The rapidly worsening situation in the United States of America is, in my opinion, reflective of the volatile political climate that can be observed in the remainder of the western world. The very concept of a seemingly uneducated real-estate tycoon, Donald Trump, contending against an untrustworthy corporate sycophant, Hillary Clinton, is unnerving to me. All across the remainder of the world, it is fair to say many are looking on with fear and dread, as they await for the results of that fateful November day.
It has become increasingly difficult to treat Donald Trump with even an ounce of gravity. Though, I refuse to cite his involvement in reality television or his connections with Playboy magazine as valid reasons for this; as many of his critics have a tendency to do. Instead, one should simply analyse his grotesquely out of touch policies that could potentially be implemented in the event of him attaining the presidency. The truth of the matter is, Trump is causing a major factional fallout in the GOP at a scale never before observed. Many traditional Republicans who have stood by the party all their adult lives are now turning towards more favourable alternatives, such as the Libertarian Party’s nominee, Gary Johnson. Steadfast Donald Trump supporters are either deeply frightened by the uncertainty of the future, or are distasteful bigots.
His infamously racist rhetoric is so ludicrous it transcends far past laughable, and is furthermore damaging to the current fragility of American interracial relations. Trump’s bigoted views counter the commendable progress made by the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement in recent times, on the front of bringing institutionalised racism to mainstream attention. Apparently, he possesses no respect for the U.S.’s oftentimes forgotten citizens either, the indigenous peoples of the tribal nations. His constant usage of the name ‘Pocahontas’ to disparage supposedly partially Cherokee senator, Elizabeth Warren, is insensitive and completely inexcusable. This petty name-calling recently reached a new level when it was discovered that if one searches online for ‘pocahontas.com’ they will be redirected to Warren’s website. Fortunately, Senator Warren is more than equipped to tear down such idiocy and illogic.
On top of everything else, Trump’s disconcerting vow to prohibit the entry of all Muslims into the U.S. – apart from the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan – is beyond preposterous, and will achieve absolutely nothing positive. The same can be said of the wall he intends to have constructed along the U.S.-Mexico border. Many of his supporters cite the Korean Demilitarised Zone for the plausibility of this proposed wall – however, the K.D.Z. is 250 kilometres in length, whereas this wall of hatred would span for more than 3,200 kilometres. Even the motto of Trump’s campaign tickles the epitome of problematic – ‘Make America Great Again!” – as it questionably ignores the dark past the U.S.A. has had. America was never by definition ‘great,’ it was a nation built largely upon a toxic foundation of greed, genocide, slavery, environmental exploitation, and warfare. My views are most certainly not anti-American, the innumerable and impressive achievements of the nation ought to be celebrated. However, I do believe that Trump’s campaign should have its focus more on the future and not on the past.
As I am writing this, the U.S, and greater global community, mourn the tragic and needless loss of 49 innocents in a wanton killing rampage at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, FL. Perhaps one of the most unsettling parts of this incident, the largest mass shooting in U.S. history, is it has not come as an especial surprise. The terrorist attack in Orlando resembles both the Paris attacks of late last year and the Brussels bombings that occurred last March – both of which claimed a total of 162 innocent lives, and the injury of an additional 708. The incident in Orlando, however, was committed by a lone American national – a reported self-loathing homosexual – with no known links to Daesh. The circumstances in the U.S. are inarguably embroiled in the matter of gun control – in the past 72 hours, there have been 93 gun-related deaths, not including Orlando. The U.S.’s annual firearms-related death rate per 100,000 is 10.54, a startling figure when compared to Germany’s rate of 1.01. The way in which the presidential candidates respond to this major obstacle is absolutely crucial.
In the aftermath of Orlando, Donald Trump almost immediately demonstrated, via his beloved social media, that he has neither tactfulness nor initiative.Rather than offering his condolences to the families that lost their loved ones, and extending a gesture of solidarity – Trump first praised himself for “being right on radical Islamic terrorism.” He then made a personal attack against President Barack Obama for refusing to use the term ‘radical Islamic terrorism’ in his address to the nation. Obama quickly noted Trump’s misbegotten prioritisation. To me, it is clear, there is no room for assault weapons on the streets of a respectable first world country. It should not take a mere matter of thirty minutes to purchase weaponry designed to kill. How many more harrowing, yet avoidable tragedies does it take before the U.S. realises this?
On the face of it, it would appear that the list of Donald Trump’s flaws is endless, and that his opponent would receive a one-way ticket to the White House (at least for the duration of one term), however, that is not necessarily the case. Although recent polls suggest Hillary Clinton will enjoy a victory in the presidential election with a sizeable margin, her track record has come back to haunt her. Clinton undoubtedly possesses an abundance of experience in American governance and politics, but it is difficult to ignore her inconsistent stances – some of which are controversial. Clinton is an awe-inspiring orator and is a symbol of hope to young girls all across the United States that they too can someday contend for the presidency. It is almost unbelievable that, in this day and age, a woman has not yet become president of the U.S. Nevertheless, I refuse to be dragged down by the widespread propaganda that her opponent in the Democratic Party Bernie Sanders is sexist, and that her genitalia will magically compel me to agree with her policies.
I am all for complete gender equality in all aspects of society. Many powerful female politicians inspire me profoundly, including Nicola Sturgeon, Wilma Mankiller, Mary Lou McDonald, and Leanne Wood. Yet, I feel as though Hillary Clinton does not represent me, or people like me. While she delivered an impressive speech about the topical issues of economic inequality and poverty, she donned a Giorgio Armani dress valued at 12,495 USD. At first glance, without any further research, her message appears relatable and supportable – unfortunately, this is not the case. Clinton does not represent the working class, she represents the corporations and the elite. For every single speaking engagement she delivers, Hillary receives an estimated 200,000 USD. Yet she had the audacity to state herself and her family were financially unstable when they left the White House.
Hillary is no stranger to “misspeaking,” a particularly worrying fact for an individual who was responsible for the foreign policy of the U.S. from 2008-2013. Clinton claims she was “instrumental” in the Northern Ireland peace process and the subsequent Good Friday Agreement. However, prominent Unionist negotiator Peter King openly questioned this self-applause, adding she had virtually no role to play in the talks and was absent from all key decision-making. Another notable lie that Clinton uttered, concerning Bosnia and Herzegovina, was when she stated she had to run for cover when she came under gunfire in Sarajevo. When in reality she was videoed laughing and smiling – generally having the time of her life – alongside her daughter Chelsea in a five-star hotel. She never even came close to the conflict, but she simply put it down to her famed “misspeaking.”
The greatest problem I have towards Hillary Clinton, however, is her campaign’s fishing for votes from the LGBT community. Her inconsistency reeks and to me, it is overbearing. In a 2007 interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Clinton made it clear that she did not support equal marriage, and over the past few years, she has accepted financial donations to the Clinton Foundation from countries that openly execute LGBT people. The fact Bernie Sanders has campaigned for equal marriage since the 1980’s, a time when it was not fashionable to do so, is indeed noteworthy. Hillary Clinton is an opportunist, in my opinion, and is not the right answer for the U.S.’s long collection of domestic problems. How can the ‘lesser of two evils’ be a legitimate option in such an important presidential race? As it is still evil.