Trump’s legacy is one we can all learn from

This morning we wake up to a new era in world politics. Perhaps the most divisive and most colourful figure it has produced for decades has moved back into the shadows and steps can be taken to redress the damage that has been done since his arrival four years ago.

But this is not just about American politics or world politics. The legacy that Donald Trump leaves behind is perhaps the biggest of any American president, and almost certainly the worst. My issue with Trump all along was that this man lowered the bar, not just for future American presidents, but for all of us.

Once the world saw that it was ok to ridicule on the basis of colour, gender, sexuality, disability, the message filtered down that it was OK to do this, and that if you did, you were merely being a disrupter of the norm.

The term disrupter is an excuse that is used for all sorts of obnoxious behaviour, but it allowed those who empowered him to justify the deeds and actions that he undertook while in office.

Through his actions, his words, his arrogance, his disdain for the established, he bolstered the arsenal of those for whom prejudice was never far from the surface. For those for whom prejudice was a calling card, their reward for the entitlement to the storming of the Capitol.

His decision to subvert all of the established institutions, the perceived knowledge, in the belief that ignorance and bluster could achieve a notable legacy almost paid off and were it not for the pandemic, he would almost certainly have won another term in office. What that term in office would have meant for the world is open to speculation, but emboldened by a majority mandate, it would not have yielded anything too positive.

But we should not jest at the US for providing tens and tens of millions of people who can believe such guff and who will in my opinion, never have their minds changed about the outcome of this election. He pushed all the correct conspiracy theory buttons in the heads of those who felt disenfranchised and unheard. We are all but a short dogwhistle away from any of this. Our near neighbours have fallen foul of this. There are fellow EU countries who also have leaders who have tapped.

Even in the seemingly harmless confines of our most recent presidential election we saw glimpses of it. If that candidate had more substance, almost certainly his yield would have been larger.

So what have we learned. We need to listen, to include, to reach out, to try to be the best we can, whether it is in politics or media or whatever role we play. Even in our clubs and organisations, let us ensure that everyone gets a fair shout. Because if we don’t and we go on to create Others, another Trump is just around the corner.


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