History is moving backwards: Trump and the Rise of the Radical Right

This is a brief, hasty editorial . I’m in pieces, and I hope that Americans who will suffer discrimination under Trump can keep themselves safe today.

“That which divides us is killing us.”

I didn’t know how to articulate it until recently, but basically, I grew up with the faith that history is a line of progress. Not a straight line- it’s a weird upwards curve, wiggly with war and strife, but still going overall in the right direction. Positive progress.

The last few years, topped with the shit-cherry that is Trump’s election, is proof that this is not true. All it is proof of is the fact that we cannot have faith in humanity; some people either don’t have, or have cut out, any inherent goodness that humans may have had. We are not guaranteed progress and positivity just by virtue of the progression of time- we needed to make it happen. And we stopped fighting for change on a unified, large scale. We were not organised, we are disparate and scattered, divided consciously by those who profit from our misery and poverty. And now who knows what we will do. Brexit has made explicit a long-existing, ugly, bitter hatred in the British people, and it is magnified across in America, where your politicians sexually assault women and your law enforcement kills POC, for no reason other than that they can.

What can we do, but organise? The differences between our ideologies are transient compared to the chasm between Us and Them. They have made us all Others, but divided us in our Otherness, making us fight against each other from scraps from their table. Trump is not anti-establishment. They can band together and unify in order to put up a government or a president that suits their aims, even if they have smaller ideological disagreements. We need to be able to do the same. We need to move past in-fighting and splitting in order to give people like Trump the only thing they dread- a wall of opposition, a wall of informed bodies who stand against him in tight harmony, and who will hold his actions to account until change can be wrought.

History is written by the victors, and so far, that has almost exclusively been white men. History seems like neat progress because they write topdown narratives of grand change that happened to them, because the people who brought change and fought for peace were always the Others. The marginalised groups, which were always women, POC, LGBTQ, the poor, the disabled, the non-Christian and everyone else who doesn’t fit the mould.

That which divides us is killing us. Splitting hairs, identity hatred between ourselves, has destroyed our opportunity to push back against what’s happening to us now, and what I fear most of all is that the power that the Right have gained from this will increase, and could make it even harder just to exist, let alone to fight.

The photograph used was taken by Ruth Fremson, a photographer who works with the New York Times.


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