As you may have noticed (if you've known me for a while), I rarely get into politics. It's a nasty business, and can quickly destroy friendships that have lasted for years. However, I can't really contain my shock at the results of the US election. You might argue that I'm neither a US citizen, nor do I spend a significant amount of time there to be directly influenced by any new policies. However, the US has unparalleled influence over the rest of the world, for better or worse. And there are two problems I have with Donald Trump being elected president. One being that he seems completely unfit for the job, and I'm not talking about mere political correctness, which in itself is a debatable topic. I'm talking about the things he said being outrageous, and the things he said he'd do once elected being even more outrageous. If a politician anywhere in the civilized world would utter any of his statements, he'd be forced to resign by just about everyone around him. I'm no fan of Clinton, but if I had the choice of stubbing my toe or falling down a flight of stairs, I would seriously consider kicking the next wall. But Trump still persevered, to the shock of the rest of the globe, except for the gleeful dictators of Eastern Europe like Erdogan, Putin and Orbán.
And that brings me to my second point: Right wing nationalist parties everywhere rejoiced upon hearing of this victory, a victory of aggression and trash-talk over reason and sanity. Many people quickly began calling Trump supporters racists and sexists, homophobes and whatnot. I'm sure that not all people who voted for him are. But the surge of racism, xenophobia and fearmongering has skyrocketed, just as it did after Brexit. The stupid and simple minded feel that they have won, that they can go further, that they can go up to people who don't appear to be caucasian and tell them that they'll now finally be deported. The word deported alone rings alarm bells if you're German, bringing back the memory of what happened here during the reign of terror.
I fear that while the majority of the population is weary of politics, with no really likeable candidates from large, old parties, it will inevitably lead to the rise of extremists, because those always cast their ballot. I sincerely hope that this will not happen. Here in Germany, the AfD, the "Alternative for Germany", is gaining unprecedented momentum. A party that, like Trump, is not part of the "establishment" or "elite", usually making headlines through fearmongering against refugees, with one party member thinking aloud that if refugees were to refuse to be stopped at the border, it would be the rightful thing to shoot them. She later backpedaled, saying that children, perhaps, should be spared, but not their mothers, those could still be shot. And this is just one example. When the car of one high ranking party member was torched, she publically asked why there was no widespread condemnation of such a criminal act. But nobody in her party ever spoke up when dozens of refugee accommodations were torched in the past months here in Germany, when people actively interfered with firefighters who tried to put out the blaze.
This is the kind of thing we're dealing with. Thanks to extremists who propose simple "solutions", like building a wall, deporting all Muslims, "solutions" we know will never work to stop the global problem of refugees, wars, illegal immigrants, or whatever else people feel like threatens their cushy lives. As I seriously don't think many Trump voters live in war-torn places or have to fear for their lives every day. But people with simple minds buy it. They want simple solutions to complex problems, and that seems to be were their horizon ends. They don't seem to have any fear about the current shift of power towards nationalism, towards a future where the rights of women, gays, immigrants, those who are not the majority, are in danger of being taken away again. Everything that was slowly built up seems to be in danger of a quick and merciless teardown by those who get angry about women getting abortions, gays getting married, and other things that don't have any effect on their own lives, while not having any problem whatsoever to disenfranchise others, make their lives worse, impose their will on them. They don't seem to understand that democracy doesn't meant that anything that the majority says is okay. Slavery, segregation, relationships between consenting adults being illegal, I'm sure there were majorities for all of that at one point. That doesn't make wrong right.
I sincerely hope that we won't drift back towards the dark ages, and that people will stop sitting at home when it's election day. Personally, I'd be in favor of compulsory voting. I just can't really bear to watch how perhaps a quarter of the population decides what the other three quarters also have to endure, because half the population refuses to make use of the right that others have died for. I know, we all heard that one a thousand times. But it's not exactly hardship or rocket science to make an informed choice once every few years. It really isn't.
So no matter where you live, if you have the possibility to cast a vote, by all means, do it.
And don't vote for extremist shitheads, but that's just my personal opinion.