For many, following the final hours of the US Presidential campaign signalled utter despair. For British people who voted against Brexit, the feeling was almost one of déjà vu. Although this time it was slightly different. Unlike Brexit, where the outcome and reality of a Brexit vote was (and remains) unclear, the American people know exactly what it meant to vote for their next President and one candidate in particular had made clear exactly what he stands for: racism, sexism, xenophobia and nationalism.
Rather than exclaiming our shock and our disbelief all over again, it is time we got a grasp of why people feel so disillusioned, both in the UK and the USA but also beyond, why voting for Trump was a viable option, and how populist and nationalistic views are becoming so widespread.
Brexit, and this recent shocking election result, have put into sharp relief the beliefs behind, and the reasons for, Gearing Up. Our future should not be a world where people are excluded for their race, religion or social standing. In such a world countries remain isolated as nation states, and the biggest global issues remain unsolved because cooperation, collaboration and collective action cease to exist. When social and economic inequality pervades and inclusivity and diversity are alien, it is no surprise that such disillusionment can lead to candidates like Trump and concepts like Brexit to thrive.
The purpose of Gearing Up is to encourage collective responsibility and global cooperation, not to put ourselves first, as Trump declared as one of his priorities in his President Elect speech. Tackling the world’s most pressing issues cannot be achieved when countries stand on their own, or when the President of the United States believes the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese. We need to tackle these issues together, in solidarity with the most underprivileged, the most side-lined and those most excluded from society.