I grew up in the Outer Hebrides in the 1970’s and 80’s at the height of the cold war, the nuclear arms race and the military build up of Nato bases around Northern Europe. The USSR was supposed to be the enemy of course, but it was the Americans I remember being really afraid of. They were the ones building military bases all over the country and right on my doorstep.
This morning America feels like a place to be afraid of again. Really afraid.
The thing that horrifies me about the projected election result (it hasn’t been called yet), is not the realisation that the world is full of people who think so very, very differently from me, Brexit proved that, it’s the realisation that there are so many people out there who care so little for anyone they see as “other”.
Fear of the other is a powerful force and it has led us to some of the darkest moments in global history. We’re paying the price for not knowing our history.
If there’s one thing that this reinforces for me, it’s that it proves yet again why it’s so important for everyone, and I mean everyone, to have access to free and open education. And I really do mean education in the broadest sense. Now more than ever we need education that focuses on history, on politics, on philosophy, on economics, on human geography. We need to understand how we got into this mess and the consequences of our actions if we fuck it all up again.
The first thing my partner said to me this morning was “We’re on the wrong side of history” and it really does feel that way today. My first instinct was to hit up Skype and twitter and reach out to my American friends to tell them how very, very sorry I am about the result but you know what? We’re all in this together. I never thought a US election result would make me cry, but here we are.
It’s kind of ironic that the previous post on this blog is Dream A Little, and boy does that look like a utopian delusion now. That post ends with the semi-ironic quote “We live in the short term and hope for the best”. We need to live for more than the short term now, but we sure as hell need hope.