Why as a young Australian woman, I’m watching the U.S primaries with an invested interest

Why as a young Australian woman, I’m watching the U.S primaries with an invested interest

U.S
I can vividly remember watching Donald Trump win the U.S general election of 2016. Only hours after, news followed that a Sydney pub was filled with men chanting “Grab them by the pussy”.

I was overcome with devastation and fear. For months prior I had just assumed I would be watching Clinton become President and it would feel like Christmas. Yet instead I sat with tears streaming down my face and braced myself for the frightening and dangerous world that was to come.

Trump, the person who was about to take up the top spot in the White House, had a string of sexual assault allegations behind him; openly mocked disabled people; wasn’t concerned about addressing climate change; and was so inherently racist he wanted to build a wall to keep ‘others’ out.

As I had assumed, in the years that passed his victory, his harmful influence was felt across the globe. And I have seen the repercussions of his Presidency here in corners all over Australia.

When Trump first got elected, I had a lot of people tell me he wouldn’t actually be able to do that much in office. But he did.

I saw him nominate Brett Kavanaugh for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States – tilting the Supreme Court dangerously into Republication territory. And worse, he openly mocked Dr Christine Blasey Ford for her sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh around the time of her hearing. In doing so, he not only allowed the world to laugh at her but encouraged them to do it.

When Kavanaugh was sworn in to the Supreme Court on September 5, 2018, I was watching The Handmaids Tale around the same time. The comparisons in thinking amongst these powerful leaders in real life, and the screen, was chilling.

I was left feeling eerily similar to when I watched the chants unfold at the Sydney pub: devastated and fearful – and also angry.

At the same time, I had the same feelings continue to grow inside of me for another reason too. And that was the inexplicable absence of climate change action by governments all over the world – including Australia’s.

Hope

So when 2020 approached and democratic candidates starting appearing on my Twitter feed at almost every second post, that anger was joined by another emotion – hope. All through last year, I have openly shared my excitement for Bernie Sander’s growing success and marvelled at Elizabeth Warren’s policies and presentation.

To some, it may seem odd that as a young Australian woman, I would have an invested interest in who wins the Democratic Primary. But right now, I can’t look away – on a global scale; it’s the most important thing to me.

When Trump got elected in 2016, my boyfriend at the time was confused by how upset I was. “Oh well”, he said. “Someone else will run in four years and that might be a better outcome”.

Yet a significant amount of damage has been done in the three and a half years he’s already held office. Racism, sexism and homophobia have grown stronger in many hearts across the world. When Trump mocked Blasey Ford, he told others it was ok to mock all women too.

He has also done irreparable harm to the fight against climate change – withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement and exhilarating climate change scepticism across the globe.

Yet hope lies in a new progressive leader.

Later this year, Trump will go up against a Democratic Candidate for Presidency and right now, America is deciding who that will be – which is looking like a two horse race between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

Who wins out of the two matters – it matters to me and it should matter to you too.

If we look at climate policy, which affects the world as a whole, Sanders wants to put forward the Green New Deal, which overhauls climate policy in America and offers an aggressive and radical plan forward. Biden, on the other hand, although recognising the extreme threat that is climate change, offers a more moderate approach to tackling it.

This issue is not an American one but a global one. In order to fight the threat of climate change, we need leaders in the most powerful positions to understand the emergency for what it is and offer a solution forward.

Climate change is at the heart of Sanders’ campaign and among other things, it’s why my heart does a leap for every state he wins in the primaries.

As Sanders said during interview with Jimmy Fallon, “This is a very, very major crisis. As President what I will try to do is to not only transform our energy system but lead the world – because this is a global crisis. And maybe say to countries all over the world that instead of spending 1.8 trillion dollars on weapons of destruction designed to kill each other. Maybe we should pool our resources and fight against our common enemy, which is climate change.”

Those going to the polls right now in America are voting on behalf of people across the globe. I may not be an American citizen but I’m watching the Democratic Primaries knowing the results will impact the entire world.

As Greta Thunberg – a Swedish citizen – tweeted yesterday in regards to Super Tuesday, “Every election is a climate election. Vote for climate- and environmental justice. Vote for a living planet. Vote for your children.”

The world needs sweeping new policies set by the giant superpower that is America – especially one in the Green New Deal. Culturally, it matters too. We need a leader who’ll point out racism, sexism and homophobia when confronted with it – not encourage it.

I’m watching the Democratic Primaries with invested interest because my future’s skin is in the game. All of ours are.

I don’t want to watch the world run by leaders who are puppeteered by the billions of dollars donated to their campaigns by powerful corporations and men and women anymore. I want a leader that has the people and the environment at the heart of their policies.

We need sweeping change globally and America is a major player in making this happen. We need someone who will influence our government and hold them to account.

I don’t want to watch powerful men laugh and mock women anymore. I don’t want to see my future and my children’s future burn. I want to see a future where we come together for a better tomorrow.

Despite being oceans away, I am watched Super Tuesday on the edge of my seat knowing the safety of the world is on the line. America needs to kick out the most dangerous President to United States has ever seen for the sake of the whole world.

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