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November 19, 2016

American Halloween


November 19, 2016

It is Halloween in the US – and the monster is out and here to stay. The American people – the sensible ones, at least – as well as the rest of the world are in a state of shock. They knew it would be a close race, but they still hoped that better sense would prevail. They hoped that the people of the largest democracy would vote for stability and experience.

And they never dreamed it could turn out this way too.

There were some who had predicted that more will vote for Trump than the media was predicting because very few were openly admitting their choice, since it was neither fashionable nor appropriate to do so.

How amazing that the educated people of the greatest country of the world, have voted to shoot themselves in the foot. And how sad that the voters were not openly supporting their candidate in the polls because they were embarrassed to do so.

Trump was openly and proudly obnoxious, but no one could imagine that Hillary was this unpopular amongst her own people that despite her years of experience, her stable personality, her intellect etc she would still lose. And lose to an opponent like Trump, a person who was even a surprise as the finalist in the run for the presidency.

So much for democracy, and so much for the first world. In the end, it all boils down to nationhood, to the cry of ‘America for Americans’, to racism, to discrimination and prejudice. There is no moral high ground; there is no greater vision for the world.

Some people say it is good that this has happened. And that finally the world will see the true face of the US. The kid gloves are off, the claws exposed.

Others feel that the US itself has been cheated – of the image it has taken decades to create. The US has been cheated of the image of a role model democracy. People are seeing feet of clay in the system.

But one thing is for sure. The world will change in the next four years. A new world order will come into being. The countries in the East will stop hankering after the US, trying to win favours with it. They will rally around China and Russia. That makes a natural alliance, after all.

This is the time when the much touted systems in the US will be put to the test. It is supposed to be a country where national policy is not made or implemented by a single individual. It has taken them years of toil to reach this stage, where systems take over and personal whims cannot prevail over everything, unlike the third world.

That has been the greatness of that country. That has been its strength.

The American people are well aware of the role immigrants have played in making it, a role they continue to play even today. The Americans had come a very long way, electing an African-American president, absorbing different nationalities.

The American image of the apple that everyone wanted to take a bite from has been like a magnet for many. That image was formed because Americans as well as people from all over the world felt that things were done on merit in the country. Caste, creed, colour, nationality did not matter.

If you worked hard, if you delivered and you had the talent and the capacity, you could rise in their society. That was the reason that immigrants were attracted to the US, a country that paid them back their due.

If that belief is shaken, many will feel the crunch. The US will also feel the crunch if immigrants are disillusioned and decide to leave and serve their own countries instead.

So there might be a lot of changes in store for the world in general and America in particular.

The Americans used to caution the world, “imagine what would happen if the Taliban had their finger on that nuclear button?”

The tables are turned. The world is wondering what is going to happen now that Trump has his finger on that nuclear button.

 The writer is the project coordinator of a Pak-German humanitarian organisation and a freelance journalist.

Email: [email protected]