As an A-Level Politics student in the UK observing the nomination process and inauguration of Donald Trump, it’s very hard for me to observe events unfold without the power of voting or intervention. As a strong feminist, it’s difficult to watch Trump gain power based on his comments and alleged treatment of women in the past and present, yet what was even harder was to watch his support grow and ideology spread.
To me feminism means equality for men and women, I don’t believe that one should have an upper hand over the other, whether this be in terms of a wage gap or custody of a child. But the ideology means completely different things to different people, and that’s fine! The word ‘feminist’ is interpreted differently between cultures and societies and is a term that has evolved to empower women across the globe.
Turning on the TV this evening to see footage of the ‘Women’s March’ with over 600 rallies globally completely blew my mind. It felt as if I was experiencing a little piece of history, and was amazed to see so many people stand up for what they believe in, with the number of attendees at the Washington rally exceeding those who attended the inauguration the day before. This act of sheer determination expressed through the rallies about Trump’s rise to power was touching and presented perfectly the feeling of injustice among many Americans who believe that the system in place to protect them from tyranny, set by the founding fathers, has backfired and worked against rather than in their favour.
A point was raised in my politics class on the day of the inauguration whereby my teacher posed the question based on the news that 19 Democrats in the House of Representatives had chosen to boycott the inauguration by refusing to attend. “If you were a Democrat what would you do? Would you boycott the inauguration and choose protest, or work hard until the next election to secure a Democrat win?”. My class raised very interesting and reasonable points, none of which I believed to be a bad idea, however personally I believe if I was a Democrat in the House of Representatives, I would have chosen to boycott and protest as the 19 did. Now this is not because I’m in any way an aggressive person or because I’m bitter, but because we have the right to stand up and speak our minds, have the power to say “No. This is wrong.” and if we do nothing and took the backseat throughout history then change would never have occurred. It takes the voices of many to instil real change.
Don’t get me wrong, Hillary wasn’t perfect, but in my eyes she was still a more suited candidate compared to Trump. There were things about her that many people disagreed with – lots of Bernie Sanders’ supporters chose not to vote for her due to the bitter personal battle between the two during the primaries and the FBI investigation during the election also caused dip in her support. But the clear contributing factor towards this year’s election was the feeling of distrust towards ‘establishment’ politicians. Much like the result of Brexit in the UK last year, the US election proved how as a western society we are placing less trust in our governments and their archaic ‘establishment’ vibe, with their history of smoke-filled rooms and corruption, and taking matters in our own hands by exercising our power as the people which has positive/negative effects depending on your political standpoint.
Nobody can predict the events that will unfold over the next four or eight years, but is Trump really going to be as bad as people predict? As the leader of the executive branch of government there are a number of checks and balances that will ensure he doesn’t act ultra vires or go against the constitution – his power is limited. For definite, there will be a new Supreme Court justice, one that will most likely be very conservative and look to repeal abortion rights and devolve power over those rights to states. However, as Obama discovered through his eight years in office, the power of the incumbent is heavily restricted, so are our worries really realistic? He may not have any previous political experience but my prediction is that he will run the country as he runs his business, and as a successful business man, can we really argue that it will be as bad as everyone is inferring? Personally I don’t align with Trumps ideology and am more of a Democrat myself, but whats done is done and we will just have to see how things go.
So now we have President Trump, and Oh how the Obama’s will be missed (#MichelleObama2020), the days of Obiden/Joebama will be mourned. But what does this really mean for America? Is this the end of politics as we know it? What’s going to happen over the next four or eight years under Trump? – It’s a waiting game to see what he gets up to within his first 100 days of office and throughout his term as president.