By Opinions Editor Lawrence Dushenski
Now that the dust has settled and we are living with the reality of President-Elect Donald J. Trump, it is time to take a step back and not only look at how we got to the place we are today, but also what it means going forward for the United States and the rest of the world.
Many on the centre and the left were aghast at the results just a few weeks ago when Trump swept a series of swing states en route to becoming the 45th President of the United States. What was long thought to be a sure thing for Hilary Clinton turned sour in a hurry once many voters realized that she offered them little in the way of hope going forward. No one was downplaying the concerns about Trump, but at least he was able to offer some rhetoric about what he planned to change.
We are now ankle deep in the process of Trump selecting his Cabinet members, and thus far it has been nothing short of what many expected. One of his first appointments was Steve Bannon as his chief strategist. The white nationalist is best known for his work with Breibart News, and has done his best to normalize racist, sexist, homophobic and xenophobic attitudes and language. This is the man at with arguably the strongest voice in the ear of the next President of the “free world”.
Trump is now being hailed as the leader of the alt-right, a convenient name for a loosely organized group of keyboard warriors that spend their days espousing the virtues of hateful policies and practices the world round. These are the people that you see on social media spewing hateful vitriolic statements about Hilary, minorities, and women. The hate crimes against countless groups of identifiable groups in the weeks following Trump’s election are the type of activities that these individuals usually call for, however they typically lack the backbone to actually carry out any such actions.
But the hate has become normalized, and we are being asked to “wait and see” on President Trump. Give him a chance! He might be okay! If we are to truly give him a chance to assemble his dream Cabinet of the most hateful, right-wing individuals that he can imagine, it will already be too late. The drastic shift towards exclusionary policies will not be sudden, but rather it will be a slow undoing of the policies and laws that have been drafted in the past twenty years. From reducing restrictions on banks to increasing the barriers to reproductive care, we are going to see a gamut of policies that one could not have imagined just a few short years ago.
How is this going to impact the rest of the free world? Well we have seen a sharp shift to the right in global politics in recent months and years. Theresa May is sitting comfortably at 10 Downing Street right now. Marine Le Pen is making a strong move towards becoming the next French President. Inward looking, exclusionary politicians have made inroads throughout Europe, and more are sure to follow. The fear of the outsider will see the borders grow tighter and the rhetoric increase. Identification cards for Muslim Americans is a policy that is being seriously considered by the Trump administration, with Japanese internment being used a “legal” precedent for such a practice.
The exclusionary rhetoric following the Brexit vote was not difficult to find. Many people voted Leave not because of their views on Brussels or Strasbourg, but rather because of their hate of the immigrants making their way into the United Kingdom, and the idea that leaving the EU would force all of these “outsiders” out of their sacred country.
The right is rising. Hate is rising and becoming normalized at the highest levels of government. At this point it is hard to say what to do, except to stand with your friends and family of all colours, sexual preferences and gender identities. Do not stand for hate even if it is not focused on you.