Thursday, 10 November 2016

Oh 2016, what have you done? | The US Election & Hope in the Face of It

I don't know how to begin writing about the US presidential election result. But I'm going to try to because in times like these there is nothing more important than not allowing hate to divide or weaken us. Needless to say I am absolutely heartbroken. No, I am not a citizen of the United States and Donald Trump will not be my President. But, no matter what Theresa May might say to this, I am a citizen of the world and that world feels pretty broken right about now. And that leaves me heartbroken.

I have been so privileged in my nineteen years of existence to grow up in a society that has been largely progressive, liberal and accepting. In my short lifetime I have been witness to gay marriage being legalised, the first African American president of the US being elected and UN campaigns such as HeForShe and the Global Goals fighting for equality and promoting opportunity for all to name just a few great and progressive things that have occurred over the past two decades.

Yes, there has of course nonetheless been inequality and hate and injustice taking place all over the world during that time. But, in studying the history of the past two centuries, it has always seemed to me that there is no doubt that Europe and the United States of America have been on the path to progression. Step by step and no matter how long it takes, I have believed that we will get there - that the journey we are on will only be forward, because, surely by now we have learnt that this is the right thing. That blaming and shunning minorities will get us nowhere. That hate will unquestionably lead us to darkness.

And yet this year we seem to have veered off the path I was so sure we were set on as liberal, progressive nations. Instead of going forward we have taken many steps back. A nation that claims to be the land of the free has gone from electing the first African American as their president to electing one who is undeniably racist, misogynistic and hateful. My own nation has decided to leave an international organisation on grounds of the belief that our own Prime Minister stated to consider oneself a citizen of the world is to be a citizen of nowhere.

I am so full of sadness at this. I simply cannot comprehend that we haven't learnt from our past mistakes that oppression and hate masking itself as nationalism achieves nothing but destruction. I suppose as a history student I should have clocked on by now that human nature is cyclical and that it takes us an incredibly long time to achieve true progress. I know that things will be ok and I do believe that we will continue to move forward, no matter how long it takes. But that does not negate the heaviness in my heart right now.

For now I choose to take comfort despite that heaviness in my heart in the fact that so many people feel the same as me. That we are not alone in wanting to fight for progress, for acceptance and for love. And that I will not give up hope on us finding that path again towards growth and taking those wonderful and vital steps forward that humanity can achieve when it comes together with the right intentions.

If you feel as I do about all of what has taken place over the past few months I'm just going to leave this video here. John Green once again sums up what I feel better than I ever could have done.

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