This is a guest publication by Pascal Giese.
“Trump has tapped into an angry, frustrated vein of our society – one that goes all the way back before the foundation of the US. Clinton is the status quo, but Americans are frustrated with the status quo and this explains the rise of Trump. I think something very big is happening here. If Trump is elected President, please don’t hold it against us.”
A few days ago I was chatting with my friend Ben who lives in San Diego. He was asking me how Germany and Europe are looking at the presidential election and Trump. Ben ended the conversation with what you just read and especially his last sentence struck me. For me, as a German, this line just feels home sweet home, hearing it from an American is more than odd. But here we are, times are changing and somehow the fear of Trump actually being elected runs deep in many Americans.
During the last months, I watched the rise of `The Donald´ with astonishment and a bit of admiration. Seeing this true asshole kick out one prominent Republican after another was awaking a part in myself which shouted “give it to them”, and to watch him do it was satisfactory as well as disgusting. Trump touches something in us we all share as humans – fear. Who has the right to deny or disgrace the people voting for him? Isn’t there a small part in you which would too?
“No, never!”, is that what you just said to yourself? Well, then you are part of the problem.
We are wired to take the easy way and if someone is offering it to us in daily life, we will almost always take it. Not accepting our tendency to go the easy way is perilous because it is a connection we, as humans, share and can relate to. Now is not the time for do-gooders who see themselves on the right side of history looking down at those who are not, it is the time where we have to be open minded and see what is uniting us, rather than what is dividing us. Sure, there are always people to whom we can not relate to, but we should at least try.
To stay in our group of people with whom we agree on almost everything is pleasant, good times and fun. Guess what it is as well: easy! Our world is changing rapidly and we are close to a turning point worldwide. Nationality, religion, colour, gender and social background are meaning less and less between ourselves and at the same time they mean everything. Getting rid of these differences would not only be impossible but also wrong. We are different and only by meeting each other and speaking to each other can we gain tolerance – and that’s the core.
Let´s see what happens in November and even if Trump is elected, that’s not the end. Many of us thought Obama would change the world and in a way he just showed us a simple path down another road. The forces all over the world, which try to divide us as humanity, should not be blindly defeated. It would just be the beginning of an even bigger war as we are seeing it right now – they should be taken along. Think about it, if your world is the one where white is superior, genders are clearly defined and God or Allah or whoever is the only one around and you see how the world around you slowly drops those ideas driven by a generation of tolerance, it sucks and you fight! Don’t hold it against them, try to see how it sucks even if their ideas are inhuman, racist and just wrong.
The challenges we are facing now, we faced them before. The civil right movement met endless no´s until the yes came. The women’s rights movement – no after no after no, and then yes! The movement against apartheid, the movement for gay and lesbian rights and many more, eventually the answer was “yes”. For what is right, the answer always will be “yes”! And if sometimes you feel lost and angry at what is happening, try `Star Trek´, that’s always nice.