Now the dust is beginning to settle after the most vicious US election campaign I think I have ever witnessed, I wanted to put a few words to paper to lay this particular ghost. You’re right, I am British so Mr Trump is not my President and Mrs Clinton would not have been my President either but the world has watched in horror as this whole Greek tragedy unveiled before our eyes and now in the shadow of Hillary’s dignified concession speech (in which she wore purple to express unity) we have hoards of frightened people protesting against the winner. Why on earth should that be so? The reason is fear.

Here we see parallels of the 1930s where a group of ordinary people felt marginalised and chose to ignore the rights of minorities in casting their vote for a strong alpha male who they thought would act in their best interest. It is better to have the alpha male on your side than to be against him, right? (That assumes that the alpha male is on anyone’s side other than his own of course). Many people also voted for him out of disillusionment. He was the non-politician (rubbish, anyone in big business is a politician). I have friends who wanted to vote Democrat for Bernie and chose to punish Hillary Clinton by voting for Trump. They believed the toxic drip feed from Breitbart and Wikileaks – pseudo-news networks with an agenda – and now they are, some of them, regretting that protest vote. Now they have sent their message to the Democrats, depriving Bernie as well as Hillary of any future part in US politics. It is called cutting your nose off to spite your face and believing the likes of Julian Assange? Incredible!

Time will only tell if Mr Trump is the bogeyman so many people believe him to be or just a privileged man who went along for the ride and deprived America of something truly historic, its first woman President. My investment in this? I live in a part of Lincolnshire that is rich in aviation traditions. I live within one mile of an active air base surrounded by several others. An air blast over Lincoln Cathedral is something I wouldn’t even have time to think about – one puff of smoke and everything I know and love will be gone. On election night when it became apparent Hillary was not doing well, I lay in bed shaking at the thought of this bumptious man set loose with nuclear codes and a macho foreign policy agenda. I can now only pray that my fears are not grounded.

Spare a thought for those in minorities who do feel threatened; for immigrants, both legal and otherwise, who fear deportation, for the LGBT community who now feel under threat as never before, for women who have been raped or otherwise harmed by sexual predators; spare a thought for LGBT Christians who squirm under that gloated “God, Faith and Country” rhetoric that the victors spout. This President is not godly, nor is persecution for belief, gender, race or sexual orientation. It is not what Jesus Christ stood for and these statements that claim God for a hateful political agenda always fill me with absolute disgust.

Our horizons are diminished by the election of hateful politicians, but we are responsible for their election – by voting, not voting, tactical voting, protest voting – the decisions are made democratically and the consequences are borne by everyone. To quote British Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron:

“We cannot allow hateful politicians to keep on winning” and “Liberal values of moderation, freedom, respect for the rule of law, openness and concern for one another can no longer be taken for granted. Never in my lifetime have those liberal values been so under threat, and never have they been more relevant and necessary.”

Only time will tell but civil disorder in the streets of the USA will not change a thing. Let’s be clear, the only way to change anything is at the ballot box and it is time to stop voting against people and start voting for policies.

Donald Trump’s call to ban Muslims has been viewed by many as an insane proposition. By some it will be seen as an answer. As I write this post in the run up to Christmas I need to express an opinion that we no longer live in such a simplistic world – if we ever did. To me, it seems that we use religion as a reason to beat people up, verbally, even if not physically.

I come from a culture in Britain that has grown more and more inclusive over my lifetime and yet I am not sure if it has ever become more tolerant. We are fast become polarized over many issues and many of these are about “belonging”. We “belong” to an ethnic group, a gender, a set of sexual preferences, a religion, a sports club, a group of music fans and many more. These groups have the potential to support and lift each other, even to greatness, but they also have the ability to exclude others, to be judgemental about them and to compete for attention, territory or material wealth against different groups.

I was brought up as a Christian and my own personal struggle to maintain that faith against the intolerance of others is something I don’t want to deal with here today; however I coped with intolerance on a personal level and I retained my own belief. What my struggle is actually about is those people who use “belonging” as an excuse to do evil. This might, for example, be an attack on others, using them as political pawns, and this is not the sole prerogative of terrorists, is it? Now, be honest…

As I sit here I am aware of a constant stream of intolerance of non-believers towards believers. Those rants might be banter in the pub, 140 dismissive characters on Twitter, or even furious condemnation of one politician or another in homes across every country in the world. Atheists will be mocking all those who believe in God, different religious groups will be calling other believers apostates and enemies, reactionaries will be cheering arson against mosques, temples, synagogues, churches; wherever difference is found you will find conflict.

There is ONE group to which we all belong, though sadly not many adhere to it. That group is humanity and beyond that we all belong to an even larger group of terrestrial organisms. The one undoubted fact is that every human being on this planet is ruled by hormones including testosterone – yes, even girls have testosterone – and testosterone not being put to sensible use is, in my humble opinion, the main reason that shit happens. It is the hormone responsible for dominance, anger, sexual potency, aggression and energy and it is this hormone raging uncontrolled that causes basic territorial aggression; not God, not people of different colour, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation, not even different types of “belonging”.

So this Christmas, Hannukah, Diwali, Yule, Kwanzaa, Samhain, Winterval – whatever you wish to call it – why not put your testosterone to better use boys and girls? Why not do something energetic; play sport rather than watch it, shop for an elderly neighbour, take the dog for a long walk, run along a beach out of season, make passionate love to your partner, fix up the house, build a garden shed or a cat tower, become an outreach worker for the homeless, go out singing Christmas carols and collect for charity… Do something energetic and constructive rather than pontificate about something “other” that you personally disagree with. Do something that benefits the community. Accept that your neighbour is Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Atheist, Pagan, Agnostic, Hindu, Buddhist – whatever – and smile at him.

Lend a hand to those around you and stop carping about God and religion. We are all human in humanity’s rich diversity. That is both our supreme strength and our cardinal weakness. Accepting responsibility for our own actions instead of trying to shift the blame on to other social or religious groups is the only way forward. God is not to blame, religion is not to blame, humanity is to blame and humankind needs to grow up, face up and shape up if we are all to survive and be happy.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year – and may your God go with you.