There has been so much written and said about the result of the US elections that I am overwhelmed. What good will my adding anything to it do? Do I as a Christian have a take on the election of Donald Trump as President of the USA that is different enough from other bloggers and writers f reflections that will make what I say worth reading? I don’t.
So what am I? I am afraid. I am afraid that now, for the next four years at least, but then for a long time after that too, because of the appointments President Trump will make, the cause of racial harmony in the US will be set back. I am afraid that the responses of fear, that make people target Muslims, or Mexicans, will now be unleashed and given a freer rein than before.
We saw that in Australia too, when the ‘Bra Boys’ (Young Australian men from the beach suburb of Maroubra) took back the beach there by force from other people who were ‘not like them.’
We saw it in Germany with ‘Krystal Nacht’, when the rhetoric of the politicians gave permission of others to vent their anger on the Jews.
The Jews were not to blame then, any more than the Muslims are to blame now. But I am afraid that the leadership of Donald Trump will not direct the anger of those angry people who voted for him in the right direction.
I am afraid that the policies that President Trump will be able to put in place will mean more deaths by guns, more unwanted children born, harsher immigration laws.
I am afraid that the things that President Trump will do to ‘make America great again’ will not be able to change the direction of globalisation which has increased the middle class in India and China at the expense of the middle and working class of most of ‘The West.’ How is he going to give spending power back to the poorest in the land, and the middle class by cutting welfare restricting migration, which adds to the economy?
I am afraid that President Trump will not take the state of the climate seriously.
I am afraid that the rising inequality that was given a kick along by President Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, when they cut taxes for the rich will continue. Donald Trump is of the rich. He believes that cutting taxes to the rich creates jobs. He believes in ‘trickle down’ economics.
But the best countries, like those in Scandinavia and Germany, where the influence of unions is built into the decision making process and welfare is not seen as a dirty word, but as Oliver Wendell homes was reported to have said “Paying taxes is the price we pay for civilisation.” What they do in Scandinavia looks pretty civilised to me.
And I am sad. I weep for how the world is now. How come, after we stopped being afraid of being blown up by a nuclear bomb, we could not enjoy the ‘peace dividend’ of George Bush Snr. for very long. What does is say about us that we cannot define ourselves except in opposition to another, so that not having an enemy makes us more frightened than having one?
I weep for our impotence in the face of the problems we face, but which no one can solve. I weep for our ‘unconsciousness’ that means that we cannot find a vantage point from which to find a clear vision that would ensure a sustainable world, a distribution of the wealth which would mean that everyone had enough, but not too much and a way to negotiate the changes associated with rapid technological change and globalisation that does not leave behind, or punish or blame those most affected by these changes.
I weep because when the collective arm of the workers gains power, they become as corrupt as anyone else. I weep because as we have seen in the last 30 years, when the employers gain the upper hand, corruption in the form of under or non-payment of wages is rampant, wages are driven down, employment becomes evermore insecure.
So my brains have run out. All I have left are my feelings. I have to turn to the psalms and to prayer where fear and grief can be brought into the company of God. I just have to pray. I am not in charge of anything, but my poor little life has to be lived in the knowledge of just how much pain there is in the world, and just how intractable it seems.
Lord have mercy on us, for Jesus’ sake, if not for our own.