Like the sudden loss of a healthy, dear friend, it takes a few days for the reality to sink in. When it does you shed a tear, remember the times of joy, start to come to terms with the awful void and begin the process of moving on. The loss of the America that was my mother’s is as tragic as that to me. For anyone who thinks the election of Donald Trump as President is not tragic, consider this.
Britain and her Allies would have lost WWII without American intervention. Europe would not have rebuilt after the war without the European Recovery Program known as the Marshall Plan. Russia would have taken control of the West through Cuba without the strength of President Kennedy. More recently, the world’s financial system would have melted down without the work of the Fed. America has been the world’s policeman, rock, point of democratic reference and source of stability.
All that is to go. President-Elect Trump has said so. The future of NATO is in the balance. Trade with the developing world is in the balance. Narrowing the gap between rich and poor is not in the balance – it is not going to happen. Most things we describe as civilised, polite, dependable behaviour, inclusiveness, tolerance, love of fellow human being, have been voted as worthless by roughly half the American voters.
Where I thought Brexit was an act of short-sightedness, I see Trump as an act of unmitigated disaster. It sends a message that unacceptable behaviour wins, beastliness rules, idiocy reigns. Decency, politeness, reason, logic have been voted useless. Thoughts for your children and future generations are irrelevant. “Me, now” is all that matters.
Worse, the financial markets – after an initial blip – have endorsed all the things Trump has been elected for. Outrageously increased indebtedness will surely push stock markets higher. I had understood that all rational, thinking people were of the opinion that old fashioned capitalism needed reviewing and modifying. Under Trump the contrary seems to be the order. I thought were trying to provide healthcare for all who needed it. Not at all – President-Elect Trump believes that if you can’t pay, you don’t get.
If there is a discernible Trump programme it is boom and bust x 100. If the people he appoints around him share his views and turn them into policies, he will cause the biggest financial and social breakdown the world has ever seen. Hostile powers, whether terrorists, economic predators or power-hungry autocrats will have a field day.
The first duty of a government is to protect its citizens. In the past that has often meant building walls. They were never successful except in the very short term. Today protecting your citizens means building working, durable relationships both for commercial and for social safety reasons. Any other relationship risks developing into destruction of the species.
The duty of a leader is to lead, not to incite.
Trump has proved himself an inciter. He has yet to demonstrate that he can lead.