I am not a political analyst or journalist, I am not even American. I am just your regular work-at-home mom intermittent blogger. You might think the American elections are none of my business. But I had to share this: I want a better world for my son, and it’s starting to look really bad.
I bet you woke this morning to find messages of grief, horror and fear on your favourite social network’s timeline.
A majority of people in the United States of America, who like to call their President « the leader of the free world », have decided that Donald Trump (out of 324 millions citizens) was the most qualified and worthy person to lead us.
Like many of my friends, I was concerned, to say the least. All day, my mind was full of questions:
- When and where is he going to start America’s next war?
- If I come visit my American friends, am I safe as a woman, I mean is he going to legalize p***y grabbing?
- Will same-sex spouses have to be « un-married »?
- Why are the markets plummetting already, are we heading towards a deeper recession?
- How is he planning to build that wall, if he expells all illegal immigrants, would he suddenly agree to pay fair wages and benefits to his workers?
Then I tried to pull myself together. You have to be realistic. Trump decided to go into politics, so he told people what they wanted to hear. He is not the first populist to get elected. While it’s frightening that so many Americans wanted to hear that, we can reasonably hope that all he said during his campaign will remain empty promises. Those who voted for Trump, believing the man would shake the system and give them a better life, will likely be disappointed in the next four years.
Nevertheless, I spent the day in shock. Actually, I even drank soda (which, as my friend will tell you, I only do when in a state of utter despair and disgust at the world).
It affects us all, inhabitants of the free world. Today has blatantly shown us there was no longer such a thing as a free world.
We can only be free if we are able to analyse our leaders’ discourse with a critical and informed mind. Human beings want to understand the world. We have always wanted that. But most of us, including myself, are no longer able to make sense of what is happening. We are constantly flooded by contradictory information, sensational images, breaking news that will be forgotten in a few days, advertisments on the most recent crucial things to buy, new people to idolize, new people to fear and hate. No wonder so many have become shallow and cynical about the world, or are loooking to ideologies providing ready-made answers.
We can only be free if we have power over the decisions affecting our lives. I never voted to send soldiers and guns and bombs to foreign countries. I don’t want to support an agriculture that is poisoning us, depleting our soils and harming sentient beings. I have never agreed for my tax money to be used to bail out banks or to give tax reliefs to companies delocalising to countries where workers are « less demanding ». But all of this is happening. Who I voted for doesn’t matter, because every single politician in the « free » world is either unwilling or unable to change the system. The ideology that governs us all is about making money, nevermind who or what gets crushed in the process.
We can only be free if we have the time, resources and will to think about what we want for the future. Only very priviledged people are in that position. Most are too busy making ends meet, worrying about surviving in an ever scarier world, battling against the anxiety and depression that our system is spreading. That « free » world we live in doesn’t give us the opportunity to think freely.
So, Trump is our leader now. Let’s hope he doesn’t cause too much damages. Other leaders of the free world will pretend for a while that they are shocked at America’s choice, because that is what their voters will want to hear. Then they will congratulate Trump for his victory in the name of our countries, and continue to negociate their secret trade agreements like nothing happened. Because you have to be realistic, right?
Or have you?
Trump is not my leader. He is the leader of a system I am unhappy with, a system I want to change. We don’t vote once every four years. We vote everyday. With our wallet. With the media we chose to listen to. With the information we seek about things that impact our health and environment. With the way we educate our children. With the way we relate to our neighbours. With the way we respect those different from us.With the way we protect the weaker or less lucky members of our communities.
Right now, where are so many people around the world who are think about different ways to change our society. People who eat and buy locally. People who start independant media. Unschoolers. Cities in transition movement. Earthship builders. Hippies in yurts. Non-violent communication movement. Permaculture. Meditation. People who free our public space from advertising. Alternative schools. Crunchy mommies. People who start vegetable gardens. Zero Wasters. People who make political documentaries and videos for Youtube. Repair Cafés. Freecyclers. Annoying judgemental vegans (I am not. Yet. But they are right.)… so many others I have not heard of yet.
If you are infuriated with the election’s results, please see this as our chance. If you think a system where a Trump gets elected is seriously flawed, find ways to stop supporting that system. Stop the noise of mainstream media. Have a nice cup of local herbal tea (or micro-brewery made IPA). Look into the alternatives. They don’t provide ready-made answers to the woes of the world, and none are perfect by themselves. Look into what appeals the most to you, and start from there.
I am not sure if we will achieve a deep change in our lifetime. But I want to be able to look my son in the eyes, in a long time from now, and say :