I have been reflecting on why I paid so much attention to the US elections. As someone who is often critical of the US government, its history, its foreign and domestic policy, why do I feel so attached to the outcome? It’s not like there was anything really progressive on offer. What has it got to do with me, here in Aotearoa?
1. As a follower of Ras Tafari, I support multilateralism and strong international institutions that can make global decisions, protect weak nations from the strong through collective security, and at least encourage adherence to international law. Trump’s withdrawal from international forums has weakened our collective ability to act on things like climate change, pandemic and disarmament, and his ego-driven forays into international diplomacy have encouraged despots.
2. I feel great empathy for the people who have been suffering under his leadership – in particular the children who have been separated from their families at the US border, and inadequately documented and tracked. I fear for where they have ended up and shudder to think of the abuse and ill-treatment some of them may now be exposed to, as a direct consequence of his cruelty and callous indifference. But it does not end there. He has encouraged fascists and racists and violent intolerance and the US will be a more dangerous place for people of colour and for progressive activists for some time as a result.
3. I stand in solidarity with the many people in the US who are fighting to protect the environment from even more plundering by multinational corporations, in particular indigenous people. Trump’s scything through US environmental protections, like his mini-me Bolsonaro in Brazil, comes at a time when protection of ecological integrity is critical, and sucks energy that could be usefully used elsewhere.
4. At a time when the feminine principle is being restored to power, when re-finding the balance is so vital, it is deeply worrying that a man who openly boasts of his ability to sexually molest women with impunity can be so popular. I do not see how anyone can see such a man as fit to lead any nation at all.
5. While some will rejoice at the ruination of the US under Trump, its loss of international standing, the gaping wound now opened in its ‘democracy’ I fear a world where China is unrivaled for power. Trumps has hastened the already obvious demise of the US, under the ironic slogan of ‘Make America Great Again’, and I wonder where the counterbalances to Chinese power will come from. Having the US become a failed state does not help anyone I think.
Yeah, so I am glad that Trump lost. Convincingly, if not by the landslide it deserved.