As the sun rose and the dust settled following the Inauguration events of January 20th 2017, the world awoke to a very different political landscape, the likes of which we have never seen before.
There is now a US Republican President in place in the form of Donald Trump. A president whose campaign was fought and won on the basis of rhetoric rooted in hatred and opposition to equality, not to mention endless personal scandals and political mudslinging.
As each day passes, new decisions are being made which overturn all the promises made on the campaign trail, some of which may have a disastrous impact upon the rights, well-being and security of US citizens and indeed may also have global consequences.
This campaign echoes the UK’s Brexit Referendum result where far right views, fabricated propaganda and fear based campaigning prevailed, with plans now well underway to begin the formal process of leaving the European Union and for Britain to exit the EU single market, calling into question the free movement of goods, capital, services and people across previously open borders.
Even though new campaigning methods may have been in place during the campaigns of 2016, the negativity harnessed to win these elections was a very familiar beast indeed. However, rather than giving in to the impending sense of doom being felt by many, it is important to reflect on how these campaigns were fought and then take action to make sure that history never has a chance to repeat itself again.
As incredulous, unprecedented and frankly, dangerous as both of these results were, they are a strong indicator of the high level of disenchantment and disillusionment felt by communities, who believe the political establishment are no longer representing their best interests and whom have utilized their vote to voice such concern.
Although the results of these campaigns have now been decided, we are in such a state of flux currently that it is impossible to predict what exactly may be in store for our transatlantic nations. Yet, it is clear that there is now a huge task ahead to focus on stabilizing both countries, where opinion has been strongly divided, communities are in conflict and values such as respect, equality and kindness have been overshadowed in the process.
As the world waits with baited breath to see the full impact of these political upheavals, attention now turns to a new battleground, that of resources, administration positions, trade deals and partnerships, where decisions taken may have global consequences.
We now live in a world where economics and industry are being placed above environmental and humanitarian issues and are in fact directly contributing to their decline. In light of this, it is easy to feel powerless, to mourn the supposed freedoms we used to enjoy, to become bitter and turn away from politics entirely.
However, now is not the time to sit on the sidelines of change. We may be heralding in a new political era, but it’s backdrop is being set against the dawning of a new age of global consciousness, where individuals have an immense power to affect change, not just to agendas and campaign platforms, but directly in the lives of their communities and indeed globally as well.
From the Pro-Europe marches in London calling for Britain to remain part of the European Union to the Water Protectors protesting at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to halt the Dakota Access Pipeline construction, individuals everywhere are fighting back against the stripping of their rights, dismantling of their constitutions and the destruction of their environment.
Nowhere was this more powerfully demonstrated than the global uprising of millions of women who took part in the Women’s March on the 21st January. Their unwillingness to stand by and watch as their rights and services are taken from them is a true testament to the collective strength of women and also evidence that communities are no longer willing to let politicians make decisions without consultation or mandate.
Now is the time to keep fighting for all the good that still remains in this world. To forge new paths towards truth and justice and to build new alliances to protect not only our communities but everyone on this planet.
We can look at these recent political results as a global wake-up call of sorts. A call to action that has the potential to act as a catalyst to change not only the political agenda, but also, to begin the difficult process of changing our world for the better as well.
Far from being defeated, we now have an incredible opportunity to re-balance the scales. To rise up. To take back the power that we as individuals feel we have lost. We need to think about the legacy we are leaving for our children and our children’s children. Our world is far too precious to let the politics of it all destroy it.
We can no longer stay silent about issues that do not directly concern us, we need to SPEAK UP on behalf of others, wherever inequality occurs.
We can no longer ignore the politics of division and hatred, we need to STAND UP to those who seek to divide us and turn us against each other.
We can no longer close our eyes to the injustices of the world, we need to SHOW UP and bear witness on behalf of those risking their lives for truth and justice.
We can use the forces of love, kindness and even nature itself to turn the tide against the rising darkness. To shine a light of hope where others see fear. To bring forth a new political class, full of individuals taking direct action to recover our resources and make the world a better place.
This world needs everyone to believe in it once more. If there is a cause that you believe in, take action. Heed the call of your heart. Answer it. Speak Up, Stand Up and Show Up for all the things you believe in as your VOICE matters as much as your vote does.
By Catherine Herriott
Originally published at medium.com