Mr Trump; We want it back!
Article - Jonathan Bright
Illustration - Marcin Cybulski
I’m cautiously hopeful for the US presidential elections. For a while I’ve near feared hell on earth, but the hand of God has turned the tides. Or he’s giving them a good stir, at least.
I’ve boomeranged on this article so many times now. As you might imagine, charting the rise and then the slight fall and then the rise again of one Donald J Trump is somewhat of a rollercoaster.
To paraphrase the kitten-haired clementine, it’s hard to figure out what the hell is going on over there as he flits from inciting one hate-prone section of middle America after another, all the while managing to marginalise everyone from Muslims to Mexicans to women to fellow Republicans to, I don’t know, misshapen fruit. But I think that’s all going to come to a halt now.
As I write Trump has just stormed the New York primary and looks set to take the Republican nomination. I’ll assume he has. Yet recently his true colours are showing. And with the pressure off to bully and belittle at the primaries, he’ll now have to get down to brass tacks. I think the inherent good in people will see Trump for who he really is: not presidential.
First, a message to voters
If you’re a Trump supporter reading this pre-election, then for the sake of your soul, please see what’s become of some of you. The way you treat your fellow human beings at his campaign rallies – you are the hateful you claim to hate you. Pot and kettle are not getting along.
I hate to point fingers; this is an undeniably fraught time, but Jesus Christ, can’t you play nice? Spitting on a protester who disagrees with your views on immigration isn’t exactly endearing you to the rest of the world. You know that moment of utter trepidation you all get every time Sarah Palin opens her mouth to support you? That couple of seconds where you suddenly think ‘oh shit, this is probably going to do us more damage than good’? Same principle.
What’s amazing is some of you hate almost indiscriminately, which is quite a feat of irony. You hate like no one’s watching. But we can all see you. We’re right here and have eyes. You, on the other hand, have the power not to damn the rest of us to hell.
We all inherited this
I should say here that I do not have a faith, save for an unabating (if sometimes ill-founded) faith in humanity. But there’s a phrase in the Bible that I’ve come to warm to of late: “The meek shall inherit the earth.”
That one and “Love thy neighbour”, but that should just be obvious.
We are in a time of ‘millennial’ values; a time of sharing economies; a time when a day job that offers the chance to make an impact and save the world is more important than its pay packet; we have good-guy-Obama in the hot seat, who started his tenure by changing the world’s relationship with the US and still tries reparations today with Cuba; this is a time when people seek to connect and share creatively; in a time when people can get married whatever their sexuality; when transgender people are celebrated on magazine covers; when people like Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory and Professor Brian Cox represent both career and love goals. The meek inherited the earth.
We’d said goodbye to alpha-males, Watergate, Gordon Gekkos, Cold War posturing and general societal decline towards a Blade Runner-esque dystopia. The meek embraced a new age. Then came Trump to rip the meek a new one and turn our clocks back to a biblical era. To divide is once again to conquer, it seems.
Never the president
Incidentally, Trump’s former top strategist Stephanie Cegielski very recently penned a damning open letter to her ex-boss’s voters, pleading for them to reconsider their position. Know what she said? That Trump was a ‘protest’ candidate. She claimed she was, like other Trump voters, tired of the rhetoric of Washington and liked the idea of a guy who wasn’t in the corporations’ pockets. It was supposed to send a message and his whole team never expected him to poll more than 12%. He was meant as a little dig. Little did they know what they’d unearthed.
She writes: “Trump never intended to be the candidate. But his pride is too out of control to stop him now... He doesn’t want the White House. He just wants to be able to say that he could have run the White House... The hard truth is: Trump only cares about Trump.”
Trump jumped on easy ways to mobilise an angry white working to middle class, who are mainly men (much like Farage over here in our general election). I mean, he’s clearly not mobilising the youth en masse when his own kids can’t be bothered to register to vote.
Anyway, a November 2015 survey by Esquire and NBC of 3,257 US adults suggested that white American people were most likely to not be happy with their lot and were more likely than black people to feel angry twice a day. Measures for equality for minority groups that are levied across the political system are, it is perceived, having a negative effect on the middle white privilege, and they needed someone to say something for them. Anything.
But they’re missing the point. If they’re not happy with their lot, then they need to be offered opportunity. Opportunity doesn’t happen from closing yourself off from the world. Opportunity has to be something fundamental; it has to be created.
Take immigration, for example. Open immigration is perceived by some of the angry white class as bringing in an influx of drugs and job-stealers from Mexico. This of course dismisses the point that an open immigration policy – controlled in the proper and decent way – doesn’t just breed happy harmoniousness with your fellow man, it attracts highly intelligent, aspirational workers to your shores. Risk takers. Ground breakers. You know what made America great? Aspiration – the American dream. Building walls and refusing entire cultures from coming in doesn’t just shit on your own doorstep, it goes against deeply held core values.
Where we all would rather sit down together and talk through our issues on the global chaise longue, Trump prefers to shoot the therapist. But all is not lost; the meek with all their neighbour loving prowess do not just persevere, they shoot back.
Things are unravelling, slowly, and I pray it continues as Trump – no longer the bully, now the presidential candidate – faces the challenge of being credible. And, God forbid, meek.
Interestingly even a chunk of the angry middle took a whole lot of issue when The Donald finally overstepped the mark, crazy as that sounds. His [quickly-retracted] statements that, were abortion to become illegal, women should be punished for having the procedure, it’s thought almost certainly caused him to lose big in the critical Wisconsin primary.
Add to that, Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was arrested for assaulting a journalist at a rally. The charges have since been dropped but the media damage was done.
A recent poll by ABC News and the Washington Post suggests Trump is seen unfavourably by a whopping two thirds of Americans. He’s the least popular presidential candidate since KKK leader David Duke in 1992, whose endorsement Trump also inexplicably failed to disavow in February.
And a recent survey of 20,000 adults in the G20 shows that the only country that prefers Trump over Hillary Clinton for the hot seat is Russia. Go figure.
The Chinese finance minister Lou Jiwei has said to the Wall Street Journal that he does not think Trump will be good for China-US trade, despite it being a hallmark of The Donald’s tactics.
Even Twitter, Trump’s long serving if perhaps unwilling ally, deleted some of his tweets. Granted that was on copyright grounds but I’m sure Twitter bosses were champing at the bit to oblige.
That I’ve gone back and forth on this article so many times to me is a stark reflection that he has no policy – no plan – just one headline-grabbing abhorrence after the next. He’s not a president, America, and was never meant to be. He works for himself, not you, and his awful rhetoric already stretches far beyond the perceived anger of middle America. He will not “kick ISIS’s ass” as the ever-eloquent Sarah Palin puts it; he will fuel a hellfire.
I don’t have a say in your future, America, but you have a say in mine. The meek inherited the earth that I love, and while I don’t pretend to know what is ‘right’ here, I know what is wrong. Giving absolute power to someone that seeks to divide, belittle, isolate and deeply offend for his own selfish gains is catastrophic on a biblical scale
Reporting on cultural and creative events along with a broad view of social issues.
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