Monday, November 14, 2016

America has a new President.
On November the 9th 2016, America and the world woke up to a challenging new reality.

Donald Trump has defeated Senator Hilary Clinton, to become the 45th President of USA.

And although both him and his predecessor, President Barack Obama, called for the aftermath of the elections to be a time for "uniting the country again," what we are witnessing is anything but.

There are ongoing protests that call for a new election, opposing Trump as president. On the other hand, there are numerous homophobic or racist incidents and attacks being reported, citing Trump's election.

Both groups have got the result wrong. The first group need to accept how democracy works.Trump either they like it or not was democratically elected,thus he will be the next American President.

The second is a hideous bunch of people, which thinks that by electing a populist, right-wing president, gives them the freedom to cause harm to a fellow human being. Their demeanor does not do any favor either to Trump and his work as their future president, their country, communities or themselves.

They believe that an outspoken anti-immigrant leader, automatically grants them the right to pour their bile into their communities, turning them as corrosive as they are. Similar incidents took place in the UK after the Brexit vote, which reveals that Western nations are not that tolerant and progressive after all.

It is becoming clear that such hatred was and it is always there. But because we like to show and nice face to society we don't discuss our views in fear of being judged. It only takes a Trump or a Farage to go public and the masks fall and show our true self.

This makes a valid point for open and early debates in schools or colleges. To educate as many young people as possible, about humanity and diversity. If we don't, they can always join any website to satisfy their curiosity for knowledge.

But as often the internet is full of bigots that spread their poison and influence our youths' minds, the result could be ever increasing populist and intolerant societies.

Not that hatred is the only cause for Trump's election. Sadly it is also despair and disappointment with our modern political and social reality. The elites of every western country got to complacent and arrogant. They ignored the needs of the people for too long, wrapped up in their own political career and corruption.

Now the people vote for outsider demagogues, that can only mean going backwards to all the good that we have achieved as a civilization. Yet sadly,we are going to keep all the negative aspects that led us to vote for populists in the first place.

Trump won't reverse globalization, he thrived from it too-he is a wealthy guy. He will just target and scapegoat all minorities or the poor. He already stated that he will deport about 3 million illegal immigrants from America. And that he will soon built the infamous wall that he promised, on the US borders with Mexico.

That will not only cost a lot of unnecessary money, he will ruin the country's relationship with its neighbor and close partner. That is not a way to settle things and promote your nation's interests.

He appears to be an ignorant man, arrogant and rude, a right bigot. If only he could be a bit diplomatic and political correct, then people would not react to him as badly. You can not be the President of a nation, representing it across the globe and openly speak with a derogatory language about neighboring countries and minorities.

It's wrong and you are going to have to use diplomacy in your appointment as a world leader, in order to gain support from other countries and keep the position of your nation as a leading and influential one.

Yet his victory is also a result from an equal bad opposition campaign. With all the dirt that the Clinton campaigners threw at him about how he treated women in the past, they might have helped him in his victory.

A lot of men of his age think as he does, they just keep it private. Trying to portray him as sexist because of his approach to women was a hit below the belt and it might have worked to his favor after all. The Clinton campaigners should have focused on his lack of experience to lead, rather than playing dirty.

And that is not all. The people of America wanted change and a new kind of politician and leadership,that would bring a new deal for them. But someone who could provide such change, without the controversial statements, was Senator Bernie Sanders which was defeated by Hilary Clinton.

Perhaps the American establishment arrogantly fought so hard to get rid off a leftist outsider, confident that a populist like Trump could never win the elections and beat Clinton. But their speculations were wrong.

People in the western hemisphere, in both sides of the Atlantic, seem to be fed up with mainstream politicians and the establishment political parties which represent them. They want change and to shake things up, they seek a better deal and justice.

The issue is, are they voting for the right people to achieve their goal? It is debatable if populism, xenophobia, stricter border controls, Islamophobia, homophobia, conservatism and protectionism are the best solutions.

Especially when they are not the main cause to our problems, rather where our attention is drawn to. What about our political elite's corruption, intergovernmental-ism, lobbying from very wealthy and powerful companies that totally neglect the citizens' problems, whether they are native or migrant?

Besides, could Trump stick to everything he promised, without a backlash or opposition from the US Senate? Remember how hard was for Obama to achieve his reforms, even some of the most beneficial for the citizens.

If we examine the case of a much smaller country-Greece, which went the same way like America, we will see that often change is not possible or straightforward.

The Greeks were also fed up with the political system and voted for Leftist populists;Syriza and its leader Alexis Tsipras. Yet after the initial hiatus of their victory, the promising and defiant statements or minister appointments, their impact on Greek politics was more of the same with any of the establishment parties.

It remains to be seen if Trump can achieve his plans. Meanwhile, Europe must brace itself for major changes. Trump famously declared that America pays too much money to protect countries that "they've never even heard of".

And that from now on,all NATO members must pay more into the budget if they want US protection, plus he expressed his admiration for Putin.

A less US dominated and "protected" Europe might be a good thing. The problem is, will Putin and Trump cooperate to promote nationalism in Europe and divide our continent further, or will them two cooperate to end the West-East recent stand off?

Perhaps more EU integration could be the key and solution, to keep our western civilization still relative and influential in the globe. Hopefully Europe will stick to its values and become a beacon of the West, since America is for now choosing to turn its back to its own.

Sadly, the greatest impact of Donald Trump on American and global politics, will be-either he wanted it or not, deep division of class, race or religion. He and his European counterparts like Farage and Le Pen, bring out the worse in us and our societies.

They are reflecting our ugly side as a civilization right back at us and it is even more disturbing that people are not scared by it; they are actually inspired and act upon it.

Maybe Trump's intentions are anything but, it could be that politicians like him have deep patriotic sentiments and wish the best for their country. Unfortunately they achieve quite the opposite and humanity has been in this situation many times before.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

America decides. US Presidential Elections 2016.
The US Presidential Election Campaign is reaching its critical climax. On Tuesday November the 8th, the more than 200 million Americans eligible to vote, will finally get their chance. 

For the past few months, the debates and speculations have been intensifying, so much that one would wonder if he follows a major political decision or a scenario of a television drama series.

As usual, it comes down to the two main political powerhouses of the USA; the Republican and the Democratic parties. With Donald Trump becoming the first party's nominee, Senator Hilary Clinton is the Democrat's choice after defeating Senator Saunders.

The campaigns got really ugly, with "hits" both above and bellow the waste coming from both sides, that I personally forgot what each candidate originally promised or is standing for. 

In general the European media portrayed Trump as an anti-immigration, conservative, populist, wealthy "outsider," while Clinton is representative of the establishment and more mainstream politics, while being cheered as potentially the first woman president in US history.

Here in the other side of the Atlantic, it was mainly the "juicy" scandals and controversies that made the headlines regarding these elections. Clinton's e-mail gaffe, in which she used her personal address rather a government one for communicating state affairs, plus her funding from countries like Saudi Arabia-with poor human rights records, or her handling of the Benghazi tragedy grabbed our attention.

On the other hand, Trump was involved in so many controversies, that one would wonder how he continues being a candidate. From misogynist comments, to anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and xenophobic, his tax returns secrecy, openly supporting leaders like Putin, sexual misconduct accusations; the list could go on.

But somehow, nothing seems to put him out of the contest and secure Clinton's victory. It looks that people in both sides of the Atlantic, are fed up with mainstream politics and prefer to trust any outsider in hope that something will change.

And so far, little has been said about how the outcome is going to influence Europe. Being America's closest ally, our continent will inevitably be affected by who becomes America's next president. In addition as the US is the world's only "super-power," its foreign policy concerns us all. 

The most possible scenarios for Europe will be those; the "devil that we know"as if Clinton gets elected, things between US and our continent will remain pretty much the same and stable. 

Or we will have to deal with a very new and unpredictable reality if Trump wins; once he sticks to all that he says of course and doesn't backtrack on everything when he gets in the White House.

We have seen that happening in Greece,where people were fed with promises by the Left wing Syriza party that obviously could not be kept, since the previous governments already signed bail-out deals.

Similarly, we could assume that Trump will not deliver all his promises and that he uses populism, just to get elected. In the case of Britain recently, the UKIP led campaigns resulted in the country opting to leave the EU, yet we saw their leadership quitting soon after the result.

If Trump is the "inexperienced demagogue" that his opponents claim him to be, we could be seeing a very short Republican presidency.

Yet provided that he manages to deliver what he campaigns for, then we could have a very protectionist America, with a strong anti-immigrant sentiment that could spill over to Europe and other regions. 

His tolerance of Putin could mean trouble for Europe, or on the other hand end the decades old stand off, if the two of them manage to work and smooth their differences. Although it is unclear how this new status will affect our continent.

The NATO alliance may particularly be affected, since Trump clarified that America won't be willing to protect its allies, unless they are prepared to contribute more into the alliance's budget. Then Europe will have no choice but to create its own army, investing more in a single defense mechanism.

Outspoken and not as diplomatic in his speeches or approach, Mr. Trump could introduce us to a new era of international politics, that will certainly influence Europe's too. We might be seeing an empowerment of nationalist, protectionist or even Far-Right parties gaining even more power across Europe, dividing it further.

Another outcome of a potential Trump's victory, is that America could become more isolationist, weakening the West's influence. That could lead to a more multi-polarized world, with new emerging powers filling the gap. 

This is not particularly a bad thing, as long as Europe and other Western nations step in to safeguard their interests in the globe. But if they do not, we could be seeing the end of the world as we know it, with a declining Western influence and inevitably civilization. 

The only way Europe could keep safe and strong, if Trump sticks to what he promised during his campaign, is to unite further to avoid the bumpy road ahead of Trump's victory; he will definitely shake things up.

A multi-polar world may be a good outcome, that could lead to more equality among its regions. Yet all of us which comprise the Western democracies, will need to learn to live outside America's protective wing, but also shadow. 

That can be scary and dangerous as any change. But if Europe manages to cope and steps up its efforts for a greater say and responsibilities in the world stage, then this new reality could become an opportunity for us.

Clinton on the other hand will most likely stick to what are used to from the US, either some times we criticize and complain about it, or not. NATO and the West's military, political, cultural and commercial supremacy will continue, at all costs with the ways already known to us.

She is experienced and she has worked in the US government with different roles for decades now. She might belong to an elite of family political dynasties, that have ruled America and inevitably the world for decades, but she won't rock the boat. Thus, there will be little change of direction in our world.

This sounds less worrying and poses little threat to our way of doing things and what we are used to. The point is, is where we are satisfactory, fair and functioning for all of us enough, to not want to radically alter the status quo? And in the end of the day, it is not up to us decide.   

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Are Europeans mature enough, for true equality for LGBT individuals?
Alan Mathison Turing was a British pioneering computer scientist, mathematician, logician, and cryptanalyst who, working during World War II, succeeded with his team in cracking the “Enigma code” used by the Nazi command to conduct covert communication operations.

Because of Turing and his colleagues’ efforts,there is now general agreement that they shortened the war by at least two years, saving an estimated 17 million lives. Prime Minister Winston Churchill singled out Turing as the person whose work contributed the most to defeating the Germans.(LGBT Nation).

Turing was considered to be the father of modern computer science and was most famous for his work in helping to create the "bombe" that cracked messages enciphered with the German Enigma machines.

He was convicted of gross indecency in 1952 after admitting a sexual relationship with a man.

He was given experimental chemical castration as a "treatment". His criminal record resulted in the loss of his security clearance and meant he was no longer able to work for Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), where he had been employed following service at Bletchley Park during the war. He died of cyanide poisoning in 1954, aged 41.(The Guardian)

Alan Turing,was finally granted a posthumous royal pardon in 2013 – 61 years after he was charged at Manchester police station over homosexual activity. (The Independent) It came after years of campaigning from LGBT groups and his living family relatives.

Subsequently this gave way for the "Alan Turing law,"that will effectively act as an apology to those convicted for consensual same-sex relationships, before homosexuality was decriminalized in England and Wales in 1967. (The Independent)

The reality for LGBT people is not too different today, despite becoming much better. Although we have established ever increasing freedoms and equality, things are still very fragile. 

With all the Far Right political parties gaining support all over Europe, it won't be hard to turn the tables and go backwards again. Because LGBT people are still discriminated upon, even in the most progressive nations. 

Being able to marry or live openly as a gay/bisexual person or having a gay pride, although a huge step forward, is not areal equality, rather acceptance and tolerance. A long road from the true goal that would allow all the Turings of this world to make it a better place to live.

Do we currently have numerous openly gay politicians, but also scientists, thinkers, people of influence that could change the world, or would any of you vote for an openly gay president?
Having a camp individual on the television and laughing at his antics or being amused by them is not tolerance and acceptance. You are stereotyping a whole group of people, making it difficult for great minds like Turing to showcase their effort and true goal, to prove that being gay is not all camp and laughs and drag.

Would you respect an openly gay person to represent you and your nation in international affairs, or would you admire an openly gay person enough for them to lead the country, teach your children, manage you at work, become a professor and a religious leader?

Or would you always prefer a stereotypical gay caricature to amuse you every Saturday night on the television? Think about it.

LGBT individuals will never be truly accepted and equal in our world, as long as they have to "come out" to everyone about their sexuality, as if they have to gain our acceptance, or rather permission to be who they are.

No "straight" individual has to explain themselves about their sexual orientation, beg for acceptance from their parents, explain themselves why, or fight for respect at work or school environment.

They can never be equals, as long as we stereotype them, inevitably and subconsciously creating a certain role for them to play in our societies, limiting their potential.

Nor they can have equality when they have to go to a ghetto bar or club, to find a potential partner or often socialize only with other LGBT individuals because the mainstream society rejects them.

We have created a very stereotyped image of them in our media and popular culture, which has to change. But for that to be achieved, humanity as a whole needs to come to terms with its true nature and sexuality.

Because it is not just the LGBT people that need to be liberated from gender stereotypes and roles, it is every single one of us.