Trumped

Disappointed, but not exactly surprised. I was expecting Trump to win but hoping he might not. I was more surprised that Clinton was doing so well, just only yesterday.

Democracy is a crazy system. Really it is. In at least every other election, either a crazy person or a fool is elected. I’m not saying democracy is a bad idea. Only that it could be made to work better. It went wrong in America way before the actual vote, by selecting Trump as the candidate. People aren’t that bright when they come to vote, even the highly educated one. When they vote, they don’t think: “This is important. We need to elect someone who will be reasonable and rational, who is pro science, understands the economy, diplomatic even under pressure, sensible about immigration…” and so on. No, they say things like: “We don’t want a woman in the white house. She might have hysterics and press the button in a panic.” Or, “She should go to jail. No, I don’t know what for, the FBI should be answering that question. And if they don’t, she’s paid them off.” Or, “Trump was good on ‘The Apprentice’. I liked him. And he’s going to build a wall to keep Mexicans out and make Mexico pay for it.” The level of argument here is sub-purile. Of course it is. And yes, I know that he won’t find it as easy as he seems to think. And I know that Trump understood the voters and knew what to say to get their support. Because the average American voter is something like  an overweight redneck with a can of Budweiser in one hand and the remote in the other, and that’s true even of the non-redneck ones, the ones who wear suits and crouch over their laptop drinking latte and bourbon. It’s knee jerk politics. It’s soundbite politics. Can anyone remember a single soundbite that Clinton uttered? I know I can’t, and that’s worrying. It’s worrying because when the day of the election arrived, the voters said: “I know Clinton is probably OK, and Trump is an idiot, but… you know, he’s gonna build that wall!”

Also, people are running scared. Particularly, they’re  scared of Islamic Jihadism. Clinton was too ‘politically correct’. They felt  safer with Trump, even if it is an illusion of safety. People go by feelings. They walk into the polling booth and they think: “I’ll vote for Clinton. Yes, I will.” But their fingers hover in the air and they just can’t do it. Even without thinking, they vote for Trump, because they feel the fear running away as they do.

I have always maintained that elections are not won by people with the skills to run a country. They are won by people with the skills to win an election — which are different skills. Trump obviously has those skills in spades — he’s not called ‘Trump’ for nothing! He can play to the gallery, he can work his audience. Now he’s won, his work is done. In an ideal world he should stand aside and let someone who has a different set of skills take over. But this isn’t an ideal world. We’re stuck with someone with a flair for soundbites and catchphrases and no proven track record for actually doing the work. No one knows how good a president he will be. Maybe he’ll surprise us all, maybe he’ll pull some new tricks out of the bag, maybe he’ll listen for a change, maybe we’ll see a softer side, maybe…

But the maybes fall off the bottom of the page.

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About Zoe Nightingale

I am a writer of short stories, novels, poetry and non fiction.
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