Home

What's happening here, on Earth

Along with the danger, this is an opportunity to start thinking.

Brian Eno
9 November 2016
Ted S. Warren AP/Press Association Images. All rights reserved.

A man dressed in red-white-and-blue sits on the curb during a protest against President-elect Donald Trump, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016. Ted S. Warren AP/Press Association Images. All rights reserved.

I had a bet with my American friend Stewart Brand that Trump would win. He wrote to me this morning: “You called it right. And I called it wrong. Groan. Now the weirdness!

I wrote back to him:

“Welcome to the post-Liberal world. I think I know exactly how you feel – I remember the morning after Brexit, and the realisation that I lived in a country I didn’t really know anything about.

It’s a genuine revolution – but one we didn’t recognise because we had nothing to do with starting it. We always thought we were at the centre of things, but it turns out we’re not. It’s us, not them, who are in a bubble.

Is there any good news? My post-Brexit feeling – after the initial shock and disappointment – is that there is, along with a lot of danger and uncertainty. Liberal America will now have to take a good hard look at itself, as Liberal England has been doing. There has never been so much future-oriented socio-political discussion here, never so much a sense of ‘We haven’t been paying attention’. New groups and coalitions are springing up daily and the whole landscape is changing. Everyone is thinking … effectively trying to save or if necessary reinvent liberal democracy.

One reassuring side to this though: it destroys any conspiracy theories about secretive cabals pulling the strings. They weren’t in this at all. It’s very conspicuous that even FOX was taken by surprise; that even the revolting Koch’s didn’t put their pennies in. This was, for better or worse, a genuine people’s revolution ( – so it can happen).”

I see this as an opportunity – which is why I’m less distressed than my American friends. For years I’ve been hearing ‘we don’t do politics’ from so many intellectuals – as though it’s something shameful, a bit like public masturbation. Now I think perhaps we’ll sideline our Virtual Reality iPads and dreams of Colonies on Mars for a little while and start thinking about what’s happening here, on Earth.

This is a wake-up call for many people. I’m glad that DiEM25 is already awake along with openDemocracy.

Brian Eno is a member of the Diem 25 Coordinating Collective

US election: what's going on in Trump's must-win states?

Our editor-in-chief, Mary Fitzgerald, is on the ground in key US battleground states – follow her on Twitter @maryftz for live updates.

There's never been more at stake. But the pandemic has kept many foreign journalists away. Hundreds of international observers who normally oversee US elections aren't there.

Can we trust the polls? What's the blanket media coverage not telling us? Hear Mary describe what she's seeing and hearing across the country, from regular citizens to social justice activists to right-wing militias arming themselves for election day.

Plus: get the inside scoop openDemocracy's big 'follow-the-money' investigation – breaking soon – which lifts the lid on how Trump-linked groups are going global with their culture wars.

Join us for a free live discussion on Thursday 29 October, 5pm UK time/1pm EDT.

Had enough of ‘alternative facts’? openDemocracy is different Join the conversation: get our weekly email

Comments

We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.
Audio available Bookmark Check Language Close Comments Download Facebook Link Email Newsletter Newsletter Play Print Share Twitter Youtube Search Instagram WhatsApp yourData