My playfully, favourite political news story of the week was when a YouGov poll revealed that, of the entire, influential G-20 nations, only one would support Donald Trump as a presidential candidate: Russia. This news was swiftly followed by the coercive endorsement of Trump’s presidency by a certain Vladimir Putin. And it made me think, what a mindf*ck for the dim-witted Republican demographic to deal with: “We’re supported by communists now?!” In the confusion they might end up shooting themselves in the face.
Relax. In rides one Bobby Knight to introduce Trump at a subsequent Indiana rally, endorsing him during a meandering and befuddled rant as the man to press the nuclear button and become the fourth great president after Truman [the third] did the same … Knight only just pulled up short of the character in The Simpsons who yells “Yee-haw” at the end of each statement before firing two revolvers in the air.
The brilliant mind that is Armando Iannucci writes the acclaimed US political satire, Veep [starring the wonderful Julia Louis-Dreyfus – unapologetic namedrop in a hapless attempt to gain more blog hits! 🙂 ], then, with the advent of Trump, American politics turns reality into pure satire.
The world’s greatest democracy has a cancer. It’s pathology is found in disenfranchised folk with an easy access to heavy artillery. And yet the glib constitutional righteousness remains.
Paris would’ve been much different had the victims been carrying guns, opined Donald Trump, in one of his latest tender soundbites. While conveniently ignoring the almost weekly mass shootings on the streets of America. But will a manic right wing agenda make people feel any safer? Not when you put arms into the hands of the disenfranchised and they’re tipped over their edge.
Republicans in Congress and on the campaign trail vehemently eschew the rights of women to have access to abortion; a man picks up a gun in Colorado and shoots. The tipping point appeared minimal; the result is more lives lost through an intolerance readily espoused as right.
Was that a terroristattack in California? It’s premature to reach full conclusions – although one look at the surnames and copies of the Quran will undoubtedly guarantee knee-jerk headlines. But in a country where black lives are still persecuted and a potential presidential candidate readily falsifies a memory of Muslims dancing in the streets of New Jersey at the fall of the Twin Towers; suggests closing the borders to all Syrian refugees; and having a national database of Muslims [in a rather eerie parallel to a certain Nazi philosophy!]. A leading Republican presidential candidate. It makes you wonder.
Intolerance breeds tipping points. And then puts guns into the hands of the disenfranchised. Gun control feels increasingly like an important moral agenda. But at the same time feels like an attempt to desalinate the entire world’s seas. The world’s greatest democracy [self-titled grandiose epithet] has potentially shot itself in both feet.
Birds are the epitome of the migratory species; nature’s natural refugees. They wait. They watch. They fly. They are … free.
And then they left …
I wonder where the world might be without politics or, dare I even suggest, intolerance. I see petty squabbles in school playground politics daily. I see the same petty squabbles – with considerably wider consequences – in international politics; essentially these are just older people who you would hope should really know better. The Russians weren’t involved in bringing down an Australian passenger airliner… because they weren’t in Ukraine. And when a Russian airliner is brought down, their foreign minister’s first reaction to the UK stopping flights to Egypt ‘They’re only doing that because they don’t agree with what we’re doing in Syria…’ Barely a day later and Russia had stopped flights, too; but the most important thing, let’s get the petty international knee-jerk political response in first.
Rinse and repeat; until, one day, there’s nowhere left to fly. Unless you’re a bird.
The gates of Europe are creaking. This is the modern world; a mixture of tragedy, aspiration and access to social media. Immigration has become a broadly contentious issue in the European Union [EU] because its open borders policy toward freedom of movement and work opportunities generally only runs one way: in simple terms, east to west. And then the refugee crisis began in Syria. And following one notable, widely reported, tragic death of a little boy drowned in the Mediterranean igniting consciences throughout the EU [in Germany the people were quick to make Welcome banners] … tragedy and aspiration truly combined.
People are now arriving from Iraq, Iran, Eritrea, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other non-EU European states … the list is almost endless. And the vast majority are heading to … western Europe. And one of the most popular destinations is Sweden. Tragedy or aspiration is well-informed in the modern world. Any reasonably educated search of the Internet will tell you Sweden is an alleged utopia. In the past two weeks alone 18,000 migrants have arrived in Sweden. It’s unsustainable. [Update: Just a few hours after writing this Sweden introduced a ‘temporary’ border control in an attempt to stem the flow of migrants entering the country. Bearing in mind the numbers have increased exponentially, if the present number arriving were maintained at this level for a year it would equate to 5% of Sweden’s population!]
The gates of Europe are creaking. Welcome to the modern, already overpopulated world. And now we have begun to migrate in unprecedented numbers.
Also, since writing this, I heard another story in the week about a Syrian refugee. He had been interviewed on BBC Radio 5Live after arriving in Slovenia. In joyful broken English he told how he was heading for Germany ‘Angela Merkel is our [refugees] mother…’he exclaimed. He repeated it joyously again. A few weeks later the 5Live team had tracked him down … in Sweden. He was disillusioned following his arrival in Germany. It hadn’t been as he’d expected; not understanding the language he moved on to the alternative utopia, Sweden. And, here again, he was disillusioned – provided with temporary accommodation in a village in the back of beyond and separated from his traveling companions and a family member who had arrived before. Somehow I sense this is only one story of what we likely become commonly held experiences.
The social media and its associated connectivity may’ve been alive with Leaveand Come now messages back down the line. But the messages of lingering disillusionment and reality of migration will likely be very different. Migrants at The Jungle encampment in Calais wait to cross the channel “We will be given a house, a job, a car,” said one; seemingly oblivious to the fact that even Londoners are finding it increasingly difficult to live in London; and presumably equally oblivious to the 7,500 homeless living on its streets in 2014/15.
“Everyone deserves a better life.” With this level of migration, the likely reality promises to be something quite different.
Their terrorism was, for the most part, marked by disruption and token destruction; bombs were planted, warning telephone calls were made and, relatively speaking, few lives were lost. And no terrorist would either allow themselves to be killed, or intentionally blow themselves up. So, as sometimes tragic and disconcerting as those times – and certainly some significant events – were, the vulnerability felt by the wider public was arguably less terrified and more an uncertain vulnerability.
But terrorism now – in Europe – is something entirely different. When you’re faced with people prepared to die for their perception of the greater cause; people who hold such a twisted sense of mortality that after sadistically murdering numerous innocent people in cold blood will then send themselves to paradise; there is much to be terrified about. And coupled with the 24 hour news and social media; martyrdom, infamy and terror is complete.
However, I want to close by referring to a comment apparently posted on social media last night, from someone caught in the middle of the carnage. They said they’d seen the worst of humanity last night … and the best. Invited in from off the streets by strangers. Terrified but supportive of one another and resolute.