Illustrations by Hannah Robinson
Biden’s winning has resulted in many Americans, and indeed many across the world, feeling cheerful and hopeful. Those who voted Democrat have at last, after four years, got a president who more likely will govern in accordance with their worldview. But – Americans must not forget that the other half of the country voted have against them.
The United States is a democracy, and in order to maintain this, we must strive to prohibit a situation of totalitarian rule. I sympathise with democratic voters, but even though they might not want to accept that there are just under 50% who disagree with their values, they must. Because this election has demonstrated that there are those who disagree with their principles, their beliefs, their worldview. If this is ignored, the country could end up in an even more dangerous position. A divided country will not ease until there is understanding and acceptance that the other exists.
Not so long ago there was a country which showed very strong similarities with the situation America finds itself in today. Spain in the 1930s demonstrated a divided nation, with two polarised sides who were vehemently opposed to the other winning power. Like today, the Spanish population in 1936 voted for two distinct sides, factions from across the left and right joined in hatred of the other, determined for their vision of Spain to be put into practice. The election, like this one, was a really close result, and heavily contested. While an official result was never published, contemporary newspapers reported that it was 393-394, with the Left winning – just. Sound familiar?
Four months later the country was embroiled in a civil war which tore families apart and saw many Spanish towns and cities wrecked in the process.
I am not saying I predict an imminent civil war, but I am only attempting to demonstrate that when two sides are so determined in their pursuit of power instead of trying to find resolution and unity, it can result in dangerous and devastating consequences.
Trump was voted in as President in 2016, and because he was allowed to govern, he has, not created, but unveiled and heightened years of growing resentment and dissatisfaction with the state of the country. With him being such a polarising and divisive character, we have seen a polarising faction on the left to counteract this. Populism is easy, and Trump has certainly manipulated genuine fears and anxieties that existed amongst a group of people and managed to persuade them to blame it on scapegoats, rather than dealing with genuine complexities of issues in peoples’ day-to-day lives.
Thus, in order to really heal divisions, we need a unifying president who will take a more middle ground and instead, listen to both sides.
It’s understandable that many do not understand why people voted for Trump: he has been repeatedly racist, sexist, homophobic and ableist, he has both supported and encouraged violence, he has been accused of sexual assault, defrauded people through Trump University, has underpaid in tax and, most dangerously, he has continued to lie repeatedly and refuses to hold “facts” in high esteem – and, rather, lives in his own reality.
With a leader like this, how did he do so well? There is something serious going on that needs to be recognised and dealt with, if there is going to be any hope at unity in the future.
As long as Trump accepts democracy, the U.S. has been given the chance to unpick the seeds of hatred that Trump has helped stir up in America – but this does not mean his voters have vanished. Ignoring the 50% will not work in restoring union, but instead will divide the already disunited states further.