Why am I so afraid? Why am I so fucking upset, and mad, and heartbroken?
Because there’s a reason the United States of America is literally the most famous country in the world.
There probably isn’t a person on Earth who hasn’t heard of the US. That’s just how it is. That’s how widespread America’s reach is; that’s how figuratively big it is.
Yes, I am terrified for what such an oppressive, misguided presidency will mean for the US’s foreign and domestic policy, as well as the inevitable economic fallout.
But the thing that is currently, at this very moment, sending bile right up my throat, is the thought of the social repercussions.
America isn’t just a beacon of democracy. The US President isn’t just the leader of the free world.
The United States of America is the most important determinant in global popular culture and social trends.
I know it’s hard to wrap our minds around it. So many fancy words, so many unnecessary syllables, isn’t it?
So here’s an easier way of understanding it: think of the last five movies you saw. In the cinema, at home, whatever. Just think of the last five movies you watched.
Out of those five movies, how many of them were American?
Now do the same thing with the last five TV shows you watched.
Now the last five songs you listened to.
Now the last five books you read.
Do you see what I mean?
There are going to be consequences from this. We’ve seen Donald (Donald, mind you) repeatedly lash out at the media for being ‘unfair’ for doing nothing else but publishing the things he says in public, word for word. Never mind that that is literally their job. Never mind that he is the only Presidential candidate we’ve ever seen personally and heatedly criticise several journalists, by name. Never mind that he is the only Presidential candidate to openly contemplate banning specific publications from his events and rallies because they “never show crowd size or enthusiasm” (which is the whole point of discussions on foreign and domestic policy, of course), and “never discuss the real message” (which, to be fair, neither does he. They’re really just following his lead).
But what you should mind, what we should all mind, is the fact that he is literally the first person in American politics to threaten the actual First Amendment and the very freedom of the press.
Think about where this goes.
People like John Oliver, Trevor Noah, and Stephen Colbert. All of these people are no longer going to have neither the right nor the means to say what they want to say. It’s very possible that these people might not only lose their jobs and their platforms for free speech; they may very well face imprisonment, or, worse still, fucking death. Think I’m being dramatic? Let Samantha Bee take you behind the scenes of Russia’s media and journalism scene and show you why Donald’s hatred of the people who have elected him into the Oval office knowing stuff is fucking dangerous as fuck.
Even more than that, the effect that’s going to ripple all throughout pop culture is something we should all damn well be afraid of and mad about. Let’s start with this:
Setting aside the fact that literally every other show on every other network could already easily be called ‘Whiteish’, this is truly a frightening forecast for what Hollywood products are going to look like if Donald has anything to say about it. Goodbye, Black-ish. Goodbye, Fresh Off the Boat. Goodbye, Jane the Virgin, Empire, Insecure, Master of None, The Fosters, Atlanta — basically any show with a focus on characters and stories from minority groups.
Think about what Kesha went through. Think about what she’s still going through. You think that’s bad? That’s nothing, compared to the amount of shit people are going to be allowed to get away with under Donald’s orange fist.
Earlier this evening, I saw screenshots from a group Whatsapp conversation going around Twitter. This was a group chat comprising classmates; a bunch of students from a very reputable, well known junior college in my country — literally the Singapore junior college equivalent of Harvard.
I was horrified to see students of this particular class crowing over Donald’s victory, not by celebrating the rise of a politician they truly believed in, but by echoing terrible sentiments from his fear-mongering campaign. Things like ‘MORE POLICE AND LESS LATINOS’ were cheered, and one student even proclaimed that ‘At least the rapid proliferation of feminazism has been prevented. Cant say how horrible my first hand experience with those creatures were’.
And did anyone in the group chat speak out to correct, rebuke, or even chide him? Well, he was responded to with exclamations of ‘HOLY SHIT LOL’ and ‘AW YEAH’. So I’m assuming that’s a hard no.
All this, from youths currently receiving some of the highest quality tertiary education my nation has to offer. All this, from youths currently attending one of the finest schools in a nation so focused on racial harmony that we even have a day to commemorate it. All this, from youths brought up in a nation that espouses equality and democracy as two of its five core values.
America’s problems are not just America’s problems. It’s impossible to fully quantify just how pervasive the US influence is over the rest of the world — or any corner of it with a WiFi connection.
That is why I am afraid, and mad, and devastated over the events of November 8th, 2016.
And that is why you should be, too.
You can find out more about Mel on her author page.