There is a dubious mindset that winning is all, to the victor come all the spoils, that it doesn’t matter how you win so long as you do and all the world loves a winner. That way lies madness. A certain billionaire has just found to his cost that while money can buy prestige and position and incitement to hatred can win votes it can only bring a Pyrrhic victory. One billionaire is much the same as another in my book and you can’t force people to love and respect you in this life but I have to confess to feeling just a little bit sorry for this one. I’m sure it wasn’t what he was promised by his backers nor did he expect such a huge reaction against his victory. Here is a man who wants to be adored by millions and yet the streets are empty for his biggest ever moment and full of pussy power demonstrators the day after.

I am also saddened by the way some people I thought I knew have embraced a philosophy of hating those who disagree. Of course those people are not presently marching in protest. I don’t know if they would be marching had the outcome been different and I don’t think they will ever understand why millions are. To call everyone who disagrees with his method of winning or with the madness of hatred a “loser” or a “dangerous leftist” and maintain that you despise “leftists” loses sight of the fact that many of these people are not adherents of the left wing at all. They may be disillusioned conservatives, some are even Republicans; they may be Democrats who feel that what amounts to an act of treason robbed their own candidate of victory; finally, they might even be centrists appalled by unholy alliances of religion and politics on both sides.

That’s right, many of them are centrists like me; conservatives with a little “c”, liberals with a small “l”. In my country the word liberal is not yet an insult although I will happily wear the insult “Libtard” as a badge of honour because it means I reject the politics of hatred and division. We have a fine liberal tradition in Britain dating back centuries and we are justifiably proud of it. We are also proud that we have stood up to hatred and racism in the past – as the underdogs and on our own for several years I might add – and we don’t want to see the sacrifices of our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents forgotten. Many of them suffered or even died to maintain Europe’s freedom from a Third Reich that thrived on hatred. We honour them for it. That does not make us “leftists” or “losers”.

I think there are so many emotionally charged issues that any incumbent lawmaker needs to address and for any one political party to lay claim to personal moral viewpoints is simply WRONG. It doesn’t happen here. Maybe it would if we were a nation of proselytising evangelicals, but we are not. We respect freedom; we do not take arms up against people whose morals we might find lacking or whose religion is different from ours. We do not take away choice from desperate women – whatever our personal views – because we know the alternative to choice is something far worse for society; criminal behaviour, neglect, death and people in abject poverty. There are a lot of things wrong in this world, but they will not be changed by screaming abuse or sanctioning violence and exclusion of whole groups of people different from ourselves in some way.

I could go on and on but I won’t because it saddens me too much to see people sinking to such depths of anger. All I ask is that we just pause for a minute and think about the refugee crisis and terrorism. Where does the money come from for terrorists? Where do the arms come from that they buy with this money? Who suffers most in any war? Who profits most from war and division? Why are there so many refugees? Why are civilians consistently being bombed? Who stirred up a hornet’s nest by declaring a war on terrorism in the first place? What is that one word that is at the root of the West’s obsession with the Middle East? Can we actually do without it? If not, why not?

I want to finish by directing you to an article written April 29th 2013 by Janice Harper Ph.D. in Psychology Today:

The Fertility and Futility of Hatred – When hatred fills our hearts, it grows, but to what end?

Please read it, whichever side of the divide you stand on. It might persuade you to drop that hot stone before it burns your hand badly…

Yesterday’s post raised a few red flags, I know, because I used a Gary Glitter song to illustrate the primal effect of repetitive chants and as an example of entitlement leading to abuse. There were some more serious but less emotive points that I wanted to make too and I felt they would be better in a second post.

I have always been concerned about the bigger issues when it comes to politics. When the environment comes up I am likely to be angry about fracking or anything that is destructive to the planet. I am less angry about “eyesores” in posh areas or dog poop on pavements. These are the little things we can probably live with. As someone who was brought up as a Christian (High Church Anglican in fact) I consider we are stewards of the Earth and, in the manner of Saint Francis, that all its inhabitants are our brothers and sisters. As the dominant species it is up to us to act responsibly as protectors of other animals and not behave like mindless bacteria intent on eating up every resource and pushing Nature out of existence. Those are things that I believe very strongly and they lie behind my personal stance on alternative energy, on population growth and on sustainable farming and industry. We have to make careful, moral decisions on matters that affect not only future generations but the entire ecosystem because the World has no choice. We do.

Anything that falls short of this has to be contested. However conscientious you may be when it comes to singing hymns or paying your tithes it all matters little if you subscribe to unnecessary and polluting energy sources for financial gain. It is possible to heat our homes and power our businesses with the natural energy of wind, water and sunshine. It is possible to develop synthetic fuels to keep our aircraft flying without causing damage. Even more to the point, it is possible to take polluting petrol and diesel engines off the road and use electric and clean burn fuels. I would go as far as to say it is our Christian DUTY to protect our planet for all its inhabitants. Believe you me, any high-tech interplanetary rescue mission in the future will not be for working people like you and I. We are collateral damage in a game played by the rich and powerful as are all living breathing organisms on land or in the sea.

When I was active in politics we were often asked our views on contentious issues, pro-life being a big one at many meetings. Personally I would never have had an abortion unless I would die without one, although these days to be honest it is not an issue for me. However I believe these issues are personal and in Britain ideas on abortion, animal rights and Israel are just not party political. This has helped us avoid the mess the USA is currently in where a group of right wing, climate sceptical, patriarchal rich men want to dictate to ordinary folks. They have latched onto abortion as a way to get the orthodox Christian vote and proceed with the most offensively Un-Christian programmes imaginable.

Yesterday, following some tweets in support of John Pavlovitz, I was unfollowed by a fellow author who is a Christian. I can only guess why and perhaps I am wrong in my assumption, but I would like to ask him and others like him the following questions:

How Christian is it to persecute strangers (immigrants) when the Bible says we should care for them?

How Christian is it to refuse healthcare and assistance to the poorest and most vulnerable in society?

How Christian is it to tell a young girl who has been raped that she can’t have an abortion and then refuse to help her bring up the child because of her “immoral behaviour”?

How Christian is it to tell a woman carrying a dead baby inside her that she must risk death just to carry it to full-term and then have a “natural birth” of a rotten corpse risking further life threatening infection?

How Christian is it to deny climate change in order to make money from oil, or to sell arms to oil producing countries that routinely finance terror or kill civilians?

How Christian is it to risk the Earth for personal gain by denying that humanity has so far played a major part in raping God’s Creation?

I will leave it as that. I don’t want to be part of any foolish gang that wishes to gamble with the world’s future for the sake of greed and says “Just pray, everything will be OK.” I think more is expected of us, don’t you?

There is something primal about this song, isn’t there? Gary Glitter had huge stage presence; he was right up there, in your face, glam as anything you can name in the Glam Rock era and before we found out what he was capable of he was a rock hero. The fact that he was jailed for 15 years for abusing young girls came as a surprise and shock to fans but this is an example of the power and entitlement of celebrity. Nothing much changes there it seems.

Why is this song still so evocative despite the shame of the singer? The answer lies in its raw power. It is simple, it doesn’t appeal to the intellect or the soul, it appeals to the part of us that wants to follow and be included. This is an outright shout of sheer narcissism – and how we went for it as teenagers! We all aspired to be part of the gang or even envisaged ourselves as a leader. The appeal was universal, the message empty and the numbers that came on board were phenomenal.

Where am I going with this? Well, there are some parallels and I will avoid the more obvious ones. I am really trying to behave myself here, believe it or not, but my own political convictions and experience in a country where politics is, thankfully, far less tribal and visceral won’t allow me to remain silent. Yes, I try. Yes, I fail. Every single day. I don’t know what frightens me more, the monosyllabic grunts of “cuck”, “loser”, “libtard” and “sheep”, the threats against prominent liberals, the gun waving and flag waving; or the frank corruption of a political party that would allow an emotionally fragile man and a foreign power to win an election that will primarily benefit the very mentality and behaviour that encourages these dangerous feelings of entitlement.

I don’t know what dismays me more; a group of people buying into the myth of a self-made man who was made by his father’s enormous wealth, a series of investment opportunities and regular appearances on Reality TV or the fact that for the ordinary working class men and women he claims to represent there will never be a chance of becoming a star or rising out of poverty. Why do I think this? Because the days of the early twentieth century when anyone could be successful by virtue of talent and hard work are now long gone. To succeed requires celebrity, to gain celebrity means to be born into it, or wealth, for they are one and the same.

The perversion of Christian values into something utterly monstrous is a theme I will leave for another day, besides, John Pavlovitz does it so well. At the end of the day what we are faced with is a very real defeat for the working masses. They wanted to be in his gang, but they will never get to be leader – however much all the insults and foot stomping chants make them feel empowered, however much they may hate other tribes in society they feel have unjustly excluded them in the past. Leadership? Leader of the Gang, yeah? That is the provenance of the rich and entitled and nothing will be changed by any number of rousing choruses. Who are the “losers” now?

The election of a new President shouldn’t be divisive nor does it normally throw the whole world into a state of panic. There is something terrible going on. Comments from friends on Facebook have me convinced that if we aren’t exactly going to Hell in a hand basket there must be something hallucinogenic in the water at the very least.

From his position as President Elect Donald Trump must be wondering why everyone except the party faithful is against him. Perhaps he thought of all those blockbuster movies in which deep voiced heroes say “Mr President” and he is offered universal love and acclaim – except for a few terrorists who always come to a sticky end. Not so, he is compared to the worst dictator of all time, a position not corrected by his appointment of a white supremacist to his cabinet.

Meanwhile the world inside and outside the USA is divided it seems into two camps who will never be reconciled. Those two camps being those who fear the democratic process itself must have been undermined and those who believe the entire world except Breitbart and Wikileaks (ironically enough) is on the side of communism. I find myself increasingly confused at this attitude. Sensible older people who I had previously regarded as rational are screaming conspiracy at every turn. Hillary Clinton, an experienced politician and public servant who is loved and highly respected on this side of the pond, is continually berated as a criminal at best and a satanist at worst.

The language of the pro-Trump lobby gets more and more hysterical by the day, there is a lot of foul language from people wrapping themselves up in the flag or, even more more bizarrely, the altar cloth. This is puzzling to British Christians I know who don’t think Trump is that nice a guy and that somehow this ruthless businessman, perhaps by virtue of his appearance on reality television and the popularity of the billionaire romance genre, has become almost a martyr in their eyes. Shrieks of “lock her up” grow again by the day as Jill Stein tries to unravel the mess created by rumour and an apparently lax electoral system. Anything about Trump that is not good is denounced as communist propaganda when, bizarrely, the communists helped him get elected. He is almost holy in his supporters’ eyes and can do no wrong it seems.

Personally I find this all very confusing and ultimately frightening. I like Americans, I have many American friends of all political persuasions, I have always thought of it as the country of the free but now it seems some of them want the clock turned back – and turned back all the way past Franklin D. Roosevelt I fear. What are we to do as the deluded children of Europe who can’t forget the lessons of the past? The only answer is to wait and see. If the recounts do show electoral fraud, the Trumpers and Trumpettes will never accept that is actually true. If on the other hand they don’t it should give him legitimacy as President but I don’t see the Republicans tolerating him for long unless he reins it in and starts to play by the rules.

There is one thing certain, we simply can’t go back to the 1930s. The jobs in industries that are not environmentally friendly either no longer exist or will poison the world for generations to come, perhaps cause our extinction. As one elected popularist found in the 1930s, millions of new jobs can be created – but only in the army… All I can do is pray that the desire for peace wins in the end and, if it doesn’t , just “Duck and Cover”.