Opinion |

Thank You, America's Women. You May Yet Save the World – From Trump

Thank you, America's women, for choosing history over pre-history. You made the difference in this election. You saved us

Bradley Burston
Bradley Burston
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Mazeda Uddin celebrates the victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at La Boom night club in Queens on November 6, 2018
Mazeda Uddin celebrates the victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at La Boom night club in Queens on November 6, 2018Credit: AFP
Bradley Burston
Bradley Burston

It's not every day that an individual is given a chance to save the world. Tens of millions of individuals may have done just that.

Thank you, America's women. You made the difference in this election. You saved us.

Not only the "us" that means America. We have already seen how a Trump regime, had it continued to control all branches of government - unchecked, unexamined, unrestrained, in many ways profoundly un-American –represented a threat to the world at large, the impulsive, incendiary Boltonism of its often ill-informed and ill-advised foreign policy constituting an array of ticking time bombs beyond the reach of sappers.

Thank you, America's women, for choosing history over pre-history.

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Thank you for taking the crucial role in beginning the reversal of momentum that, until this week, saw an American power structure which rewarded misogyny, derided diversity, questioned and eroded the most basic of minority rights, the most basic of Constitutional guarantees.

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Thank you for giving a fighting chance to a woman's right to her own body and her own future.

As Trump's march toward the midterms advanced in ugliness and his own unique brand of toxic masculinity, it was clear that America's women would stand up to the president in record numbers.

As white male Republicans on the campaign trail began throwing around the word "Kavanaugh" as a verb, pretending that men as a whole had become the innocent victims of out-of-control – in Trump's phrase, "nasty" - women, female voters showed they were undeterred.

Jacky Rosen celebrates at a Democratic election night party after wining a Senate seat, November 7, 2018Credit: John Locher,AP

In one poll, taken during the confirmation hearings of the man who would become Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, while American men were more or less evenly divided over Trump's performance, American women disapproved of the president's conduct by a two to one margin, 63 percent disapproving while only 30 percent in approval.

Thank you, women of America, for saying no, in huge numbers, to appeals to racism, Islamophobia, and hatred of women as a whole, LGBTQ people as a whole, Jews, immigrants, Hispanics as a whole, African-Americans as a whole, all journalists who do not work for Fox News and Breitbart, and Democrats of every stripe.

This was not only an election which saw women running in record numbers. Thanks in no small part to you, the women of America, this was a vote which saw a stereotype-shattering series of historic firsts.

Tuesday saw the election of the first Muslim women ever elected to Congress. Democratic-Socialist Rashida Tlaib of Michigan will also be the first Palestinian American woman in Congress. Former refugee Ilhan Omar of Minnesota's Democratic-Farmer-Labor will be the first Somali-American in Congress.

Democrat Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland will become the first Native American congresswomen. Davids will be the first lesbian congresswoman elected in Kansas.

The midterms also saw the youngest woman ever elected to Congress - Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29, Democratic-Socialist of New York. Also 29, but a bit older than Ocasio-Cortez, is Democrat Abby Finkenauer, the first woman elected to Congress from the state of Iowa.

Democrat Ayanna Presley will become the first African-American from the state of Massachusetts. Democrat Janet Mills will become Maine's first woman governor, and Republican Marsha Blackburn will become the first female senator from Tennessee.

Sharice Davids greets supporters during an election night party on November 6, 2018Credit: AFP

In Colorado, Democrat Jared Polis will become the first openly gay man elected governor. In Nevada, Democrat Jacky Rosen, who held off a Republican challenger backed to the hilt by GOP and Trump mega-donors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, became the first Jewish woman elected to the U.S. Senate outside of California.

"My heart has been restored," said former Obama White House adviser and civil rights and environmental activist Van Jones.

"It is the end of one-party rule in the United States, thank God, and the beginning of a new Democratic Party – younger, browner, cooler, more women, more veterans, [a party which] can win in Michigan, can win in Pennsylvania, can win Ohio."

"It may not be a blue wave," said Jones, now a CNN commentator, but "it's a rainbow wave. There's something happening out there, and I'm happy about it."

Thank you, women of America, for standing up to Trump policies which were designed to be as obviously and proudly abhorrent as possible, in particular separating thousands of migrants from their children for the stated purpose of its "deterrent effect."

Thank you for saying no to the vicious slander and incitement of Trump and his disciples.

Thank you for setting a new and different example for the rest of us in the world, many of whom live in countries sorely tempted by the false promises of Trumpism, many of whom live in countries with no constitution, or a democracy in name only, or a democracy in mortal peril.

Even those extraordinary candidates who fell short in this election, moved the needle, shoved a dark and retrograde momentum in a fresh direction.

They included Democrats Christine Hallquist of Vermont, who sought to become the first transgender governor of an American state, and Stacey Abrams of Georgia, who narrowly lost her bid to become America's first black governor and her state's first non-white, non-male chief executive.

Thank you, Stacey Abrams, for so clearly pointing the way forward for the rest of us.

Abrams, who may now be headed for a runoff election facing Republican Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, whose campaign was severely tainted with charges of voter suppression and last-minute official manipulations, was defiant as she addressed supporters election night, vowing to keep fighting.

Stacey Abrams, Democratic nominee for governor of Georgia, in Atlanta, November 6, 2018Credit: Bloomberg

"Georgia still has a decision to make. A decision between division and trickery, or a leadership that defends your rights, your kids, your career, your community, and your right to vote in America.

"That's what's on the ballot."

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