There’s a thrift store in Egham, the next town over from us, that has a great selection of books; I stop by whenever I walk down the main street. The man behind the counter is very chatty and forgetful. After he hears my accent, he says, “Oh, you’re American? Let me ask you a question…” He has done this three or four times already, so I know what the question is going to be:
“Do you support Donald Trump for President?”
I say no, and he smacks his hand against the counter in mock frustration, and says that he has asked all of the Americans he knows, and the answer is always the same. No Americans here will vote for – or, at least, admit supporting – Trump for President, and he just wants to talk to one person to find out “what the hell they’re thinking.”
I had to explain to him that the people who DO support Trump probably don’t make it into Egham, Surrey, England – they probably don’t make it out of America all that often, and, perhaps, they don’t leave their individual counties. When they do leave the country, it’s probably to go on a cruise ship around the Caribbean, and “leaving the country” means watching “natives” dance on the ship deck while they drink Coronas and feel their bellies push against their bathing suits.
But I digress; people are watching the election here. They’re watching it everywhere. It is like the largest political reality television show of all time. It’s bigger than 2004, when I was living in Barcelona, and my friend Josep argued that people around the world should be able to have a vote in the American election because what happens in America affects the world. This time, it won’t just be the stock market’s reaction – which, if Trump wins, will drop, and if Hillary wins, will likely rally. (Anyone else thinking of shorting an index on Monday?) The stability of political and economic systems everywhere could be completely thrown to the wind if the Republicans declare victory, or if they fight the election results.
The photo above is of the wind whipping through fields in Mauritius, where my father grew up. When I was little, my family figured out that Mauritius was pretty much on the exact opposite point of the world from Southern California, where we lived. It’s scary to think of what might happen if Trump wins – and, like butterflies creating tornados, the disastrous effect that four years of his rule could have on what happens in every corner of the globe.