It’s been roughly a year since I last addressed you as a collective. Like most people here, I’ve watched on in disbelief, but I have given you the benefit of the doubt. Not that I, personally, had a lot of doubt to begin with. Because there was very, very little question of what kind of president Donald Trump was going to be. Now, it turns out, he is the kind of president that closely resembles the type of person he is (surprise!), commonly described as „human excrement“.
We – Western Europe, pretty much – have been having a good laugh at your expense (not you, United Kingdom). I’ve never, ever, in my 40+ years of existence, seen news anchors on boring German public TV stations use words like „ridiculous“ for any elected official, let alone the President of the United States of America. There is no shortage of candidates (Duterte, Kim Jong Un, Erdogan), but no one else has ever made them lose their cool. Sometimes you can tell they’re trying not to giggle. As a collective, we are caught somewhere between dumbfounded incredulity and morbid fascination, looking at the train wreck that is the current US administration. We gave you the benefit of the doubt, and it’s actually worse than we thought it was going to be.
Yes, it has been as shit-show from the start. He can’t hire people for shit, and when he does, he unerringly chooses the most ludicrously inappropriate person alive to fill a position. It’s the Little Cabinet of Horrors. I don’t have to talk about Betsy deVos here, as her complete lack of qualification precedes her. Kellyanne Conway single-handedly invoked every dystopian vision ever by giving us „alternative facts“. Sean Spicer, in retrospect, sounded almost competent (given what he had to work with) when compared to Anthony „The Mooch“ Scaramucci, who, I’ll give you that, was at least hella entertaining. And let’s not even go into his hiring his friggin‘ family as „advisors“ and whatnot. I’m still waiting for #45 to appoint Bill Cosby as Secretary for Women’s Rights.
We need to talk about the Nazis.
And then there’s the matter of Chief Strategist Steve Bannon. The Breitbart Steve Bannon, conspiracy theorist extraordinaire, and all-around extreme-right dirtbag. Dear Americans, I don’t know if you spotted it, but your 45th president has trouble distancing himself and his government from literal Nazis.
See, I thought at least on the question of Nazis, we’d see eye to eye. This is not a grey area, there is no moral ambiguity: Nazis are bad. Bad hombres, so to speak. The atrocities they committed are (almost) unparalleled, and everybody knows this. There are still survivors of concentration camps, and they have told us, in books and talks, what they witnessed. Some of it is written down here. There are photographs. If you feel strong enough to see one, you can click here. But you shouldn’t have to click on those links. You were taught history in school. Or, in case you’re not the type to pay attention to teachers, Captain America told you the same thing: Nazis are bad. Nazis may, in fact, be the worst. You know who knows that Nazis are bad? The Germans. In Germany, it is prohibited by law to display any and all Nazi-memorabilia and/or symbolisms, or to propagate their ideology. It is illegal to be a Nazi in Germany. The US are out-naziing the original Nazis.
Ladies and Gentlemen, you should draw a firm line regarding how much abject bullshit you are willing to put up with, and that line should have been crossed last Saturday, when actual Nazis were marching through Charlottesville, under the protection of the police. Personally, I think you should have drawn that line way earlier, but I know, her e-mails, whatever. She did warn you, you know. But here you are, dear Americans, and this mess is now yours to clean up. Preferably before #45 drags the rest of us into a nuclear war with North Korea.
See, that’s the problem right here. We know that, for example, the president of the Philippines is a certified nutjob, but we have the luxury of ignoring him, because what happens in the Philippines, stays in the Philippines. Your mess? It spills. Every single time, all over the place, since the dawn of time. Why do you think the rest of the world is so preoccupied with your political climate? Is it because you are so breathtakingly cool that we cannot take our eyes off you? Or is it possibly because you have massive amounts of nuclear weapons, and a history of demonstrating very poor judgement?
We never thought you’d elect a less qualified person than George W. Bush. Forgive us, but that was such a low point in your history that we didn’t think you’d forget about it so darn soon. His presidency gave you a string of costly wars, both in money and lives, over what turned out to be, let’s say, „inaccurate“ information about weapons of mass destruction. His helplessness in the face of crisis, after 9/11, or Hurricane Katrina, was painful to behold. It was obvious that he was the puppet for Cheney and Rumsfeld, both very personally invested in the military-industrial complex. The Bush administration was a perfect example of the 1% mainly shovelling money into their own pockets. And then you went and made it worse.
Trump is not the cause, he is a symptom.
I won’t go into the details of how ridiculous the narrative of the „disenfranchised white male“ is, because I trust you to figure that out, yourself. I know my audience, you are not the people who elected this man. But it is important to understand that nobody’s saying that Trump is the root of the problem; he didn’t cause racism, or misogyny, or religious bigotry. He didn’t cause them, but he justifies them, he endorses them, he lives them by example. His racism, misogyny, ableism, and homophobia embolden the self-proclaimed victims of progress to display their own bigotry openly. The end result is Charlottesville. As somebody pointed out, back in the day, the Ku Klux Klan believed they had to hide their identities; the protestors last Saturday proudly showed their faces for all to see. Racism has gone mainstream under a president who mocks the disabled on TV, who grabs women by the pussy, and who advises police officers not to be too gentle when handling „thugs“. The protesters in Charlottesville made it abundantly clear that black lives do not matter. Meanwhile, the president keeps droning on about „violent people on all sides“. Hell of a time to develop a nuanced approach.
Take your country back.
I already gave you several pointers on how to do that the last time I wrote. There are democratic ways. Your Midterms are coming up, which give you the unique opportunity to vote in a bunch of Democrats. Maybe that way you won’t have to continually fear for your health care. And no, I don’t care how much you dislike the Democrats. The Democrats are not trying to kill minorities. They are not „just as bad“. Nothing is friggin‘ „just as bad“. Get over your fucking selves, especially if you’re white. Because if you’re white, and you’re not actively doing things right now, then you’re complicit in the problem.
Speak up. March. Get in touch with your local NGOs to see what you can do. Be the Social Justice Warrior you were meant to be. You will be the party-pooper. You will be the spoil-sport. You will lose „friends“ over it (hint: they were not friends). This is an uncomfortable time for all of us. But you, the good people, you will have to get into the fight now. Because it’s actually way to late, and all the lines have been crossed, but you cannot surrender now. You have a responsibility.