right supporters emulate this, falsely believing it is a "sign of strength" to intimidate, bully and slander. Yet when Hillary and her supporters get threatened with physical violence, illogical incarceration or assassination by the NRA "2A protection even at the cost of 1A" crew (btw not all gun owners belong to that crew) because of Trump emboldening them to do this, I can't see how anyone can vote for him. Honestly.
Hillary is an amazing candidate in her own right (I'll be demonstrating that in my second blogpost). However I know that some voters will be #NeverTrump and will vote for the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, the Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson or the Independent candidate Evan McMullin. I am encouraged that there are voters who are prepared to exercise their democratic right to vote for whoever they choose to support and that they want to make the US less of a 2-party monopoly democracy. The movement of Bernie Sanders during the Democratic Primary (who I supported emphatically before Hillary won) was inspiring and showed that Millennials want to make their voices heard within the political system and fight against corruption and big business lobbying controls and fight for LGBTQIA and Pro Choice rights, Renewable Energy and Gun Sense policies. I believe that Bernie's message hasn't been in vain and that even if you have not voted for Hillary, you are at least engaged in progressive, liberal politics in some way. As for McMullin/Johnson voters, I guess I'm just grateful you didn't choose Trump. I am hopeful that Hillary will win the US election, if only by a whisker but all those voting against Trump will have the right to pat themselves on the back for saving the US and the international community from having to deal with a self confessed conspiracy peddling, xenophobic, misogynistic ego-maniac. I don't hate Trump as a human being; Jesus taught us to love our enemies as we would love ourselves as Luke 6:27-32 tells us: "But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you." This is the essence of the FLOTUS's "When they go low, you go high" message, founded in Christian doctrine from over 2000 years ago. I pity Trump for his need to be bitter and unforgiving towards those who differ ideologically from him. I hope one day Trump will be able to follow Jesus's example and be prepared to "turn the other cheek" instead of trying to sue his opponents on a daily basis.