Odd isn't it. No matter how often you hear the words "President elect Trump" it's still impossible to prevent a tremor of apprehension; still difficult to suppose this isn't some sort of elongated bad joke. And all the while more bad news emanates from Trump Towers. To appoint as senior strategist and chief counsel a man so nakedly racist, misogynist and anti semitic as Steve Bannon - from one of America's most right wing news organisations (and the competition is stiff) - is hardly designed to calm liberal fears that the USA is entering a dark phase.
Even the chinks of apparent light are swiftly dimmed; an apparent softening of his vow to repeal affordable care, is immediately "trumped" by the assertion that his supreme court appointments will be "pro-life". Outside of the frightening implications for thousands of women who may go down dangerous backstreet routes for terminations, I deeply resent the term pro-life being applied routinely to those who oppose a woman's right to choose.
Nobody I know in the pro choice lobby is anti-life for heaven's sake. What they, and I, believe is that this a decision which can only be made peoperly by the partners involved with the help of suitable medical and social advice. And whilst I respect those whose faith leads them to a different conclusion, it cannot be right that abortion has become a political football.
And currently we have a raft of elderly American white men solemnly intoning- even bragging - that they are pro-life, secure in the knowledge that they will neither become pregnant nor be faced with any desperately difficult decision around a pregnancy which may involve all manner of complexities. Would they have the same certitude were their daughter to become pregnant through rape? Are they immune to the needs of millions of abandoned and abused children?
In all walks of life, the tone is set by leadership. It matters in schools, it matters in communities, and it sure as hell matters in politics. In the Obamas we had a family with a very precise moral compass. A man who talked repeatedly of the need to respect women, who honoured his wife and daughters, who conducted his private life with dignity and decorum. We had a First Lady who set aside her own career aspirations to launch initiatives to combat childhood obesity, and who tireless campaigned on behalf of young women, their education, and their ambition levels.
That we have traded them in for a serial philander, a thrice married self congratulatory groper and his latest model bride is clearly more than half of America can bear. And, when you strip out those who declined to vote, those who voted for Clinton, and those who made the self indulgent choice of a third candidate, you find that this unlovely man was given the keys to the White House by around a quarter of the citizenry. People rail against the electoral college system, they point to the majority of the popular vote going elsewhere, but the savage truth is that not enough people cared enough to stop him. And that many of those who gave him their support did so on the false prospectus that an entirely selfish, tax dodging billionaire was somehow going to blast a fanfare for the common man.
As the world tries to come to terms with what America has done, the so called pragmatists; the self styled realists, the perennially self interested, have emerged from the woodwork to insist that this is a man with whom any sensible person must do business. They berate Nicola Sturgeon for not withdrawing her publicly uttered contempt for some of Trump's rhetoric and misogyny. They belittle Teresa May for not utilising Nigel Farage as a freelance courtier at the court of King Donald.
But it is by appeasing the likes of Trump, not calling out those who would turn every progressive clock back, not nailing The Donald's lies, not properly confronting the gun happy NRA, which got us into the mess. America will not wrench its democratic credentials back from the forces of darkness by collaborating with them