Democracy has an ugly face

This was supposed to be an optimistic post. I was going to try to reassure you that all will be okay even though Donald Trump has just been voted into the White House in the United States presidential elections.  I have been trying to reassure myself. 

I woke at 5:40am GMT on Wednesday 9 November.  Trump’s victory was certain, if not secured, and I felt sick.  I felt sick to the pit of my stomach.  I still do.

Since then, I have been trying to reassure myself and everyone that I speak to that all will be okay, that he cannot achieve his promises, that his words were just hollow lies: 

“He can’t build a 2000 mile long wall along the Mexican border in 4 years, it has taken them a year to build a cycle path on the road outside my flat.” I quipped.

“Trump is after all a politician and we can rely on politicians to promise one thing, then deliver something else entirely.”  I said flippantly.   

“Don’t worry, Trump, will be reliant on the civil service, and if there is one truth about any civil service it is that it can’t do anything quickly”  I joked.   

But, I have been kidding myself…deliberately. I have been trying to ignore the truth, to hide from reality in some vain hope that this is all just a bad dream and will go away.

During his campaign Trump promised to …

  • …lock up his opponent;
  • …go after the women who claimed he sexually assaulted them;
  • …slash taxes;
  • …abolish Obamacare;
  • …scrap environmental legislation;
  • …deport all illegal immigrants. 

We can debate whether Trump will actually be able to do all of these things. We can question whether he’ll even attempt half of them.  But we are missing the point.  By focussing on what Trump may or may not deliver during his Presidency, we are turning a blind eye to the fact that Trump has won an election with overt lies, sexism, racism, misogyny and bullying.  We are turning a blind eye to the xenophobia and intolerance that Trump has encouraged.

democracy has an ugly face

We have seen the triumph of a man who consistently smears the lives of muslims.

We have seen the election of a President who is endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan. 

We have seen that liars are victorious.

We have seen that bullies do in fact win.

We have seen that women are objects to be looked at, groped, objectified and used for a man’s sexual gratification.

We have seen the triumph of a man who used the national stage to defend his sexual prowess. 

We have seen that racism is not just supported but celebrated. 

Most troubling, if it can get worse, is that after the election we’ve seen Trump’s victory give a mandate for free and uninhibited violence and racism.  In the same way that post Brexit in the UK, we saw Polish shops vandalised, we saw mosques graffitied, we saw open abuse of muslims on public transport.  In the US, Black and muslim students have been threatened and graffiti says “Trump, whites only, white America”.

How do we teach our children that everybody is equal, that difference should be embraced and celebrated, that justice will be victorious when Trump is now the most powerful man in the world? 

Trump may not carry through on his promises, in fact I would bet that he doesn’t even attempt most of them, but this doesn’t make the Trump phenomenon okay.  We are at the beginning of a new era of global intolerance and isolationism. 

Do not ignore this.  Do not try to put it out of your mind.  Do not try to reassure yourself that all will be okay. If we ignore this then Trump will become the new norm.

This is democracy and sometimes democracy has an ugly face. 

P.S.  Leonard Cohen, and it isn’t the first time I have written about Leonard Cohen on this blog, died this week. You can listen to some sublime poetry by Leonard Cohen, THE master of baritone melody, singing about democracy in the USA, here:  


  1. November 16, 2016 / 8:00 pm

    This sent a shiver down my spine Pen. Ideologically the voting in of Trump is massively worrying – that a *majority* of the voting public have been able to overlook all the terrifying things that man has said and done as laid out by you here is so hard to believe. It definitely does feel like the beginning of a new era – as you say, a step back into some of the darker parts of human history where inclusion and tolerance and all the things we thought we were edging towards in an enlightened 21st century are being taken away one by one. I just hope to god that the American public see sense and take away this man’s power come 2020 but I’m not holding my breath… Thanks for linking up with me on #thetruthabout this week X
    Sam recently posted…The Truth about… #94My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      November 16, 2016 / 9:01 pm

      Hi Sam,

      We’ll watch and see what happens. I will be protesting when he visits the UK. Hopefully this won’t trigger a wave of right wing extremism across Europe. Marine Le Pen in France has a wide popular appeal. Take care. Pen x

  2. November 20, 2016 / 9:04 pm

    You have written my exact thoughts! I still can’t believe he was elected, it just goes to show how deep rooted racism is in America. These are very dark times post Brexit/Trump, and it seems the far right movement has reared its ugly head again, with most of them actually believing that their disgusting views are legitimised. I’m a lefite and proud though, and good will always win over bad (eventually)! #KCACOLS

    • thesingleswan
      November 20, 2016 / 9:07 pm

      Hi Kerry,

      I am glad you are so optimistic and I do hope you are right that good will win over bad eventually. Here’s hoping. Pen x

  3. November 21, 2016 / 11:57 am

    Yes this is terribly worrying. Millions of people either chose to turn a blind eye to what he promised or actively want him to do that. What is simmering beneath the very thin veneer that we call civilised society? That is what is so scary. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday

    • thesingleswan
      November 24, 2016 / 9:31 pm

      Hi Sharon, Yes, i totally agree. It is scary how quickly seemingly civilised and tolerant society can drift away. Pen x

  4. November 21, 2016 / 3:02 pm

    I’m starting to see a lot of post Trump regret. People that ignored what he said starting to realize the consequences of those words. Its a sad time in America right now #KCACOLS
    jeremy@thirstydaddy recently posted…The Dog Ate Our HomeworkMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      November 24, 2016 / 9:28 pm

      Indeed. Thanks for your comment Jeremy. Pen x

  5. November 21, 2016 / 7:04 pm

    I don’t know whether it’s more accurate to say that Trump won or that Hillary lost. I can’t help but think that any other opposition would have been a better bet than Hillary. Her own state didn’t even vote for her.

    It is frightening to see the wave of hatred, but on the otherhand, charitable organisations that will probably suffer cuts under Trump have seen an outpouring of donations. That’s incredible!


    • thesingleswan
      November 24, 2016 / 9:28 pm

      Hi Sarah,

      Yes, you’re right, there does seem to be a wave of support for charitable organisations. Some seem to be overcome with a sense of civic duty and that’s great. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      June 14, 2017 / 8:06 pm

      Thanks for your comment. Pen x

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