It’s International

It is easy for American political junkies to think the sky is falling and it is only happening to us. Last week another example of the fact that we are not alone came out of the United Kingdom. During this ordeal one of the few sources of solace has been Washington Post opinion writer Eugene Robinson. Please allow me to juxtapose and slightly elaborate on those two facts.

Last week Friday Theresa May resigned as Prime Minister of the UK. In my opinion she was in an impossible spot from the get-go. She was tasked with negotiating the UK’s exit from the European Union. There were a few fatal flaws with that mission. May was anti-Brexit but accepted the supposed will of the people. The more time that elapses, the more we learn about how the Russians interfered with the Brexit vote. The pro-Brexit people never had a plan in place for actually exiting. The promises of a better deal for the UK outside the EU became increasingly exposed for the right wing mythology they are. It is very possible that public opinion in the UK is no longer pro-Brexit and perhaps never was.

I never knew a lot about May. I have never been, nor am I now a fan of hers. In fact, I know little and care little about her. We are not political ideology soul mates; she is a conservative and I am a liberal. If I were a UK voter I would probably a member of the Labour Party which is May’s Conservative Party’s main opponent. I don’t know who will take her place but on this side of the pond the name we are hearing most frequently is Boris Johnson. From an American perspective that is far from an improvement. However it is music to Vladimir Putin’s ears.

I readily admit that with five columns a week and complete freedom over their content I can’t possibly cover all of the Trump administration’s scandals. Think about that for a moment: that means there are more than five outrages, or significant updates to existing outrages, occurring each week relating to Trump or his team. (I can’t call them staff; Kellyanne Conway would be offended).

I primarily write about American national politics. The Theresa May example is only one of many in Europe. Most of them have a somewhat common root theme. Just as he did in Russia, Putin has exploited the fear of the “other” among white Europeans and Americans. It’s the black and brown people who will take your jobs. Perhaps kill you, ruin your neighborhoods and rape your women. Along with them we have to fear the homosexuals who will molest your children and change their sexual preference.

Hate groups feel they have friends in high places, including the White House, which has embolden them. Hate crimes are on the rise. If anyone tells you that racism, xenophobia, misogyny and homophobia are not factors in many western (including American) elections they either haven’t been paying attention or choose to be willfully ignorant.

I find the situation alarming, depressing and all too reminiscent of 1930’s Europe. We all know how that worked out; except the people who died before World War II ended that is.

Despite the fact that he recognizes all the ills I find one national voice consistently comforting. Often he includes phrases along the lines of “it’s going to be OK”. That voice belongs to Eugene Robinson. Despite the fact that I read his work and listen to him often I really don’t know a lot about his background but I know enough to know that he didn’t have an easy path to success. Robinson and I are about the same age. He is a black male who was born in South Carolina. Being black in 1950’s and ‘60’s South Carolina wasn’t exactly the easiest beginning. Robinson overcame and achieved. In 2009 he won a Pulitzer for his work. That is a huge achievement for anyone and even more so for someone who had to overcome an adversarial system.

They say misery loves company so I guess it is comforting to know that as Americans we are not alone. I certainly hope that Mr. Robinson is correct and that it will be fine in the long run. He does have international, American and his personal history on his side.

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