Notes From a Broad, November 2016: Trump’s Brave New World, Day 3.

I was greatly encouraged by the overwhelmingly supportive reaction to my previous essay ‘The New 9/11’. Having begun this series as a light-hearted look at life in the USA from the point of view of a newly-arrived immigrant, I fear that the theme may now take a darker turn, at least in the short term. I spent the past two days (has it really been only two days?) in a state of shock, as have most of my friends. By Wednesday morning I felt like I had aged twenty years overnight. My body ached; I couldn’t get warm. I felt like we were all survivors of a massive tragedy, hugging each other as though clinging to an upturned life raft after hitting the iceberg. That evening, I met my friend J.P. outside the theatre, ‘Welcome to America’, he said.

The irony is that, having spent so many months and so many thousands of dollars and pounds trying to get into the USA, I am now planning my escape. My timing, as far as emigration is concerned, was seriously awry. Despite the reassurances of my friends that as a legal permanent resident I probably won’t be on the list of deportees, I am of the firm opinion that

1) you can’t trust the word of a man whose policies right now are changing from day to day (I will scrap Obamacare, I will keep some bits of Obamacare) and

2) I cannot in good conscience remain in a country whose president-elect encourages hatred against, well, almost anyone who is not a heterosexual, white, able-bodied male.

My observation, for what it’s worth, is that between now and next January when Trump takes office, there will be a process of ‘normalization’. The public have such short memories and the shocking actions and rhetoric will be forgotten; the pageantry and razzamatazz will blind the populace so that the lawsuits, threats and mockery become acceptable, become the norm. And that is the point at which it all becomes much more dangerous.

I am very careful not to take everything I read at face value. I choose which news sources I read, I don’t have television. I don’t watch Fox News. Snopes is a pretty good fact-checker. I am not clever enough to argue and debate politics, and really don’t know how to respond to those who say ‘He might do something really good!’ or ‘It works both ways – if we support Trump then we are accused of being racists!’. Well, yes. If you really think Trump is actually quite a good chap then I’m sorry, but you are supporting his bigotry and his intolerance.

Right now the USA is the laughing stock of the western world. We thought Great Britain was bad enough with Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, but this takes, as we say, the biscuit. Prior to moving to America, I truly thought the grass was greener over here. We looked up to the USA as a world leader, progressive, inspirational. Now, looking back over the past twelve months since I arrived with one suitcase and a heart filled with hope for a new beginning, I realize that the USA is a third world nation. Its lack of affordable healthcare, the poor education of much of its population, treatment of minorities and gun culture mean that life is cheap. The general air of civility barely masks the undercurrent that a big fight will break out at any moment, like watching rival drunks in a late-night bar. Strangers strike up conversations with me, bragging about the bravado they display when they shout at Latinos to ‘go home’. I want to shout back at them ‘I’m an immigrant too!’ but I am too much a coward. I almost resent the fact that I am considered ‘acceptable’ because my skin happens to be white and my accent middle-class. I feel like the banished writer of Brecht’s poem, dismayed when the Nazis don’t burn his books along with the rest of the ‘forbidden literature’. ‘Burn me!’ I want to yell. ‘Burn me!’.

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3 thoughts on “Notes From a Broad, November 2016: Trump’s Brave New World, Day 3.

  1. Aurora J Stone

    I am sorry that your American dream is soured so, Marnie. I am so grateful I was called from there years ago and am now where I am. Dismay, distaste, disgust . . . the words are taking longer to find. Trump’s stand on climate change as well as his rhetoric about those who are not like him are terrifying. At least you have a place to return to which is safer, though not untroubled. My thoughts remain with you. Remain brave.

    Reply
  2. randomyriad

    I don’t agree with you that leaving is the moral thing to do. It is the practical thing, and I understand. It is not a moral stand to leave a place because of injustice or bigotry. It is immoral to stay and do nothing about it or support it. People are basically the same everywhere. No matter where you go there will by people who will create injustice and use power in the worst ways possible. It is just as likely the next place you go will face the same or some different social crises. It cannot be avoided. But I think it is alright to find a place where the government is working for the people and the system seems to work for everyone. You can’t just live there though you have to make sure that it stays that way. Any government worth existing needs vigilant guarding from human beings who let greed and fear rule their lives. What has happened here can happen anywhere people who care are not paying attention or have become arrogant and blind to fear and anger. I hope your life is good wherever you go, but pay attention to the opportunities to build communities of real diversity that include everyone. That is what makes a place worth living.

    Reply
    1. Rowena Payne

      Ever since I read your thoughts I cannot stop thinking about them. It’s been weighing on my mind, so god knows what it must be like for you. It seems to have crystallised the event for me, in a very personal way. I and many of my friends are aghast, cannot believe it and are deeply depressed that Trump is President incumbent. It has the most frightening portent for the future of the civilised world as we know it. As one friend said, hell and handcart come to mind. I say it’s like a bad, bad recurring nightmare that we can’t escape and it keeps coming. I wonder if you might think of sending your thoughts to the Guardian and any other papers you think would listen, entitled ‘view from the inside’ or some such. My thought being, it would cast a really personal light on this tragedy in the making. There has been a wealth of political and historical analysis, your personal view would be so valuable, making it easier for people to stop, connect and think. I am hoping it will give those who, and I’ve already heard a few of them in conversation, explaining Trump as ‘you know okay really, it’s just the left wing press bad mouthing him’!!!!, pause for thought. It might be a small step to preventing normalising him. It might at least, make you feel you are doing something. However, you may also feel it’s pointless and I would understand that too.
      As far as leaving goes, that’s a very natural reaction and all I can say is, like any of life’s challenges it’ll be exhausting finding the right decision for yourself and your husband.
      I really, really wish you strength and perseverance.

      Reply

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