Times like these - when democracy trumps all - Europe and Me

E&M ‘s Lisa O’ Leary reflects on Trumps time in Presidency, and looks forward to ‘a new day rising’ as inspired by the band Foo Fighters. 

“I, I’m a new day rising
I’m a brand new sky
To hang the stars upon tonight…”

David Grohl, lead singer of the band ‘Foo Fighters’, previously the drummer for Nirvana is belting out the lyrics to ‘Times Like These’ on Saturday Night Live. I’ve heard this song a thousand times before – it’s a good song. But tonight, it feels like the first time I’m hearing it all over again. It’s November 8 2020 and America has awoken to a new day. Joe Biden appears to have won the presidential election despite many of us (myself included) being resigned to the belief that Mr. Trump would get a second term because…well, let’s face it, it’s 2020. An utter shit show of a year.

Times like these
Pictured David Grohl of the Foo Fighters, photo credit SNL YouTube channel

“It’s times like these you learn to live again” David sings. I hope he’s right. Ever since the clock struck 2016 things have felt very wrong. Democracy took a back seat and all kinds of mayhem ensued. From sexual assault not being enough to keep someone out of the White House to separating and jailing children trying to cross borders in search of a better life. But the pandemonium was not without some form of justification it seems. Mr. Trump’s rise to power has been observed as a response to what many see as ‘democratic failure’ in governments. When people lost faith in those in charge and fear took over. And mass fear in action is, to put it simply, straight up dangerous. The people lashed out like screaming toddlers in supermarket aisles – kicking and flailing in their politicised tantrums. It was a mess.

Democracy became a joke. For four years the world looked on in horror as a deranged leader told bare-faced lies, argued, insulted, demanded, kicked and screamed his way through the Presidency. Human rights wavered, injustice lay around every corner and somewhere at the cliff edge everyone was getting a bit worried about a potential war. A conflict launched by this petulant man-child and his army of bible bashers – how did you let this happen, America?

In Europe, we cringed at the sight of this showboater literally elbowing his way into alignment with actual country leaders. We shook our heads in disdain as our own political representatives clenched their teeth and put on a brave smile in his ugly presence. We willed for it all to end soon. We pined for the days of reasoned discourse. But maybe we also reflected on what democracy should look like when this is all over. What better time to consider a make-over now that we have seen ourselves at our worst?

What better time to consider a make-over now that we have seen ourselves at our worst?

With the back of Mr. Trump now in sight it has begun to feel like the return to normality is upon us. That is not to say that everything is right again with the world. Far from it. But we are no longer caught in the ‘kayfabe’-like performance of delusional politics that Mr. Trump once reigned. We no longer have to indulge the ‘friendly visits’ or ridiculous commentary. We can get back to work.

“It’s times like these you give and give again
It’s times like these you learn to love again”

For too long, it has felt like this day would not come. It felt like we were all stuck in this vortex of nonsense and puppet-show-politics. Many had lost hope. Unable to see the point in progress if democracy had become a circus. As the song comes to a finish I feel a bit revitalised and ready. Like we’ve all been zombie-ing through life since 2016 or in some weird trance and now it’s over. It’s almost exciting for this ageing cynic …but let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet.


Cover photo:Herry Sucahya (Unsplash) Unsplash license 

  • retro

    Lisa O' Leary is a freelance video producer and writer originally from Ireland, now living in Hamburg. She studied Multimedia Communications in Ireland and Human Rights Law & Film abroad.  She has a passion for impact storytelling and mostly produces video content for NGOs or documentaries.

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