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It’s the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine)

Donald Trump: A loud-mouthed misogynistic, serial liar who wants to build walls.

Donald Trump: A loud-mouthed misogynistic, serial liar who wants to build walls.

The classic REM song was uploaded by an incredulous friend on Facebook on Wednesday morning as the world was jolted out of its sleep to discover that a misogynistic, narcissistic, serial liar had been elected president of the so-called land of the free.

It is certainly not the end of the world, but there are worrying seismic shifts spawned by what we call democracy.

The majority of Americans have opted for a man who steered one of the most amateur campaigns in history by attacking minorities and building walls while doing little to spurn endorsement by xenophobic factions and white supremacy. 

Of all the post-result analysis I watched and read as the result emerged, one remark by Van Jones on CNN hit the nail on the head: "You tell your kids don't be a bully, you tell your kids don't be a bigot... and then you have this outcome. You have people putting children to bed tonight and they are afraid of breakfast. How do I explain this to my children?," he said, saying his Muslim friends were texting him, asking him if they should leave the country.

The rhetoric used by Trump ("Make America Great Again"), spiced up with doses of isolationism and grandiosity smacks of fascism, which is now back in fashion

There are several reasons why Trump won or why Hillary Clinton lost. The billionaire managed to sell the hoax that he was anti-Establishment, that he wasn't like "the others", that he'd stop illegal immigrants, that he'd build a wall across the Mexican border and other fables.

Clinton was described as corrupt and the wrong candidate for the resounding populist anger and was deemed to be part of the Establishment. Leftists were also angered that she ousted Bernie Sanders from the race, a man who could have wiped the floor with Trump by playing the same anti-Establishment trump card.

Of course there are other factors at stake – many Americans feel disenfranchised, still feeling the crunch of the financial collapse, others feel foreigners are taking their jobs.

Trump's election crowns an annus horribilis for that wonderful concept we call democracy. Britain opted out of the EU thanks to what many believe was a campaign fed on lies and deceit. The Philippines elected a president who likens himself to Adolf Hitler and who says he wants to kill millions of drug users. Hungary's Viktor Orban wants to stop migrants entering his country at any cost. Other European leaders are bowing to populist sentiments and following his lead. 

The tabloids attacked the judges for doing their job.The tabloids attacked the judges for doing their job.

Just days ago, the British tabloids were in a frenzy, describing as “enemies of the people” the judges who decided that parliament should decide the fate of the Brexit vote. These tactics are reminiscent of Nazi Germany, or more recently, Turkey.

Ultimately, the rhetoric used by Trump ("Make America Great Again"), spiced up with doses of isolationism and grandiosity smacks of fascism, which is now back in fashion.

Sadly the result will now resonate across the Atlantic. Xenophobes and the self-proclaimed anti-Establishment voters will feel empowered to repeat the same feat. With elections in France, German and Italy looming, Europe could well shift dangerously to the far-right in 2017.

A poster with caricature compares Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler, wearing a hood of the KKK, at the University of California, Berkeley.A poster with caricature compares Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler, wearing a hood of the KKK, at the University of California, Berkeley.

Many believe the recent events have all the hallmarks of the 1930s when a small man with a funny moustache unleashed his warped ideals on Europe and the world, killing millions in the process.

The great American philosopher Noam Chomsky says calling Trump a fascist is not far-fetched at all and that should seriously alarm any honest person who isn't a far-right xenophobic nationalist.

We live in the 21st century when we have all the right tools to voice our dissent. With vigilance we can take to the streets, fight authoritarianism or at the very least use the media to turn the volume of those sinister echoes down. Ultimately we need to do so before we speak out with our vote. 

Trying to understand the reasons behind the elections of the Trumps and Dutertes of this world is a must. But trying to normalise their election as a democratic blip is short-sighted. The worst thing any reasonable person can do is to turn a blind eye to the atrocities happening in the name of democracy.

If public opinion is sluggish, inconvenient minorities will be persecuted. Eventually your own rights will be curtailed.

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