Date Tags Blog

My grandmother was American.

That fact is not something I think about often. My scant memories of her are of a kindly old woman on what I am forced to assume was her death bed. I don't claim to be American because of her in the way that Americans seem to claim to be Irish if they have a distant relative from the Emerald Isle.

And yet I thought it was this tenuous tie that made me feel as sick as I did watching the election results roll in from across the pond last night. Somehow, despite not being entitled to American citizenship, despite not being able to vote whatsoever in the election, despite only having once visited an area some distance outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico, I felt a sense of intense personal loss.

In the cold light of the morning, as I thought about it some more, I realised that it was not because I was subconsciously identifying as American. It was because between this result and Brexit, I can no longer view the ongoing political shift towards nationalism as an aberration, and I am forced to acknowledge it as a trend.

"If you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere"

Theresa May's Conservative Conference speech contained this 'gem', which got some amount of condemnation in the press, at least. But it increasingly appears a great number of people truly feel this way. Deep down, I still believed that we could ride out Brexit - especially if it was a softer Brexit, as increasingly unlikely at that seems - and still arrive at the globalised, international promised land that Star Trek et al. had presented to me as an aspiration, through books and other media.

But instead, thanks to President-elect Trump, for the first time in my life, I am forced to come to terms with the reality I didn't know I inhabited. That in my lifetime, there is no chance of humanity not seeing itself as disparate tribes divided by arbitrary lines on a map. No chance of seeing ourselves as a single cohesive species inhabiting a pale blue dot. No chance of inhabiting a worldwide 'nation'.

And it hurts.


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