• Wednesday, 18 January 2017

    Dear America,

    Buckle up friends, because this is a wordy one.

    This week I have been sat in front of a tv displaying rolling news 24 hours a day. No, I've not become some weird current affairs junkie (is that a thing?), but I've been working in an office that has a TV in their reception. And there is one face that keeps turning up and haunting my days. He's yet to enter any nightmares, but only time will tell if that happens*. I am of course talking about, Mr Donald Trump.

    Britain's relationship with America has always been a strong, if slightly strange, one. A lot of us in this country look at you as kind of the weird cousin of our family. The one that bulked out suddenly and started bossing everyone around because it's bigger than them. You obviously have a lot of good in you and your heart is in the right place, but sweet Lord, you make some odd choices. Not that the UK is perfect, obviously, but we do like to feel a tiny smidge of superiority if only because of our much more dignified culture of tea and biscuits (biscuits, not cookies. Cookies are a unique - and beautiful - substance, America). But then there's Canada, the golden child, there to make us feel bad about ourselves. Maybe we should all try to be more like Canada.
    You guys have Bill Nye, we have Stephen Hawking and Brian Cox. Y'know, real scientists.

    But the point I was trying to make before I went off on that strange tandent was that our relationship is close. This meant that the presidential election seemed to be the only thing being reported for quite some time, it's been depressing. I can't imagine what the coverage was like in the US. I'm so impressed any of you have been able to get out of bed. Or at least, the majority of you that didn't vote for this vulgar man (what is up with your voting system?) to be the most powerful politician in the world.

    Now British politics aren't exactly in the best state either. We also had a campaign built on false statistics over here. This campaign allowed racism a voice and proved that there is still a large, hateful presence in Britain. The parallels between Brexit and the rise of Trump are scarily similar and it certainly feels like we're heading towards a period of uncertainty, discrimination and now that Trump's in charge of nuclear weapons, the possibility of war.

    And I'm sad and I'm scared and I'm angry. (And that was a terrible sentence. As was that one.) And I imagine many of you are too. An unqualified, dangerous and temporental man is going to be your president. And I'm fairly certain he doesn't want to be. I think what Trump actually wants is to be a King. I think he wants his ego brushed, he wants to feel like he's important and that his opinions matter. He wants to sit in his gold castle, but he doesn't want to do any of the work. He's been quoted saying that he didn't realise how hard the job was when he met with Obama in the White House. So I dare say his first few months are going to be interesting.

    I don't know what's going to happen, but I do know that we're in for a long, hard struggle. And now is not the time to get complacent. There have been many days where I've wanted to ignore the news, shut myself away from the world and pretend everything's fine (which occasionally is necessary for my mental health's sake, so if you do this too, don't feel guilty - it's important). But we can't ignore it. Now, more than ever in my lifetime, and possibly yours (y'know, assuming you didn't live through Thatcher or WW2), is the time when activism is most needed. Women are in danger, people of colour are in danger, the poor, the vulnerable, the disabled, the LGBT, anyone who can't afford healthcare and every other person that Trump thinks he is better than are and will continue to be in danger. We need to protect them.

    Your country has given us some of the best activists and world changers, Martin Luther King, Maya Angelou and Rosa Parks for example. You gave us artists, writers and actors like Meryl Streep, Sylvia Plath and Andy Warhol. You gave us Gilmore Girls and Netflix. You gave us The Muppets, New York style cheesecake and iPhones. You gave us Donald Glover (I fancy him, a lot...).  You did not need to be made great again, you were already.

    America, you are not alone. America, we need you to stay strong. America, we need you to fight. Good luck on Friday.


    One angry, British feminist (AKA a 'nasty woman')

    *Weirdly, the night before his election, I had a dream that I was hugging Michelle Obama goodbye and thanking her for everything. That was a good dream.

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