The last time I spoke to someone who was openly for Trump was a taxi driver in Edinburgh back in July. This shows you that I was completely out of touch with what most Americans think, or at least half of the US citizens who voted. During the eight months that were were on the road from Morocco to Norway between March and October, I assured everyone I spoke with that there was no way Donald Trump could be elected.
Today we see that I was wrong. I took for granted that people would understand the big picture importance of the environment, health care, trade, and the principles of equal opportunity and non-discrimination. I forgot that politicians only consider the short term, actions that directly affect whether they will keep their jobs in the next election. What will happen when global temperature rises at a pace that can no longer be controlled because politicians were more focused on getting elected than cutting atmospheric emissions? We are about to find out.
The majority of voters made it clear that they want to have a high paying job that doesn’t require a lot of education and they want to live in a town full of people who look just like themselves. Those days are past, at least I hope they are. It sounds like science fiction to suggest that we will now return to an isolated US that looks inward, European countries with individual frontiers, immigration quotas everywhere. Will each country also seek to become self-sufficient and try to minimize trade? I have lived in the era of the “global village” and have enjoyed my efforts to be part of that larger community. It is painful to realize that we may be at a turning point in world history where the one step forward that has taken place since about 1945 may be about to be reversed, and we may go two steps back before positive momentum returns. I may not even be alive to see it.
I hope I’m wrong about that, too. I’ll check back in four years to see where we are.