Background and Objectives
Let me take a moment to thank you for visiting my blog. Promoting a politics blog, is a bit like trying to promote Christmas to Turkeys. It’s a crowded space in which the world is fascinated by the dysfunctional global car crash brought about by a reality TV personality being elected the leader of the free world. I realise that there was good reason for my father, God rest his soul, to often utter; “don’t mention politics or religion in conversation, unless you want a fight on your hands!”.
Our political DNA is created by our life experience. How many times have you heard it said; ‘My father was a Republican/Democrat, as was his father and his father before him’. I can feel your outrage at the thought that you are not of independent mind and for that I apologise, but you know the point I am trying to make. We are all shaped by our upbringing and as we grow into our surroundings, politics becomes part of who we are, for better or for worse. The same goes for religion. I was born into a Catholic family that went to church every Sunday and as such, I followed the faith, became an altar boy, sinned, went to confession and mostly got off with a couple of Hail Marys for my trouble. Every week, my mother got me up at 8am, dressed me in my Sunday best, ready for 9am Mass. I said the same prayers, sang the same hymns, in the presence of the same people, for all of my formative life. Even when I got married, my mother sent the priest to pick me up to go to church on Sunday. Over the years, I had grown to fundamentally disagree with much of the Catholic ideology, but it took me a full year before I had the courage to say, ‘No more’. Whilst I may have had problems with many aspects of the Catholic faith, I have always tried to embrace the essence of fairness, social responsibility and a philosophy of trying to ‘do the right thing’.
Let me say from the outset, that I don’t have a horse in the American political race, indeed as a UK Citizen, I am not eligible to vote. I do, however, have a soft spot for the US and have spent some considerable time there for both business and leisure. My interest was sparked four years ago, by how the election of President Trump changed global politics forever. I remember being told by family friends and colleagues that he stood no chance. It was a no brainer; Hilary Clinton was a certainty to be elected the 44th president of the United States.
Watching then-candidate Trump operate, was like having a bucket of ice-cold water thrown over me on a chilly winter evening. It was so outrageous, that I often had to replay what I had just heard or seen. Us Brits have often been heard to chuckle at the election process of our former colony. The money involved and in particular, the negative campaigning, was at that time, not a major part of UK elections. They were regarded as a fair fight for the hearts and minds of the electorate, in a time-honoured British tradition. However, Trump changed that forever, as was demonstrated in our own EU Referendum. Politicians had previously become very adept at adopting artistic license when presenting a proposition to voters. The truth was there, it was just slightly obscured. Candidate Trump normalised the use of lies to achieve his campaign objectives. He was aware that once it was said, it didn’t matter what the truth was, the lie would stick with enough of his target audience to benefit him. It made me sit up and think about the future implications of his approach. I didn’t have to wait long to find out, in the lead up to the June 2016 EU Referendum vote, the pro leave campaign claimed voting to leave the EU would result in a £350 million pounds a week investment into the National Health Service. It was a brazen lie plastered on the side of the pro leave campaign bus. Nigel Farage, a good friend of Donald Trump, promoted the synergy of the insurgent Trump campaign with his own ‘Vote Leave’ campaign. The US had ‘build the wall’ and we had to ‘take back control’. Both had no chance of becoming a reality, but became defining propositions from the respective insurgent campaigns. Trump even invited Mr. Farage to appear on his campaign trail. Farage used the same immigration agenda and adopted his chaos and disinformation playbook to massive effect. It seeded division and led to the abuse of immigrants in communities in a mirror image of what was happening in the US. Unfortunately, Nationalism was alive and well on both sides of the Atlantic.
In the event Nigel Farage was victorious, as was Donald Trump, thus began my newfound fascination with US politics. Over the last four years, I have watched part in horror and part in incredulity, as Trump shattered all the norms and conventions as he took control of the levers of power. It would be fair to say, he knows no boundaries and it appears there are no lengths to which he will not go, to further his personal objectives. It appears that "We the People...” has no meaning to him, he is more an “I the Trump…” kind of guy. My long-suffering wife is challenged by what she sees as my obsession with American politics. However, she tolerates it because she loves me, as I do her very much. My argument is, that what happens in the US has an impact on us all, especially given our alleged ‘special relationship’.
I have to admit to shedding a tear when Barack Obama became President in 2008. His intellect, his ability to articulate the issues, and the political sacrifice he had to make to deliver affordable healthcare to millions of Americans (after having to rebuild the shattered economy he inherited) was inspirational to me. He and the First Lady rebuilt the global reputation of a nation. Don’t get me wrong, his Syria debacle was a true clusterf**k, along with a few other debateable moves in the Middle East, but I could listen to him all day long. His honesty, integrity, and natural sense of social justice was a breath of fresh air.
Moving back to today, we have to ask questions of the political class who have spent the last four years trying to adjust to Trump’s outrageous governing style from both sides of the aisle. It’s also an attempt to understand the Republican Party, who seems to have been abducted into what appears to have become the cult of Trump. The Viet Cong would have been proud of his insurgent demolition of the Republican primary process. He tunnelled under the establishment and planted a political IED, the blast from which cost Republicans all sense of honour, decency and respect for the Constitution. I am convinced history will view them as Trump collaborators when the truth and reconciliation commission is formed following the election.
As a former sound engineer with a little media production ability, my aim is to use social media to share and visualise my thoughts, feelings and sense of right and wrong with those of you kind enough to listen to what I have to say. I want to broaden its reach to be a transatlantic reflection on the issues and challenges of the day.
Thanks once again for stopping by. If you like what you see and read, please do subscribe, so I can converse and have hopefully some healthy debate on the issues covered.