When the United Kingdom voted out of Europe, I was totally shocked. My brain froze, and I could not think. I thought it was some kind of joke, or mistake. Unfortunately it was not. Immediately I thought about the U.S. elections.After Brexit, I knew that Trump was going to win. When I saw the winner on Nov. 8, I was not shocked. I was expecting it. I probably would have been surprised if Clinton won.
However, this is not only an American “tragedy”; the western democracies are going through some very intense, nationalistic, turbulent and complicated times.
Britain is out; the National Front in France is rising; the AfD is gaining ground in Germany. In the Austrian presidential elections, the main candidates (one of them is a far right nationalist) are neck to neck. So, what is going on? The left capitalistic ideas have been ruling the western countries for the last 70 years, and there are at least two issues here.
First of all, these leading powers have failed (to a certain point, not totally) to deliver everything they promised, and people are mad about this. So, we see some figures (Trump, Le Penn) who criticize the system for being unfair and corrupted, and these people get voted in by the population. Furthermore, the left parties have moved to the right (I call them left capitalistic parties) and have pushed the right parties to other extremes. Therefore, there is a vacuum on the left side.
In addition, we have seen how real left politicians (who can fill the vacuum) like Sanders and Corbyn (in the U.K.) have been ridiculed and pushed away by their own parties, but these politicians are the ones who bring hope to the people. In this context, the people get angry with the system and vote for “anti-system” candidates. Now, are people like Trump, Farage, Le Penn, etc, right when they say that the system is rigged? Yes, they are. However, they don’t state the real reasons why the system is rigged.
The second issue is that, even though E.U. hasn’t been a perfect union, and the U.S. has not been the perfect country, both these political entities have improved the lives of millions of people. By improving some lives and giving more opportunities to some people, like women, immigrants, poor, people of color, etc., one has to take some control away from the privileged ones, usually the white people, and especially the white males. The latter are the ones rebelling louder, because they see how their control is fading, and they want the system to be changed. Even though these people are less powerful than yesterday, they are still the most powerful ones. So, they will vote against the E.U., against immigration, against gay rights, against women rights, or against people of color. This angriness and loss of privileges is being used by leaders like Farage, Trump and Le Penn to get the power.
Yes, the system is rigged. But, not because of the poor immigrants who come for a better life, work harder, pay taxes, earn less, make the economy grow—even though this oppresses them. It’s the fault of the big corporations and rich people that do not pay taxes, who treat the workers like animals, and then pay the media to lie to the rest of the society by saying that the immigrants are the problem.
Yes, the system is rigged. But, it is not the fault of women who want their rights. It is the fault of the men in power, who feel threatened if women get more power; so, they use religion, the media, and the money to make the masses believe that rights like abortion are horrible sins.
Yes, the system is rigged, and terrorism is real. But it is not the fault of Muslims and their religion. It is the whole political-social-economic context that one must analyze. 100 people do not represent 1 million; neither do 100,000 Muslims represent 1.6 billion. And furthermore, some of these terrorists were created because of the Western hegemony.
Now, I am not trying to justify terrorism, I am just trying to explain why it exists. Some people might say that Obama was a black president therefore racism does not exist anymore. I doubt it.
I think that a lot of white people felt threatened when seeing a non-white person sitting on a chair where only white males had sat before. To me these are some of the reasons that are making the people angry, not what Le Penn, and Trump say.
However, I don’t accuse the people who vote for them; I think that they are misinformed. I accuse the Pharaoh, not the slaves.
Despite everything, I think that America is more than the president. I think that Trump will be an awful president, but not the end of the world. Yes, the US might suffer, and maybe the world too, but there will be no WWIII because of Trump.
Maybe, he will not be as bad as most of us think. And what is more important, I think, is that his election will make America, and hopefully other Western countries, think. It will make the media, the political and economic system reflect, and improve.
For a long time the Western countries have been sleepwalking. America too, and Trump’s election is going to feel like a slap on the face that will wake the U.S. up. Maybe Le Penn is right when she says, “This is not the end of the world; this is the end of a world.” Let’s hope this is the beginning of the end of a selfish, corrupt system. Sometimes, nightmares wake us up and put us to work.