Nigel Austin 

author of The Robin Gibson series

​​​​​Posted 18th October 2016

Is hope enough?

I have tried not to become fixated by the US Presidential Election but it has been hard to resist, given the coverage and the content - and not in a good way.

In the wake of revelations about his sexual mores (he has none), Donald Trump has sought, characteristically, to take everything and everybody down as he flounders like a drowning man. He has lashed out at his party (assuming he was ever a Republican), at his accusers, at the media, at the electoral system and at the establishment, as well, of course, as maintaining his attack on Hillary Clinton. He has become the loosest of loose cannons, attempting to destroy anyone who gets in his way. Without a major shift during these last three weeks of campaigning, not only will he be defeated but also he will have inflicted severe damage on the Republican Party, almost certainly weakening it in Congress and leaving its reputation in tatters.

But that might only be the beginning of his legacy. Since the start of his campaign, he has stirred up a fervour of bigotry and hate the like of which has not been seen for fifty years. Many of his staunchest supporters, of which there is a frighteningly high number, have smelled blood, liked it and want more. Many can’t grasp or won’t accept facts and anything that challenges their saviour’s opinion is automatically a lie. On latest evidence, they seem unlikely to accept willingly an outcome that doesn’t see him in the White House. So there is the possibility of a sizeable element of society feeling aroused yet disaffected, from which it’s a short hop to being vengeful and doing something about it. If that seems too much of a leap, we have seen with Brexit that even winning hasn’t placated those who held grievances against the immigrants whom they saw as sufficient a problem to vote ‘Leave’. Hate crimes, in the form of abuse and violence have increased exponentially since the result and it is probable that many go unreported. If this is what can happen when that part of the electorate gets its way, what could happen when they don’t? The parallels are concerning!

Trump has opened Pandora’s Box and unleashed a tide of misogyny, bigotry and hate. Once out, it is difficult to control and nigh on impossible to put back. In Greek mythology, only Hope was left inside the box. Is that enough?