President Trump: It’s Not That Surprising
It seems like many people are surprised that Trump has secured the Presidency. I’m surprised at how surprised people actually are. Did the elite (I’m probably one) really misjudge so badly the discontent within Western nations like the US? Were we really so blind as to not discern the extent of white supremacy? Brexit should have been an indicator of what could happen on the western side of the Atlantic.
In their frustration and rage at the falsity of the American Dream, at increasing inequality, and at losing the culture wars, many USAmericans have opted for an authoritarian. It’s easy to laugh at people who have said “Trump tells it like it is, he’s a straight talker”, but his likely victory is a sign that, regardless of how much he has lied, the value of perceived truthfulness is high, and people are sick of being lied to. Who knows how this will bode for Trump—a liar—in the long run. But saying things like, “America, what have you done?” only betrays a lack of understanding of many of the kinds of people who, against their own self-interest, voted for Trump.
It’s very easy for me to say something like, “Jesus is Lord: who becomes President does not control the outcome of history”. With everything that is within me I believe this to be true. But not everyone shares this faith and, moreover, such a declaration can leave one open to detached blindness. After all, I’m a privileged white male who lives on the other side of the world. But what happens for non-whites, including Muslims, in the US? For women who have watched misogyny embodied gain supremacy? For people in those cities around the world that a Trump-led military may attack? For poor folks, including poor whites who voted for Trump, who will suffer the various policy consequences of this regime? For millions and millions of people, this is a nightmare, and I can’t minimise that.
Not that Clinton was a good option. Truth is, the situation for the kid in the Middle East or the poor US family wouldn’t have been any better. That’s the status quo for you. But sometimes the status quo is not the worst of all options. And, frankly, the notion of progress is horse manure.
There’ll be lots of soul-searching, I’m sure. A wildly incompetent misogynistic racist authoritarian has ascended to the highest political seat in this world order so, you know, such soul-searching is necessary. But unless we find genuine pathways for the pain of so many Trump voters and Trump haters alike, we are doomed to intensify the culture wars and deepen the fissures that ravage our communities. I say this as one who does not reside in the US; such is the widespread effect of such divisions.
Despite my earlier self-directed caveat… Jesus is Lord, and I’m blessed by the grace to continue participating in and building alternative communities that reach out in love to those outside themselves, and that aren’t directed by the death-dealing politics of this world, but seek to nonviolently turn such politics upside down.