America You Fucked Up, But Remember The Power Is Still Yours

Trump is President, that can’t be helped. So what happens now? It’s actually quite simple.

First, close the chasm that Trump created. Many have said that America has never been more divided, a trait that I think we can credit to the new President elect. To sew his seeds of power, Trump capitalised on fear and the key issues that would trigger an all out opinion war. And guess what! He prevailed. But now he now wants to be the saviour that brings America back together, “united”.

The reaction to this comment has been an understandable outrage, with the hashtag #NotMyPresident overpowering twitter. Peaceful and violent protests broke out in New York, Portland, Chicago, Washington DC, L.A., Boston, Oakland, Philadelphia, Richmond and even Dallas! Trump divided them and he will come to realise that he was the cause of what will become his own political nightmare.

The only way America is going to heal is to remember that one another is hurting. Trump was elected because of the pain felt in middle America, and now women, immigrants and the LGBTQIA community are hurting for fear that their country will also turn their back on them. Recognise your pain, recognise the unnecessary hate and collaborate to design a future that works for both sides.

Second is get INFORMED. This has been said time and again, but it’s more important than ever. With the amount of falsehoods promoted by the Trump administration, it’s easy to see where many got it wrong. He was considered the voice of transparency, while Hillary was the supposed liar. But you have many operating under false assumptions. One Trump supporter said to Waleed Aly at a Trump rally that he was pro-life as he wished to protect babies from being decapitated at birth. No – that’s not typical abortion protocol.  Use the information at your finger tips to form an educated opinion, and rally for the cause you support. But know your oppositions standpoint, and attempt to understand it from their point of view.

Third is speak up. Stop fighting one another, but remain passionate about what you believe in. Don’t let this man divide you any further. Be smarter, be compassionate, and rein him in when he goes too far. That’s how you’re going to survive the next four years.

Epilogue Do I blame America? Absolutely. But, not the Trump voters. Nearly half the population didn’t even turn up on election day. It is them that we really have to blame here. Everyone else was just exercising their democratic rights and voting for the candidate they supported. If you’re mad, and didn’t vote – this is on you, you’re complicit to his victory. But, moving on!

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How This US Election Could Actually Improve Democracy

Admittedly, the United States is teetering on the edge of having a potentially authoritarian President, however the fear of Donald Trump may actually be the kick in the ass that millennials need. Of course they are easy to dismiss, given their voting history, but the fear of Trump is powerful.

In the 2012, election between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, only 49% of people under the age of 30 voted. Low participation has aways been common amongst millennials in the United States, but reaching out to them has never been more important. Having just surpassed baby-boomers as the largest living generation, they could potentially be a powerful secret weapon.

This fact has not gone unrecognised in the lead-up to the election, with news streams calling Gen Y out, urging them to vote. Buzzfeed came forward with a 15 minute video, explaining the differences between both major parties; Vox has been running in depth analyses on the debates; Casey Neistat along with a string of YouTubers have announced who they will be voting for; and the never ending social media cycles are churning out more political hashtags than ever before.

The ramifications of low participation are immense and can be seen by the the shock result of the EU Referendum in the UK. 73% of young people were in favour of staying, but only 36% of millennials turned up on voting day. Many claimed they couldn’t decide what to vote for, or simply that they forgot when it was. There is no place for these excuses. If you’re unsure of anything – a parties policies, or the date of an election – just Google it.

Low participation rates however are understandable. Politics can be disheartening, particularly for Generation Y. When do politicians do anything for them? Whilst this is a valid point,the reason politicians don’t do anything for millennials is that it doesn’t earn them votes. Politicians provide policies for those who elect them, and older people vote!

But this election goes beyond the merits of a party, which is often the driving factor for voting. It has become a gamble of choosing the lesser of two evils; Hillary or Trump. This election could definitely be a turning point for US politics, but it could arguably strengthen democracy. Perhaps this atypical election was what was needed to bring the youth into the fold?

Black Lives Matter 

  

You don’t realise the gravity of something until you hear it chanted by thousands in Times Square. I was in New York last week when Alton Sterling was held down and shot. Images circulated in almost a pandemic fashion of him and his 15 year old son. This occurred around the same time as Philando Castile’s death in Minnesota. He was pulled over for a broken taillight and shot through the car window in front of his girlfriend and her 4 year old daughter.  

So here are the statistics as they stand. In 2015, 1,152 people were killed by police. 30% of the victims were black, 13% of US population is black and 97% of deaths resulted in no charges against police officers.

On Sunday protestors gathered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Peacefully they stood where Sterling had his final moments, facing down the military-like force of the police. New Orleans photographer Jonathan Bachman, who was covering the protests, captured the moment perfectly when Ieshia Evans (pictured above) stepped calmly out onto the road, in a flowing dress, and was ambushed by two police officers in heavy armour. 

In true Jon Snow Battle of the Bastards style  she was able to bring the police campaign to its knees, but in a beautiful and peaceful way.

You don’t need to be in America to know that racial tension is alive and well. The senseless killing of these men, however, has not gone unrealised and as we can see intimidation doesn’t work against the brave. Black lives matter.