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Friday, 11 November 2016

In the Belly of the Beast

We have become what our grandparents fought against.

In the UK, people let a right-winger trample over human decency and truth in a way that would have done the old Apartheid government proud, and then wondered how they voted themselves out of the EU and why the pound was doing a gentle backstroke in the toilet.
(I've been told to get over the Brexit thing. Since I'm currently on the receiving end of open hostility in public because of my accent, and I've heard horror story after horror story from friends and strangers about outright physical and verbal abuse,  and since a fairly shallow review of history points out rather emphatically that a country that devolves to an isolationist, rabidly nationalistic stance is usually mere years away from being the aggressor in a war designed to lift the economy it systematically destroyed through that stance - no. No, I fucking will not get over it.)

Then the USA came along, dropped a turd in the same damn toilet bowl, sprayed it orange, and elected it president.

Trump spent the campaign legitimising hate speech against everyone who isn't a white male. He made it okay to sexually assault women. He let everyone know it was just fine to destroy people who are other, different in skin colour, religion, language and sexual orientation. He didn't just let the genie out of the bottle, he gave it a bottle of rum and a hand-job and fed it until it was running on its own power. He hatched the hydra.
Granted, that didn't take much; the racists in the US and the rest of the world have been having an orgy of hysterical proportions since Obama got in. Once Trump got his nomination, I imagine most of the Ku Klux Klan were in thankful tears. Isn't that a lovely, heartwarming frigging thought?

Then Trump gave his victory speech and I face-palmed so hard I have no clue how I stayed conscious. He talked about mending the fabric of society and was ever so bloody gracious. Plenty of people paid attention. The media reported it, played it ad nauseum. The republicans that disavowed him weeks ago fell over themselves to  talk about what a great start it was. The moderates who couldn't trust Hilary with the security codes but decided someone they wouldn't leave their 16 year old daughter alone with was a better alternative. They're all over social media, telling us to give him a chance, despite him operating a campaign that would have got the Nazi party in its earliest incarnation run out of town on a rail. Most of these patronising folk are, strangely enough, straight white males.

Guess who never listened? I'm guessing these guys. And these. And these. And guess what? They aren't going to. They got the permission they wanted to brutalise the other, and the person who gave them that permission is about to run the country. Their views have been vindicated. They used Trump as much as he used them.
Right now Trump could beg them to stop and they'd ignore him. They don't need him anymore. The
genie outgrew the bottle months ago; the hydra won't be stuffed back in its egg sac -  and monsters always demand blood.  Make no mistake, people are going to die over this. The only question is how many and how long it will take.

Today in the UK we celebrate the triumph of good over evil. Right now it's an empty exercise because as a species and a nation we haven't learnt a bloody thing.
For all the fancy parades and  wearing red poppies,  all the footage we've seen of cities and camps inhabited by doomed souls. The mass graves and the gun torn beaches. The things that started because countries chose to listen to power hungry men who chose scapegoats that were other.

We have become what our grandparents fought, and we should be sickened by it.

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