According to American economist Jeffrey Sachs, it would cost $175 billion a year for twenty years to end all poverty on planet earth. Meanwhile, the richest country in the world has a $900 billion defense budget pending in Congress. That’s just for one year.
The United States of America spends more on national defense than China, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea and Brazil — combined. America spends more on war fantasies in a year than most countries spend on defense in a decade. I think America’s big stick is finally big enough, except possibly for those who have insecurities about such things.
Meanwhile, money is the number one concern in American politics. Senatorial and Congressional campaigns have budgets bigger than medium-sized airlines. Presidential campaigns will soon be measured not in millions or hundreds of millions but billions of dollars. More and more lobbyists and corporations are running the country.
Meanwhile, an entire party, the Republicans, are vested in keeping the non-white population of the United States in poverty and ignorance. They become fiscally conservative every chance they get to short-change all forward-looking or progressive social programs that help the poor, the voiceless and the marginalised. They’d love to help — they really would — but they must be responsible to the taxpayer, that is, the very people who pay the taxes for whom those social programs would do the greatest amount of good. And so on.
And Republicans keep on being fiscally conservative until suddenly, miraculously, they start spending like drunken sailors on leave the night after they got paid. That’s when defense contractor money is needed, or tax breaks for the rich, or minor bills stuffed with major pork. And so on.
Meanwhile, we have a world in crisis from global warming and coronavirus. Meanwhile, it’s Christmas and families are facing eviction, starvation and privation. And so on.
All of which is to say, In four weeks time we will be rid of a psychopath, a malignant, narcissistic, child-raping, murdering racist. That’s very good news. That bit of good news cannot be overstated. But America still has one hell of a lot of problems. And they are not going to go away just because Donald Trump has gone away, they are not going to go away if we ignore them. We, those of us who care, those who fight injustice, those who speak for the voiceless, are still needed to fight the good fight.
I look forward to a day, someday in the not-too-distant future I should hope, when I can look back and honestly say I have neither typed nor spoken the name “Donald Trump” for that entire day. I am heartily sick of that whiny, insignificant, petty little man, his petulant, incoherent hate-speech and his brackish, medieval thinking. I’m sick of him and the people who carry water for him, sick of their pearl-clutching outrages and counterfeit indignation over minor instances of manufactured “scandal.” Sick of their hypocrisy, sick of their weakness, sick of their cowardice.
Soon, as I say, we will be rid of the monster. That is when our real work begins again. We need all of you. To vote, to speak out, to continue the fight that was first inspired by the appalling calamity of the election of Donald Trump. Some of you must even run for political office, at the local level, at the national level. Our real work is about to begin. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.