American politics has it all: lights, lies, sexual abuse allegations, leaked private emails, racial tension and school yard name-calling.
In the past we could brush off American politics, but this election has left many Australians morally convicted about who will become one of the most powerful political forces in the world.
The latest discourse in the saga is the ‘leaking’ of the Trump Tapes (You know an election has turned into a farce when a candidate has their own hashtag #TrumpTapes).
In them, Donald Trump and Access Hollywood host Billy Bush swap comments about their sexual attraction to an actress. It turns into verbal debauchery where Trump explicitly details his sexual conduct, which he states happens without people’s consent, his excuse being that he is famous and powerful.
The leak adds fuel to the fire that gives Trump a Nero-esque quality where our disgust has outranked shock and public reaction has escalated. People are correlating Trump’s dialogue with the sexual abuse tactic of ‘gaslighting’, a form of emotional abuse that causes victims to question their sanity and perception of reality.
Some Republican nominees are wiping their hands of Trump, and following his mediocre apology, a discussion has emerged about rape culture and the danger of alleged ‘locker room’ talk (which, for the record, numerous male athleteshave denied ever hearing).
Dr. Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston, said it best when she stated, ‘This is what rape culture looks like and sounds like.’
As a Christian, a female, and a human being, I am outraged by Trump’s comments. But as a global citizen, I feel powerless.
Pushing aside my fear, I have realised that I do have a role—or a responsibility— in responding to the US election. Because while the moral corruptness on both sides of US politics is far out of my hands, the themes and values they represent are very much a part of my life.
While Australia may not be building a wall, the inhumane off-shore treatment of refugees and asylum seekers reflects the racial superiority complex and fear-driven tactics of Trump.
The sexual misconduct directly relates to statistics that tell us one in five Australian women have been sexually assaulted.
And the violent declaration of another people, religion or race as the ‘enemy’, screams of the 2005 Cronulla Riots.
Our country may not possess the same pizazz of the American presidential race, but we certainly reflect many of the same values. That’s why our response to this US election matters—because it’s starting a discourse about the inequalities in our midst and the fact that we need to change this.
Jesus’ instruction to ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ in Mark chapter 12, verse 31 may be stated regularly, but it’s important we fully appreciate the gravity of these words in today’s ever-changing society.
As we consider what is unfolding in the United States and Australia, let’s start by changing ourselves. It is possible to bring about justice in our own lives by being informed, embracing people despite differences, and being driven by love instead of fear. This affects our communities, and then we are on our way to changing the world.