(Pic courtesy : thewrap.com via Google)
Today’s US elections have saddened me beyond belief. I didn’t know nor did I realize that an election process in a part of the world that is so far away from the one I was born in, so far away from the one I now live in, would impact me to such an extent.
Truth be said, it has.
I’ve considered myself an optimist, I’ve always banked on the notion of hope, have always invested in a belief that was born out of the confidence that the world is slowly gaining momentum towards becoming a more equitable society. I let myself believe that feminism is a concept that is gaining ground, albeit slowly, in developing nations of the world and at a much faster pace in the so called developed nations of the world.
Equity, equality, feminism - were all concepts that had, of late, become so believable. With mobility on the rise, human beings were beginning to scale borders and settle in different parts of the world and I well and truly let myself believe that things were getting more secular.
Well !! The country that prided itself on being the birthplace of democracy has spoken and how ! What I feel right now is a mixture of disappointment and fear. Disappointment at people in the largest democracy in the world having succumbed to a misogynist who has furthered his agenda on the basis of fear mongering, divisiveness, racial hatred, intolerance, bigotry, arrogance and open condescension towards anyone not willing to tow his line.
This is not just about a man winning the elections against a female rival. He embodies everything that is going wrong with the world, stands for everything that needs to be done away with because what the world of today needs is unity while he stands for divisiveness. What the world of today needs is equality, fairness, tolerance and Trump has proven himself to exemplify, personify, symbolize and represent exactly the opposite attributes. It is disturbing that these emotions were what he built his campaign on but what is inherently more alarming and disconcerting is the fact that a majority of the American population believed in the same rhetoric and saw him through.
If I happen to catch Trump’s acceptance speech (I doubt I will, though), there are going to be a large number of women cheering him on, applauding the fact that he’s won the election and it is going to make me wonder why and how. How can women support a man who’s made no efforts to correct his misogynistic attitude, one that actually flaunts his chauvinism, shames women, calls them names, thumps his chest and says he groped women and got away with it, crows to a crowd that a woman who stood up to him would not have been his first choice for 'groping' and the like. The best bit is that he gets away with it all.
Every single vote for Trump was a vote for passive acceptance of chauvinists not being accountable for what they say or do, of male entitlement, just on the basis of gender. It was a vote for arrogance and the concept of undeserved privilege and dispensation, it was a vote for the continuance of biases that beset women just on the basis of gender.
As things stood in society of late, what we see is probably not the institutionalized sexism that one used to witness a few decades back. There are no professions from which women are barred or not allowed to practice. What we see in today’s world is sexism in a more subtle form. Having someone like Trump as the President of the world’s largest democracy (it sounds like a cheap joke, truth be told) has thrown those right out of the window. Subtleness be damned, it’s out in the open and people have embraced it with open arms.
Sexist attitudes are long gone, is what some people say. It is something that used to belong in the previous century, said someone, the other day. I’d just say it is going to be tough reminding oneself of that statement every single time the newly minted megalomaniac, misogynistic President of the USA walks out and the band plays ‘Hail to the Chief’.
What he has proven beyond doubt, sadly enough, is that hate and divisiveness sell. It is a winning formula. The American people have bought it hook, line and sinker. I just hope the rest of the world does not have to pay for their folly.