May 18, 2023

We live in an age where news is global.

If I want to know what’s going on in the world as I get outside my bowl of porridge in the morning, I have multiple sources. As a Brit, there are the TV channels like the BBC, Sky and Al-Jazeera – but increasingly now, I find myself glued to the smaller screen. The social platforms are an excellent source of interesting news, because they learn – or I tell them – what interests me. The ‘For You’ stream on TikTok, for example, has fine-tuned itself to become an invaluable source of information on subjects close to my heart – like anti-democratic Christo-fascism, the advancement of atheism and (for my day job) the world of historical fiction / book publishing. Also Substack, the very platform that you’re reading this on, gives me the chance to choose precisely the opinion pieces and viewpoints I want to hear.

This means the news I get is interest-based rather than geographical – which is why I find myself increasingly being drawn into the world of US politics, almost on a domestic level. I am fascinated to know more about the 2024 presidential election, and especially how the Republican party is being hamstrung into endorsing the wannabe fascist dictator Trump.

Trump. Here in the UK, we generally see him as a figure of ridicule. Our TV stations seem to think it is best to play into this, showing footage of yee-haw MAGA rednecks who believe that all the bad press, lawsuits and criminal charges are nothing more than a ‘socialist’ conspiracy to discredit him. All this gives us a bit of a one-sided view of what Americans think of Trump. One British man even phoned in to a talk show the other day shouting ‘Trump 2024!’ and ‘four more years! But thankfully, I am now seeing the other side of this, courtesy of my social algorithms.

Through them I am getting a refreshing perspective on how rational, sane Americans are responding to Trump and the Republican Christo-fascists – and it is heartening to see that they are making their voices heard. A trans kid stood up before a State legislature (I forget which), and told them how their campaign of hate and marginalisation is affecting innocent lives. A powerful lady called Pamela Stevenson makes impassioned and compelling speeches in Kentucky – sadly to Republican law-makers who seem to have their fingers in their ears (or their hearing aids switched off). An ex-astronaut told a Republican in a candidate debate that he had no right forcing his ill-informed views on experts in their fields, and this person looked down his nose at the astronaut – one of the most supremely competent people on, or off, this planet – as if he was a piece of dirt.

So I am pleased that I am getting to understand American politics from more of a balanced domestic viewpoint.

But I did not grow up in America, so there is still one topic that I find very hard to understand.

And that is – guns.

[Read more here]