What Kind of Day it has been.

I had no intention to have this be my first blog post as Youth President. In fact, my first post was planning to be a verbatim copy of what I said at my induction service as a way of introducing myself to you all. Something with a bit of a positive edge to it. You will get that soon, but for now, let me comment on what is all on our minds this day.

Earlier this year, the UK had, what is called a Referendum Vote. It's more commonly known around the world as the 'Brexit' vote. It was also the first time I stayed up to hear the results of the vote live. It was me and two good friends sat in my parents living room, eating junk food and drinking tea. Being the political geeks and children of the modern culture that we are, we had multiple screens with various news sources showing us the reaction from the population. The moment that Farage uttered his "Independence Day" speech I, like 48.8% of the population of the U.K., felt angry, upset and dumbstruck at what had happened. At the time I would also have said I felt betrayed by the population of the U.K. that voted to leave purely on the grounds of fear and hate. Now many who voted Leave did so for many reasons, some well-founded and thought out. However, it should be noted that in the immediate 24 hours after the vote happened, the phrase “What does it mean to leave the EU?” had at least a 200% increase in searches on Google.

I imagine that a number of young people in America are going to bed today or waking up feeling much like I did earlier this year.

From the start, let me make it clear: Donald Trump was democratically elected President of the United States. He stood, he campaigned and he was elected by a majority.

That being said.

The whole election campaign in the USA, like Britain before it, has been marred by fear, hate and misinformation

For example: Donald Trump advocated for people at his rallies to attack protesters. He made obscene references to his anatomy during a televised debate. He called Mexican immigrants rapists. Called for the attacked and killing of terrorist’s families. He continually makes disparaging and misogynistic comments towards women. He continually stoked the fear and hatred of Muslims in the USA. He advocated the use of Water Boarding and worse when interrogating prisoners. He has called refugees the ‘Trojan Horse’ for Isis. He makes racist comments about Mexicans, Chinese and Syrians and more. And that is scratching the surface barely of what this serious presidential candidate has been talking about on the campaign trail, in televised debates and interviews.

I’m not going to pretend to be happy at this election outcome. I don’t think anyone can pretend to be happy at this outcome. In the middle of this fear, hatred, confusion and suffering though, the thoughts of all those who voted against Trump are highlighted by Van Jones, a CNN anchor:

“People have talked about a miracle – I’m hearing a nightmare.

It’s hard to be a parent tonight for a lot of us. You tell your kids, ‘Don’t be a bully.’ You tell your kids, ‘Don’t be a bigot.’ You tell your kids, ‘Do your homework and be prepared.’ Then you have this outcome, and you have people putting children to bed tonight and they’re afraid of breakfast.

They’re afraid of, ‘How do I explain this to my children?’ I have Muslim friends who are texting me tonight saying, ‘Should I leave my country?’ I have families of immigrants that are terrified tonight.

Donald Trump has a responsibility tonight to come out and reassure people that he is going to be the president of all people who he insulted and offended and bashed aside. When you say you want your country back, you got a lot of people who feel that were not represented well either but we don’t want to feel that someone has been elected by throwing away some of us to appeal more deeply to others.” – Van Jones (http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/van-jones-calls-trump-s-surprise-victory-a-whitelash-against-a-changing-country-a7406511.html)

His comments sum up what many Americans are feeling right now. His comments sum up what I and many other British people were feeling on June 23rd. I want to say to Americans to not worry, it’s not as bad as it could be. But I can’t honestly do that.

In the week following the Brexit vote, 6,193 hate crimes were reported in the week after Brexit. It should be noted that between 80-99% of hate crime goes unreported. There was also a 213% rise in hate crime on those who were disabled during the same period. In addition, domestic abuse, rape and sexual offences crime went up 10%. Worse still, a Polish gentleman named Arek Jozwik was beaten to death because he was Polish.

America has voted and elected a man who openly uses the platform he has to promote fear and hate towards these groups and more. What scares me is that if these crimes happened in Britain, who is to say that they won’t happen in America?

I pray that I’m wrong. I pray that Americans come together after this putrid election. I pray that Americans who didn’t vote for Trump will have the strength of character and resolve to carry on being the great human beings they wish to be.

Humanity, for all its flaws, comes together best when it seems we are in the darkest places. We rally around one another. We find joy and laughter in the small moments. We rise up against injustice. In the face of fear and intolerance we, as a species, stand united. We stand up to bullies. We work hard for our rest. We find the strength to carry on.

So, my American Brothers and Sisters, hold your politicians to account. Speak up to those who use fear, intolerance and hatred as a platform. Support those who are being marginalised. Remember that love, compassion and understanding will change the world. Be the one person that stands against the crowd if needs be. Do what you feel right in your heart. Be the love you know you want to see in your community.

6 comments:

  1. Hi, Tim! I'm Cynthia Astle and I run a website called United Methodist Insight, http://um-insight.net, in the USA. I think your blog post is excellent and I'd like your permission to republish it on our website. Please email me at one.scribe56@gmail.com to let me know if I may share your perspective with your American cousins. Thanks!

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