It is an uncomforting truth that the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States isn’t really affecting me as an individual.
For one, it doesn’t make the fact any less terrifying with regards to the global geopolitical balance.
For another, I have countless friends and loved ones who will be affected as individuals because America is their home. Most of them are women, which makes it all the more horrifying that the greatest nation on Earth™ has just elected a man who’s been accused of raping a 13 year old girl.
In a way, that opening statement is a lie. This is affecting me as an individual, because it brings home the truth that the world is run by white people who’ve never had to deal with any significant issues but feel like “the other” is taking away their right to be… I’m not sure what. Entitled dickheads?
To be fair, I am white. I’m heterosexual. I live in a safe place where I don’t have to worry about drones or people mugging me when I step outside.
And it makes me so angry. I hate that I am one of the white people as much as I hate that I am a man, because both groups do really terrible things to a lot of other people who aren’t white men.
For a while, my anger was primarily aimed at baby boomers. They still deserve a significant amount of hatred. They were born into economic prosperity and a peaceful world; all they could think to do with that was amass ridiculous amounts of wealth, blow it all up in a devastating financial crisis and vote for (far-)right policies that have already ensured that their children are the first generation since WWII who are worse off than their parents.
But it’s not just generation X that has turned out to be a self-entitled bunch, it’s also my own generation. When you look at the results from the American election, a lot of white young people have fallen into the alt-right trap.
Alt-right… it sounds like something that could be a reasonable choice, but it’s just a fancy word for misogynist racists.
And there’s a party for these populists in pretty much every Western country, whether it’s UKIP here in Britain (as well as the BNP, though they’re far less relevant), or AfD in Germany or, it pains me to say, in my former homeland Luxembourg, where ADR is waving the far-right banner.
Tellingly, the A in both AfD and ADR stands for “alternative”.
Don’t bother telling anyone though, because they will shout back that [insert populist party here] is really just looking out for the little man. Have you noticed how it’s never the little woman?
All of this isn’t news, of course. Neither is a white man with a laptop writing an angry blog post about the fact that the world isn’t working the way he would like it to be. I’m aware how privileged I am.
And this isn’t about that anger. Not really. It’s about the fact that I feel profoundly powerless.
I’m angry on Twitter because I don’t know where else to focus it. But I want to focus it. I want to make a change. I don’t want to be the voice of reason but I want to be a good person who cares.
I don’t want to join a political party because none of the options are even remotely close to the ideals I have – though there is a certain irony in the fact that the Lib Dems of all people are somehow becoming the only electable party.
I want to donate more money to charities but thanks to the sheer amount of nightmares that are happening in the world, I feel overwhelmed when it comes to making a choice about which charities. I still donate (and you should, too), but it just doesn’t feel enough.
What my generation – what the world – could really use is a leader to get behind. I don’t necessarily mean a political leader, but someone who stands up to the right-wing propaganda machine and makes a difference. Someone who manages to take this frustration and focus it.
Someone who will keep reminding us that this is not normal. It’s not normal that Stephen Bannon has entered the White House. It’s not normal that newspapers call judges “enemies of the people”.
History might be shouting at us what will happen next, but for some reason the vast majority of people refuse to listen. Just like last time.
So what do we do now?