I wrote this title with a deadly straight face.
Here we are, in the aftermath of what is being heralded as ‘a shocking result’ and ‘completely unforeseeable’. The world is reeling – and by the way, that is such a dramatic four words to type that my literary self is literally getting thrills from it.
Why the outrage? The bad guy won. He actually won. The sheriff of Nottingham beat Robin Hood. Maleficent beat the fairies. Jafar beat Aladdin. Scar became King.
But this isn’t what is meant to happen. You’re meant to think he’ll win – in fact, the whole way along you’re meant to think he’ll win. But at the last minute Florida and Ohio are meant to vote Clinton. And that just didn’t happen.
And so the world stopped.
This didn’t just affect America. My FB feed the next day was full of my English friends and family feeling devastated about what had just happened – this wasn’t just ruinous for America, this changed everything for everyone. After the humour that Brexit had nothing on this, the tone became remarkably sombre.
But I feel something else – maybe it’s the eternal optimist in me. For the record, I also had a good feeling that the slipper would fit Cinderella’s foot.
There has been a fundamental shift in how we are all behaving.
I now have conversations with my friends about politics. It’s not that we were total ignoramuses before – we are all intelligent young women – but when lives are so busy, there are only so many hours in the day; quoting films, or tagging each other in memes takes time. Back in 2015, we had bigger priorities. But in 2016 things changed. And we didn’t just talk about politics in a cursory way (Have you voted? No, when is it? Today. Oh… woops, no then). We actually debated – sometimes quite fiercely (obviously not about Trump – none of us wanted him to win). We found we had opinions and that here was something that meant something to us.
And today Mr M and I had a conversation about the Attorney General. We spoke about the nominees. We knew who they were. We spoke about mayors of both NYC and London. We discussed the merits of the candidates. We actually did this.
And this isn’t isolated. I’m hearing a new dialogue. Everybody is listening, learning, and becoming more intelligent and informed about what is happening in the world. And I think this is bloody fantastic.
The problem up until now has been lethargy.
How’s this for figures – 47% of all US citizens eligible to vote DIDN’T VOTE. Nearly half the country DIDN’T VOTE. That’s over 231 million people!!!!!
25.6% of those who did vote, voted for Clinton, and 25.5% voted for Trump. Yes, it’s being heralded that Clinton won the ‘popular vote’, but this was by a teeny tiny fraction. The problem isn’t that she lost, the problem is that half the country couldn’t be arsed to get off their bums, walk to the local polling station and actually give a shit.
English friends – potted explanation for how US elections work in case you didn’t know, because I sure as hell didn’t. Presidents aren’t elected by how many people vote for them; there’s some archaic rule around an electoral college(?!) that means that different states have a different number of ‘votes’ attached to them. A state like Florida holds 29 votes (winning!), whereas Delaware has 3 (erm… thanks?). So I know that many of you were confused about this, but although Hills had more individual people vote for her, she didn’t get the states that made it rain.
So. Back to lethargy. Normally it’s okay to be a lazy buggar because a) the good guys win, right and b) you really don’t care all that much who does win.
Except this time, the bad guy won. And in this game, the bad guy can push a button that triggers nuclear war heads. So this time, it’s real.
And guess what? I bet in four years time, that turnout will look considerably different. Because now we care. And I think this is bloody fantastic.
I have a theory behind the CBAS (can’t be arsed syndrome) – I think that everyone thought ‘the other guys’ will vote. And by the other guys, I mean all of the groups that Trump offended. Everyone was quoting that the Mexican vote would be record figures, and that of course they would vote for Hillary because Trump had branded them rapists and was planning on building his wall. And that of course the women would vote for Hillary because Trump was a molesting creep (I was going to say ‘nasty’ but to be fair, I now consider that a raging compliment – he doesn’t get to be nasty. He wishes he was nasty). And that Muslims would vote for Hillary because Trump had branded them all terrorists.
But it’s like when an email goes to a big group of people, and all the person who sent the email wants is for one goddamn person to reply. And none of the f****ers do, because they all think that one of the other people in on the email will. Well, great job, guys. No one replied to the bloody email!
However, now take a look at the picture. For the first time ever, there is a whole population of people who have something in common; something that they never had before. And this thing we all have in common isn’t based around party policies, religious beliefs, sex or race. What we all have in common is genuine fear. These are the groups that have been vilified and intimidated by the guy that is now one of the most powerful people on the planet. This trashcan can make every one of our lives infinitely more difficult if he wishes. This, we have in common.
And I think this is bloody fantastic.
Because I haven’t seen any words of hate. There have been a few choice words around Trump, true, but my Instagram and FB feeds have been full of words of hope. Words of encouragement that we don’t have to let this be the end. That we decide how it plays out now. That we can choose to change our behaviour so that he doesn’t win. And if we do that, what an amazing movement that will be.
Many people have said that they are now scared of the world that they are bringing their children up in. Van Jones said a most beautiful piece questioning how can we tell our children to be decent human beings, to behave well, to not bully if we then elect a President who is the antithesis to all that is ‘right’.
Well, this is how.
We start treating each other with more respect, more kindness, more thoughtfulness; we show our children that these are values that stand true DESPITE of who is in charge; that NOBODY can take these values away, no matter what their job title is. If we behave like that, then that’s not a world that I’m afraid to bring my daughter up in – that’s a world that I’ll be darn proud to bring her up in. And I think that this would be bloody fantastic.
And finally, I couldn’t write a piece about what how great it is that Trump has won without mentioning all the good that he has done for females – he has created a global movement of nasty women. He has inspired millions and millions of young females to not just break, but annihilate any glass ceilings in their way.
This isn’t about a female President – everyone got quite caught up in the whole ‘Holy crap, a woman is running for President. An actual woman. With lady parts and everything’. This shouldn’t have been the focus. Why the hell shouldn’t a woman be up there running for centre stage? If we believe in girl power, why the heck was everyone so surprised? I felt that at times it became more about Hillary being a woman than it did about what she stood for – and that was another downfall.
I bloody love Hills, don’t get me wrong. But if i’m reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally honest, I think that there are many other strong, powerful women who would have inspired more confidence in their abilities to rule the nation. After all we want a leader who will go in there and grab a situation by the balls – be that a male or a female leader. And, for me, Hillary didn’t have that edge to her. Not because she was a woman, but because that’s just her.
But, anyway, that’s irrelevant. This isn’t about her winning a presidency. This is about her winning hearts and minds. When I heard her concession speech, I just knew that there will now be many parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents of little girls who will start to see that little girl in a different light – they will see a possible world-changer. And we would have never heard that speech if she had won. And so I think that this is bloody fantastic.
So let’s raise a glass to Trump and thank him for putting us in such a terrible situation that we have become more united, better informed, and more inspired than ever before. There is a buzz of resolve and determination. And I think this is bloody fantastic.
So let’s get through the next four years together, and remember – stay nasty!