President Tr*mp, Brexit & Isolation

November 9, 2016

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I wake up today feeling groggy and impossibly cold. Thoughts are not yet verbal, and in my minds eye I see an image of Hilary Clinton. I lurch to my phone, barely awake. What had happened? Frustratingly, my phone won’t connect to Wi-Fi, so I just squint at a blank screen for about 15 seconds in confusion, still waking up. Ryan’s voice reaches my ears: “It’s not looking good, baby”.

I turn, barely my second movement of the day. My eyes are not really open but I know Ryan is awake and at the end of the bed getting dressed for work. “What? Trump’s in?” I croak. “Yep. Over 270. He got Florida. Result came in around 6” says Ryan. He sounds calm, and yet my heart feels like it is plummeting. My phone finally connects to internet, as though it were waiting for confirmation from Ryan that it was ok to let me see the news. I feel a rush around my head, although there is no wind, and tears are in my eyes before I have even processed what I am hearing.

That was the story of this morning. I have been writing and re-writing this post all day since that moment. I feel utter, utter desperation that Trump has triumphed. Trump’s clearly a narcissistic, misogynistic, racist sociopath who shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the nuclear codes. The debates were a joke, the campaign bizarre and unprecedented. So soon after we, the British people had fucked up, no way would America do the same, I thought. Clinton is a leader, Donald is a joke. And yet, here we are. What the fuck? People talk about “the work to be done”. What if I don’t want to work on repairing the country? That is supposed to be the job of the politicians. We should have the police to keep us safe, not to kill us. We should have medical professionals to help us and our bodies, not a choice between expensive paywalls and underfunded charities. We should have governments and ministers leading us how to look after the environment, not grassroots movements trying desperately to keep the meagre laws that already exist intact.

I exist in a bubble of artists, performers and writers. The vast majority of people in my life are like me: working in arts and entertainment, politically left, vegetarian or vegan, and in their 20s or 30s. Though I know it’s not really the case, I imagine the rest of the world is mostly made up of these kinds of people. It’s all I see and all I know, and all I have known for many years. I am Average Joe. Through university and my first few years in the adult world, the people I surrounded myself with became a point of honour. It is only recently I have felt confusion.

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The biggest shock of the 2015 UK general elections was that I was in a tiny minority. I knew there were people not like me and everyone I know, but I didn’t realise they were the majority of the country. I was living in some sort of dream world, and the reality was David Cameron. I felt like I had slipped onto the wrong side of a hologram, or like I was stuck in some insane level of a game. Who the fuck voted for Cameron?! I realised I’d been in a bubble; maybe a London bubble, or an arts bubble, or a young people bubble.

Stupidly, I forgot I was in a bubble this year when Brexit rolled around. Fat bloody chance that will happen, I thought. But no. The majority of the country voted for an openly racist campaign of lies. I remember ranting at my Dad when the news came out: who are these people who voted Leave? Who the fuck are they? Where are they? Why don’t we see them on the streets? Are they in my twitter feed? Are they silent Facebook friends? Where are they?!

I forgot, again, that I am living in a bubble, when the US elections rolled around. It’s hard to understand how the other half is thinking, because I live in a bubble. Nobody near me has any insight. Occasionally somebody will start with “oh, you know, the pissed off miners in the north”, or “oh, you know, the crazy, racist redneck people in the middle”. Actually, no, I don’t know. I don’t know about these small, isolated extremists and I don’t know, apparently, about over half the country, because I live in a bubble.

In my own extensive American family we may well have a Trump voter: my Mum refuses to talk to them, or me, about it. Why? I’ve ended up in blazing arguments before with her racist relative but my Mum is not the fighting kind*. In my boyfriend’s family there is a racist Leave voter in plain sight. I am not allowed to meet them, because I am not white, and may not be safe. I will never set foot in Ryan’s whitewashed, Leave-voting home village again, because last time I was there I got stared at in Sainsburys. It would be hilarious if it didn’t feel like every day was a step towards a more frightening place.

Photo on 20-02-2016 at 11.36

How is that ok? People don’t want to have the difficult conversations, so they don’t, and then shit like this happens. My instinct is to run away, but that solves nothing. I hold UK citizenship, but I am eligible for citizenship in a further 4 countries, one being the US. I could apply for Mauritian citizenship; they are a small, conflict-free country (above). They have a female, academic president who has a pHD in organic science, and is a biodiversity expert. I could probably live a very happy life in Mauritius, but… I don’t want to. I want to live in New York, or London. I don’t want to be scared to visit my family in the US, but I am: I’m not white, I’m a woman, I have Muslim ancestry and connections. Ryan and I visit in December. Will I be allowed in?

It’s hard to know why these things happen. People rattle off phrases like disenfranchised voters and lower working-classes, but the stats tell a different story. Why are white women voting for Trump? Why isn’t feminism reaching people? Why are young white males with college degrees voting for Trump? What are people scared of? When people look past the racism and lies, what do they see? Why do people put the racism to one side and let fear of “migrants” overtake them?

Why did we have so many young people regretting votes in this country? Is it education? Nobody had explained how a referendum worked? Nobody understand the polling system? Maybe the Leave voters once clicked on a pro-British meme via Facebook in passing, and the algorithms meant next time they logged in they had 5 pro-UKIP status’s and an invitation to a rightwing page. Maybe it’s confusion, or lack of education. Or a shit, ineffective protest. I don’t know.

This is a very inarticulate blog post. I have a lot of things I want to say, but nothing new. I have nothing particularly illuminating – I just don’t want to live in a bubble anymore. I want to be in touch. And I’m tired, and exhausted, and scared, and I feel very isolated. And even though I know a lot of people are feeling the same way, it’s not really helping.

9 comments so far.

9 responses to “President Tr*mp, Brexit & Isolation”

  1. I totally understand and I am shocked as well. I didn’t wait to see who won, but I went to bed with the intuition that it could be Trump the winner… and when I woke, yes, that was it. Immediately I thought of not going to the US anymore. One of my sisters-in-law lives there. Believe me, it’s not about being white or not. She is translucent, but holds a nationality that he may not like. So everybody is in the same boat now. Time will tell us what to expect. If we postpone our trips for 8 years in the future – he already talked about being reelected! Or what – this “or what” really scares me. I can’t believe this is 2016 and people still change the world in a bad way. True, I respect everybody’s opinions – so if they want him, be it. The majority wins. But I am still shocked and hoped for Hillary to win.
    DenisesPlanet.com

  2. Marneymae says:

    hi. for what little it’s worth, it’s NOT the majority of the country – Clinton got the “populist vote”, that is, she literally received more votes – however, due to the antiquated system here of the “electoral college” (which should be gotten rid of as it no longer serves its initial, intended purpose), Trump won the election.
    i was just attended two vigils. one Black Lives Matter, and one a gathering of people around “love”.
    in my over 500 “friends” on FB, only two were out Trump supporters. yes, i live in NY state (which went “blue”, as it always does), i’m from Illinois, which thankfully Il goes blue, too – but it’s in the midwest – which both swings or is purple or “red”.
    anyhow – my friends and i are flattened by this.
    here’s a twitter link you might appreciate seeing

    https://mobile.twitter.com/EByard/status/796317753749729280

    so much shame and embarrassment in my world.
    deep bow to you.

  3. janedeluminators says:

    Brexit and then the US election made me ask a lot of the same questions as you. As someone who is more left wing/socially progressive the major party that I preference in my vote here in Aus is the one more aligned with the working class, but it looks like the working class hates people like me too. So I have no idea how to think about things anymore. I guess the one consolation from the US election is that Hillary technically got more votes, it’s just the electoral college system that gave Trump the win.

  4. Thank you for writing this. You know it’s a total shitshow when the entire world watches in disbelief. Watching this unfold last night was sickening. Today was spent mostly in mourning. Not just for Hillary’s bid as president, but all that her presidency would’ve represented. It is a sad day.

    I’m sorry you had to endure such racism. It is awful and astounding that people can still be that way in a time where society is supposed to be progressive.

  5. Jaina says:

    There’s a lot that happened, or perhaps didn’t happen, that brought us here—to a Trump presidency. From what I’ve read, there’s been a heavy feeling of utter disenfranchisement with the state of politics in the US. People want change, and want it in any way they can get it. And some do believe that having Trump in power will give them that change. Unfortunately.

    I have a feeling they’ll be a bit of disappointment from Trump voters and supporters, much like there is with Leave voters of Brexit. He made a long list of promises that he’s already turning his back on, or simply not commenting on.

    Only time will tell how this will all play out.

  6. I find the election results terrifying and I’m white. I can’t even begin to fathom what poc are going through but I know I feel heartsick about it. One of my close friends moved to America to marry his husband and has no idea what’s going to happen with plans to repeal any progress made by LGBTQ people. I do wish people in the UK would realise that it’s not a million miles away from what we have here though. No one should be afraid to go anywhere, meet anyone or go on with their lives fearing judgement and it’s so frustratingly, maddeningly sad that it’s the case.

    Your blog is beautiful- keep writing

    X

  7. shannoms says:

    i live in NYC and it’s been so surreal, the past few days. i recently wrote about it if you’d like to check it out! it’s interesting to see what you feel about it since you’re abroad– i feel like i’ve been so insulated and am only wide enough to handle the american backlash. i’ve barely even thought about the affect this has had on people in other parts of the world too. i read your initial post on the brexit and how it made you feel and i empathized at the time but now? now i know the extent of the pain you felt when you wrote it. good luck, stay safe, much love from across the sea <3

  8. […] I feel like I’m still reeling from the Trump announcement which I’ve covered here, but I have nothing more to add yet. So, here’s some pictures of Apple Day..! These pictures […]

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