When the dream becomes a nightmare

Across the pond, Americans are casting their votes. Who will be the next President of the United States of America is a question still to be answered. For many, it’s a matter choosing the lesser of two evils. For others, their vote will be used not to favour one candidate but to ensure that the other doesn’t win.

For months now, social and mainstream media have been deluged with so-called facts and figures, chosen to paint a specific picture, depending on a given perspective. Opinions have been aired, insults have been traded. Personal values have been lost in the tirade of abuse that has ruled. Many, espousing to be Christians, have shown a marked lack of respect in their treatment of those who don’t share their opinions. Judgements have been made, accusations have been levelled. The ugly side of popular opinion has come to the fore.

Very little has been said by way of policy or plans for the future. Very little has been said about tomorrow, or next year. Very little of any value has come out the debates, those on TV and those that have taken place in homes and pubs around the world. It seems to me that the concerned world has been too busy venting and ridiculing to be constructive.

Tomorrow, those of us on this side of the pond will wake up to news of who gets to sit in the Oval office. Life will continue, regardless of the choice and whatever fears we have for the future under a given command, will need to be checked and dealt with.

But in the aftermath, I wonder how we will all cope with the diminished levels of trust that will surface. How will we deal with friends, family, and colleagues who are adamant supporters of someone we could never countenance to hold such an office. Will we ever truly trust their opinions in the future? Will something fundamental have torn in the fabric of our relationships, something that might take years to mend? Will the next four years be about both sides either  congratulating themselves on a good choice or bemoaning the choice of others – a massive tide of ‘See, I told you!’?

I don’t know.

I’ve had my arguments and my disagreements about major controversies. I’ve had my share of pitying looks when I expressed an opinion that went against the popular one. But those issues were more abstract. They were about policies, about history, about peoples, and not about a choice between two individuals, who together have managed to divide a nation and a large part of the greater world.

I wonder if we will recover. Or if this is just the first wedge in a divide that will grow as the next few years unfold.

In the months after Brexit, it’s clear that business as usual is not a given. If anything, the nastiness is getting worse. The results of the referendum, the vote, didn’t end anything, but rather started a downward spiral into a consuming morass of hatred.

electionPerhaps this evening is the last page in a chapter of world history. And tomorrow, the real horror story begins. Not because of the result and who is elected, but because our inability to handle the consequences.