Over the last few years, those who dare comment negatively online about Trump, have seen his supporters often come back with ‘you’ve just got sour grapes because your candidate didn’t win’. And now Boris Johnson has recently been returned to power with a vastly improved majority, I don’t doubt the same thing will be heard from his supporters too.
But let’s be clear here. If we hate Trump or Johnson, or Morrison or Bolsanaro or any other right-wingers who have either got power or are edging closer to gaining it, it’s not because of simply being miffed that ‘our’ candidate didn’t win.
No, it goes much, much deeper than that.
It’s because we know our quality of life, our incomes, our support systems, our physical safety and even sometimes our very lives, are at threat.
If you are working-class, poor, on welfare, homeless and/or jobless, you will be worse off under these so-called ‘leaders’.
If you are non-white, non-Christian, and/or either an immigrant or refugee, you will be worse off.
If you are gay, lesbian, bi, trans, queer, non-binary, or anything else not the conventional cis hetero, you will be worse off.
If you are autistic/neurodivergent, disabled or struggling with health issues, or trying to get help for your child in the public education system, you will be worse off.
The marginalised of all kinds (and remember that many of us fit into more than one of the above categories) will suffer. Some will even die, because of medical neglect, mistreatment, murder or, in some cases, suicide, when they give up trying.
In fact, if you are ANYTHING not firmly one hundred percent ‘mainstream’ and ‘normal’ – and sometimes even if you are – you will be worse off under these leaders.
The main group that will be better off are the already super-rich, the swaggering elite, the power-brokers and power-holders, the ‘inherited mega-money from Mummy and Daddy’ or ‘got rich by fleecing the poor and exploiting their workers’ lots. Even many of the middle-class will struggle (that is, even more than they currently are) to maintain their position, as an increasing share of the world’s money, power and resources ends up in the controlling hands of that elite.
Think I’m exaggerating? Or catastrophising? I wish I was. But it’s already happened in many places. Look at what’s been happening in the US, as so many protections, supports and basic rights and even jobs have been, and continue to be, ripped away from members of the above-mentioned groups. Look at the increased hate crimes in the US, against trans people, non-whites, gays, etc - and it’s not only happening in the US, but in Europe and the UK too. Look at Boris’s voting record on matters like health and education and welfare. Look at Australia, and the ‘religious freedom’ act being proposed there. Even in New Zealand, the current government is still struggling to undo years of neglect and damage to the social fabric done by a right-wing government. And that’s without even STARTING on what’s being done to the environment, everywhere.
So yeah, it’s not sour grapes, it’s because SO MUCH is at risk.
The reality is that the political world is not the same place it was thirty or forty years ago, when it didn’t matter that much which party you voted for, because they were all pretty ‘centrist’, it was more a matter of ‘left of centre’ or ‘right of centre’. But since the 80s the political landscape has drastically changed. This was when neo-liberalism began to rear its ugly head, and since then, a lot of countries have had at least one of their main political parties increasingly skewed to or captured by the right. And by captured, I mean they’ve gone way out there into foaming-at-the-mouth territory. Meanwhile, the previously ‘left of centre’ parties seem stuck in the old ways, semi-paralysed, often feuding with each other, and unable to offer up a convincing response to the changed landscape.
Some are blaming media bias, or interference from ‘outside forces’ or ‘fake news’ outlets, but that doesn’t fully explain how ordinary people are taken in by all these parties’ nonsense. Why so many vote against what is in their best interests, if they only stopped to think for a bit. It’s seriously enough to make me lose what little faith in humanity I have left. The only thing keeping me going is the number of good people I know.
But I have to be brutally honest here - I don’t hold out a great deal of hope for the immediate future, for people in the UK or the US or anywhere else where these types are gaining hold. Right after the election, my social media feed was full of people asking ‘can I emigrate to Canada?’ (Or New Zealand, or anywhere that looks better than where they are.) And they were only half-joking - if that.
Perhaps in the long run, more democratic forces will prevail, and a fairer, more just world will be born. But I’m not banking on it, and it’s not going to happen straight away, impeachment or no impeachment, elections or no elections.
The future looks very scary.