When they go low, we go high
It’s a mixture of incredulity, sadness, disgust, impotence and great uncertainty.
Half the voters in the US have decided to profoundly change their country, renouncing many of the values that made the United States a reference for the rest of the world.
I guess it is in their right to do that. But they have provoked a change that destabilizes the world in unpredictable ways and that endorses much of what I would like to educate my children against. It was hard to see my 2 year old sleeping this morning, doubting how this will evolve and what world he will have to live in.
It’s hard to understand, to accept and it will be hard to live with it. It changes the world as some of us have always known it, back to a scenario which no one seems to remember. As always with the pendulum that governs history, I am afraid it will only get worse before it gets better.
Someone told me this morning that there is nothing we can do, only wait and see, and hope that hell does not break lose (also in the EU, after Brexit and with elections coming up in France and The Netherlands). I don’t buy that.
This is a wake-up call for many, and particularly for the type of people who read this blog, most of whom live and work around the EU, an entity that was born from the ashes of a Europe that burnt after an experiment of populism and madness that won an election trafficking in fear, prejudice and despair.
We will have to come to terms with the reality that the US will not contribute to guiding the way in facing many of the pressing and capital challenges of our times, and that it is for us to step up.
It is now for the EU to show the world how a society can only succeed when it is inclusive, respects, takes responsibility and exercises solidarity; what we used to call western values. These are our founding principles, and now we need them more than ever, just like they need us. The challenge is enormous but everything is at stake and we need to step up.
It’s the time to be more active, assertive, to not shy away from embracing our values in the face of resistence or political risks both at home and in the international sphere. It is also a time for showing many, not only European citizens, but also those in the US and elsewhere, what the EU is there for and how it can represent their values too. The US, in particular, still has much of the best in the world to offer, including the best universities, the most successful open and innovative companies, many educated, talented, brilliant, responsible citizens, good people who we know, who have impressed us, and who will now need us much as we will need them. Let’s not let each other down.
You may perhaps think I am exaggerating but this, for me, is a breaking point. We will now have to fight for the things we used to take for granted and we will have to figure out ways to stop just watching silently from the sidelines. If we don’t, we might very well regret it, and, much worse, we will find it impossible to explain it to our children.
Paraphrasing someone who is already missed, let the world know that when they go low, we go high.