Last night I attended the Elton John AIDS Foundation gala in New York City. I have been to this event before, and many like it, but last night was particularly moving and inspiring and I’m sure it was because of the spectre of the election America is about to undergo in a week.
There were many speeches that made me gasp. A lady from an AIDS organization in the South informed us that 25% of all gay and bisexual men in that region of America are HIV positive. She talked so eloquently but the word that stood out for me was one that I have heard at so many events like this for decades: stigma. A lovely transgender woman named Bamby talked about the way Elton’s charity is helping trans immigrants.
But with each speech full of galling statistics but ultimately hopeful and positive messages, my heart sank. What will this event be like, I thought, in a year’s time if Donald Trump becomes president?
We will live in a world where immigrants, let alone gay and lesbian and bi immigrants, let alone trans immigrants, will be vilified and shamed and will fear for their livelihoods, probably even their lives.
Stigma will be something that is not just a common concept in the parlance of hoity-toity galas frequented by rich gays and those who love them. Oh, no. You mark my words! Women of all social groups, races and religions, indeed anyone of any non white or Christian racial and religious groups, the disabled, the different, the other, everyone n fact in the room I was proud to be in tonight will be vilified, and that vilification will come with it a seal of approval from the highest office in the land.
If Donald Trump gets in we are entering a maelstrom of ignorance, bigotry and abuse on a scale of which we can only begin to conceive by looking at the rises of Fascism and other forms of extremism that now we look at, rightfully, with utter abhorrence and shame. We are not just going to become like them, we are going to supercede them in our fervour and lust to become the very worst of humanity. For that is what Donald Trump and his supporters represent.
Yet, I do not blame them all. I firmly believe that every citizen of America has to take responsibility for the rise of Trump and his hatred no matter how they will vote in a week’s time.
The rise of Trump is due hugely to the lack of value this country puts on the education system.
Since I have come to America I have slowly realised that unless you have money you are not guaranteed health or education or, indeed, justice. This is a country that has allowed a system to emerge where only the wealthiest are sure of those three basic tenets of any decent democracy. It is a disgusting and awful truth that we should all be ashamed of. For we, citizens all, have allowed this to happen.
And now, after decades of this lack, this slide into a system of mostly financially enabled civil rights, after years of right wing governments encouraging anti-intellectualism and religious brainwashing, we find ourselves potentially being held hostage by the very swathe of the population we have helped create by turning a blind eye and worried only about ourselves.
Donald Trump’s rise is for the most part due to a huge class of uneducated people voting for him. People who, through no fault of their own, do not have further education as an option. People who do not read, who do not analyse, who are easy targets for jingoism and propaganda – both subjects that Trump, like every sleazy bully before him, has learned to become expert in.
We need to do everything we can to stop this man. What will tonight’s gala look like in a year’s time? Will we see a slow decrease in the sponsors, the attendees, even the honorees, all not wanting to rock the boat and be associated with topics that Herr Trump has deemed degenerate and not worthy of our attention let alone our dollars, forget even tax-payers dollars? I think the answer is yes.
And talking of which, will we even pay taxes any more? If our glorious leader doesn’t, why should we? What do we need ambulances and fire engines and streetlights and roads for? We have money! We cam afford our own healthcare and private security firms and private modes of transport.
This election is not about politics as we know it. It is a battle between goodness and decency versus ignorance and fear and hatred and the very worst of humanity.
Shame on any of you who vote for Donald Trump! But shame on us all for having allowed him to happen.
Please, please vote! And please try to convince anyone who is still wavering that voting for Trump is the most dangerous and irresponsible thing any American could ever do…
…in my opinion.