November 09, 2016
International columnists breathed a chill on the warm glow that President-elect Donald Trump and his supporters are basking in this day after the U.S. election. Here's a sampling of what they're saying – no venom spared:
Take down the Stars and Stripes. And raise in its stead the new flag of the United States: an all-white banner with, at its centre, a big fist with the middle finger raised.
The US as we have known it, in all its gilt and glory, has become a giant insult: to women and people of colour, to its continental neighbours and its allies, to its traditions of enlightenment and scientific rationality, to a planet threatened by the climate change he denies, above all to its own intelligence. The sleep of reason, as Goya put it in the title of a famous etching, brings forth monsters. Who would have thought that the monster would be such a risible opportunist, a loud-mouthed self-promoter who was as surprised as anyone else to find himself with a serious chance of power and who must this morning be secretly terrified of his own unlikely triumph?
He ended with:
This terror will not make America great again. Its very ascendancy is, on the contrary, a signal of awful decline. Too many Americans looked in the national mirror and saw an ugly thing, a rough beast slouching towards the abyss. They have despaired of the promise, of the dream, of the republic itself.
And there will have to be a counter-revolution. There is still another America, an America that will wake up today feeling that it has lost its country. Amid the ruins of the American dream, they will have to wake up to another reality: that the republic they thought they inhabited is not theirs and that, if they want to live in it, they will have to rediscover its most basic value of equality.
• • •
Hold tight to the ones you love, America.
Hold tight to the ones you love living in black and brown and yellow and native skin. Hold tight to us, because we will have to face white people who think we are rapists. We will have to face a nation that wants to stop-and-frisk us. Hold tight to us, because mass incarceration is actually going to get worse, and more of our brothers and sisters are going to be disappeared. We are going to be living as strangers in our land, among people who believe they have taken the country “back” from us. So hold tight to us, please, and to each other.
Women: hold tight to the ones you love who are also women. President-elect Trump – soon to be the chief law enforcement officer of the land - has bragged about his right to grab women “by the p***y” – and very likely, his subordinates will follow his example. The president-elect is against women having rights over their own bodies. He will probably get to appoint a judge to the supreme court to curtail them. So hold tight to the other women in your life, women - your friends and sisters and mothers and daughters – because we men are going to fail you. We have already failed you.
He ends with:
Hold tight. This is the beginning of a sad chapter for our nation, and for the world. The system, and our government and parties, have failed. This will become a frightening, vengeful, unjust land. And an angry white electorate, now using the levers of government, is not going to be kind to any of us not deemed integral to making America “great” again.
So hold tight to the ones you love, please - because all we’ve got is each other.
• • •
It was a loss that hit Democrats, progressives and moderate Republicans to the core. But it is feminists that are left to do plenty of soul-searching. Women who were firmly in her corner since 2008 and were blinded by her flaws, women who despised her and voted for Trump in protest and women who were lukewarm on her candidacy but voted for her because she was the lesser of two evils have a lot to mull over today.
She ended with:
Tuesday should have been a watershed moment for every American girl who is still – in 2016! – told that she should know her place, that she should speak up less, that there are certain institutions where she is not welcome because of her gender.
To those girls I say: don’t lose hope. You’ll be have another opportunity to be With Her. And, hopefully then, she will be able to shatter that glass ceiling once and for all.
• • •
In this context , Mr. Trump has displayed a diabolical political intelligence. First against his party and against his Democratic opponent, he was able to embody perfectly the new man, one who does not belong to a political seraglio discredited by two disasters that have deeply marked the Americans and the Iraqi debacle the economic and financial crisis of 2008. whether one and the other are largely the product of the policy conducted by the Republicans.
Before Trump and Bernie Sanders , the unsuccessful competitor Hillary Clinton, no one had made the megaphone marginalized by globalization. Nobody has been convicted for the devastation coming from Wall Street. No one anticipated the political consequences of a type of growth that undermines the middle class at large. Donald Trump, he did it by choosing three scapegoats immigrants, free trade and the elites. He also managed to exploit the malaise of a population white American could soon lose the majority against the aggregate of ethnic minorities.
• • •
Crude populism has triumphed over reason. Trump's success is a shock for all those who had counted on the political wisdom of American voters. The real-estate tycoon promised the Americans a fundamental political shift and a majority -- even if slim -- have followed his promises. The American voters have opted for change, though no one knows what it will look like. Given Trump's Islamophobic, nationalistic, hateful statements during the election campaign, only one thing can be said for sure: It won't be good.
The world, and America, is now threatened by a dangerous phase of instability: Donald Trump wants to make America "great" again. If one believes his pronouncements, he will proceed ruthlessly: He wants to throw 11 million migrants out of the country, renegotiate all major trade agreements and make important allies like Germany pay for US military protection. That will trigger significant conflict, incite new rivalries and spur new crises.
The most important question is now: Will the American system of "checks and balances" between the institutions manage to prevent a man who speaks like an autocrat from governing like one? Is it even possible to control Trump with a Republican Congress?
• • •
Trump’s supporters were of similar stock. Mainly white, they included autoworkers in Michigan, coal miners in Pennsylvania, gun owners in Alabama and seniors in Minnesota. All of them rose up to challenge a Washington establishment in this election cycle that, for far too long, mocked them as so-called “trailer-park trash.”
He ended with:
That is the reality America confronts as it now faces the world with a new president-elect. It is a divided nation that has just come through a long, hard and bitter campaign. One where only Trump was prepared to warn about and take action against the growing Islamist and jihadist threat to America .... And that divide, which exists across America, is just as bitter and deep today as it was before U.S. voters picked their choice for the president who will lead them for at least the next four years.
• • •
I am woman, hear me sob. For today's US election has broken my heart.
Surely, I believed we had made some progress. I knew feminism has a way to go but the world was ready for a female President. Especially one with such experience, such conviction and such a sexist, narcissist, megalomaniac oaf as an alternative.
I believed, or make that hoped at least, that Donald Trump was an aberration, a distraction that we would look back in horror on. He was the close call we all would be relieved to see put back in his penthouse box, his ego broken, his scary bluster a hot wind that was extinguished by good sense.
But no. I have watched today as I did 9/11, with my hands over my eyes in shock, disgust and horror and cries of "this can't be happening!" on constant rotation. But it has.