di Maria Vittoria Prest, SdP student
America chose its President: Donald Trump out-matched the electoral race. Never before as in this presidential election the world has wondered about the future not only of the United States of America but of the entire world. Is this a rhetorical question? I don’t think so. Foreign and economic policies of lots of countries for the next few years derive from American choices.
When Obama was elected there was astonishment, surprise, acceptance and much more but never fear, even among his detractors.
Today is different. We are scared in front of a choice that gives life to the deepest fears this new century brings with it not only for Trump’s America but for a world that we struggle to recognize.
We, young of Generation Z, look to our future with bewilderment.
The generations before us had a pretty clear idea to define their own choices and positions.
Fascism was defeated, the great Russia towards a path of emancipation, America with all its contradictions was still a free and democratic place to seek and often find redemption to a life of misery and sorrow in people’s mind. Europe was on the way to build a strong “system” with clear relations between states as a guarantee to its citizens and all those who refers to. The political and social unrest from the East and from Africa were still seen as an opportunity and not as an invasion.
Then the unthinkable happened: the Twin Towers attack straight to the heart of America. The world and the United States began to understand something was broken in the relationship between and within Middle Eastern Countries. Between those countries and the Western world. As if a Tower of Babel had been built upon the indifference and blindness of those who could grasp the warning signs but underestimated the danger.
And then Iraq, Libya, Syria, Turkey, a forgotten Africa, Isis and its crazy ideology of blood and submission, Islamic terrorist attacks in Europe, the reactions of the affected countries and after that the unexpected arrival of a Pope coming from the other side of the world, the only strong and determined voice today denouncing all abuses and recalling humanity when facing big issues of our future.
In this scenario the US election campaign took place. For many of us young people that appointment with the future generated a mix of different feelings.
Trump – the man of simple solutions and answers – wins. He has been able to convince people who felt left out from the modest economic recovery. Those who are forgotten.
The Democratic Hillary Clinton – despite the history of her party, her choices for equality of rights between men and women of different cultures, ethnicities, religions, rather than her own personal history and politics – has failed to convince the electors. In the Democratic universe Hillary Clinton’s gray spot and her links to the economic and financial power have created disaffection and pushed the electorate away, especially the younger and those more sensitive.
From Europe Generation Z saw the emergence of an America they did not know and witnessed the inability of some to stem a disturbing phenomenon that threatens to impact and influence the countries on the other side of the ocean.
We young people have already suffered a tremendous blow with Brexit in the UK. London, the dreamed city, longed for, the “gateway” to a possible different, free and inclusive, tolerant and multi-ethnic life, suddenly closed with a clasp of social and political selfishness. Here as elsewhere the idea that alone is better won. The rest of the democratic Europe is the one struggling to stem the economic crisis, terrorism, various racisms and populism that feed themselves of these difficulties, that undermine the foundations of a collective construction of a supranational state that still has to come.
Did we look to America as the answer to all of this? No, but we looked at it with hope.
And today we ask ourselves what will happen to those democratic visionaries in the world who tried to build peace after two bloody and destructive world wars.
Will we Generation Z be able to move on and to stop the gray wave that advances? Not a single man but the ideas he represents.
I think so, I hope so because it’s our job to build the world we want to live in without preconceptions and without the old and glorious slogans of the last century.
The history of the United States shows the construction of strong, balanced and independent powers has been able to correct, restrain and prevent authoritarian tendencies in the past.
We would like to think that today and tomorrow will remain so. A country aware of its history and migratory origins and therefore more welcoming.
A country that, however it turned out, CAN nominate a woman to the highest office of the state. Maybe next time.
The project is part of the “Transatlantic Leadership Initiative” (TLI) and was made possible by support from the German Marshall Fund of the United States