Nigel Austin 

author of The Robin Gibson series

​​​Posted 23rd November 2016

Taking back America

World history is populated by leaders who believed they could do anything they wanted or, rather, get away with anything they chose to do. Whether stemming from unshakable self-belief, unbridled selfishness or delusion of the ‘divine right of kings’ variety, such individuals have rarely operated in the interests of the people they claim to ‘serve’. Frequently psychopathic and narcissistic, they invariably resent challenge and are not easily open to persuasion, unless addressing themselves in the mirror. They have an infinite capacity to ignore or even excuse their own flaws whilst exploitatively condemning any weaknesses they see in those who oppose them. It's not difficult to see where I’m going with this. Within weeks, just such a person will occupy the White House.

This dire state of affairs doesn’t stop there. Trump is gathering about him, in key positions, some the worst examples of right wing, racist dispensers of venom on the market today - Sessions and Bannon, to name but two. Yet none of these are to be feared more than the apparently unflappable and reasonable Vice-President Elect, Mike Pence. Indiana’s gain is the country’s great loss. One of the school of closet monsters who combines articulateness with stunted growth when it comes to women’s rights and sexual and religious freedoms, including those explicit in the American Constitution, he will be able, largely unfettered because of the backing of Congress and the Supreme Court, to deliver his bigoted, hateful agenda to the whole nation. He is well-practiced at trampling opposition from his time as state governor and can draw support from the growing phalanxes of creationists and others who would use a twisted interpretation of The Bible to justify their vile condemnation of anything and anyone outside their myopic gaze.

The US faces the situation of a population polarised like never before in living memory. Those who feel alienated by Trump and the Republicans face a long, hard fight but must conduct that struggle - channel their frustrations and fears - in ways that don't play into the hands of those who would sideline, contain and silence them. If nothing else, it is to be hoped that all will see the need to join the political debate, to become activists and to make their voices heard. It should no longer be regarded as acceptable to do nothing while others take the strain. Too many contributed to this outcome by not voting, either in the Primaries or in the General Election. 

As well as resisting this new tyranny, there is no time to lose in preparing for the next mid-terms. Houses need to be got in order and a priority should be the overhaul of the Democratic party. The DNC must stop the spin and face the truth about why their candidate lost. If they can’t do that, perhaps they should step aside to let the movement built so successfully by Bernie Sanders assume the mantle. It has the momentum and the appeal to become the main alternative to the Republican party - one that people would vote for because they support its platform rather than simply to keep the other party from winning. Responding to this particular nightmare scenario was never going to be easy.

‘Action this day!’ as Winston Churchill used to write. Buckle up; it’s going to be a bumpy ride.