Make a note of today’s date. It’s Wednesday 9th September 2016. 9/11/2016.
On 11th September 2001, 11/9/2001, a tragic and historically significant event took place in America. We are still coming to terms with understanding the full consequences of that evil act. For reasons best known to themselves, the Americans call this event 9/11. (Call it one of my foibles: I find the illogical, semi-arse-about-face way Americans write dates truly irritating.)
9/11/2016 marks the day when the world learned the terrifyingly shocking news that the 45th President of the United States will be Donald J Trump. It is, of course, far too soon how any future historians would compare the significance of these two events.
The Lunatics Have Taken Over the Asylum
Peter Weiss’ 1963 play Marat/Sade imagines events around the time of the French Revolution in the late 18th century. Part of the storyline involves the lunatics taking over the asylum, with unexpected consequences. As Wikipedia states “They, as people who came out of the revolution no better than they went in, are not entirely pleased with the course of events as they occurred.” Sounds familiar?
It appears that the leader of the most powerful country on the planet will shortly be led by a man not fit to run a whelk stall. His erratic character and extreme narcissism reveals an angry, illogical, incoherent approach to issues. It’s not apparent that Trump has ever done anything unless it serves his own warped ideas for self-aggrandisement.
Domestically, things could get very unpleasant, very quickly. Given the rise in hate crime and random attacks on foreigners and ethnic minorities which has taken place here since 23rd June, I hate to think what a gun-toting US version of this might look like.
Foreign relations are entering wholly uncharted territory. With the probable exception of Vladimir Putin, all of the leaders of the other major countries think a Trump victory is a disaster. I’m sure they all think Trump is a complete twat – and they’re right. But he’s also a complete twat with control over the biggest economy and by far the biggest military machine on earth. That combination will test – possibly to destruction – the very concept of international diplomacy. And future generations will not thank the Americans for Trump’s climate change denial.
Planet of the Apes?
It takes very little imagination to plot a worst case scenario which leads to a Planet of the Apes conclusion. The original 1968 film depicts a world once ruled by human beings, but where the apes are now in charge.
Many around the world may take some kind of de haut en bas comfort from the fact that the Americans, and not they, got us into this situation. The English (and Welsh) sacrificed this moral high ground by our own act of needless self-destruction 5 months ago. Just after the referendum, a friend was emailed by a long-standing friend from Italy. His Italian friend simply could not understand what the Brits had done. “I thought we [the Italians] were the crazies!” he wrote. Well, join the club.
Meanwhile, the rest of the world can only watch helplessly and hope and – for those of us who don’t pray – hope some more that things don’t turn out too badly after all.
9/11 One and 9/11 Two
The religious fanatics who committed the original 9/11 crime did not pose an existential threat to the USA. It is too big and powerful for such a threat to come from outside the country. The only possible threat to the very existence of the USA would be for some cancerous corrosion of its very soul and ethical standards. Right now, this feels like the real deal.
Welcome to the real 9/11.