Some might think that the reaction on the political left to the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States is unduly apocalyptic. After all, will the world really end?1

But even if the world is not about to end, an apocalyptic view is appropriate, because the original meaning of apocalypse is simply “an uncovering” or “a revelation”; the “end of the world” meaning didn’t come until the late 19th century.

And there’s no doubt that something has been uncovered by this election: Nearly half of U.S. voters are willing to put an arrogant, easily-provoked misogynist bully with racist and xenophobic policies and fascist tendencies into the White House. For some, this is no surprise at all. For others of us, this is a chance to glimpse the extent to which women’s lives, non-white lives, and LGBTQ lives are devalued.

The apocalypse has come; but what was uncovered had been visible to many all along.

Image credit: John Martin, The Destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum, 1822. Original image here. Reproduced under Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND (3.0 Unported).

  1. Well, actually, if the United States takes the Republican position of ignoring climate change, then perhaps yes. And if Donald Trump’s brash temperament leads us into a nuclear war, then perhaps, once again, yes. 

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