Truth, Justice and the American Way
2016 is now in full swing and it can already be assumed what stories will make everyone’s list of de-facto moments for the year. One story that continues to escape the clutches of logic is that of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, and its surprising success.
The line of people who assumed that Mr. Trump’s run for the most powerful seat in western politics is as long a distance as the mind can conceive. Pundits, analysts, politicians and causal observers from around the world scoffed at the idea of a Trump candidacy, let alone his eventual rise to actual contender at the general elections.
But as the world watches on in horror as America takes its almost comedic plunge into the world of a Trump presidency, there must be careful consideration of the realities this presents.
America doesn’t have one of the best reputations internationally. From being outright despised in some regions of the world, to cautiously trusted in others, the country’s international image is one of arrogance and force. But as much as the image has been true of the country, similarly to all other stereotypes, it fails to capture the intricacies of the state, its values, and how it sees itself.
American politics, more so than any other country in the world, takes center stage on the global stage. Beyond being the world’s largest military, economy, and second largest exporter; the Americans take extra effort to sensationalize their politics. American politicians are more visible and present. Issues in the political sphere often receive the tabloid treatment by most of the media outlets; this sees them reduced to the bear arguments of right or wrong, left or right, life or choice.
And this, for the most part, is what attracts the international eye to American politics. Its not that their politicians are more crazy or interesting than ours, they’re just a bit more showy with it.
Knowing this, for as long as it has been this way, the world should have expected a Donald Trump to appear eventually. For years we have seen the Republican party, the “no” to the Democrats’ “yes”, be dragged wildly to the edges of fundamental conservatism that strikes fear and paranoia into average citizens.
I even recall laughing with a friend of mine as we watched the 2008 elections with figures such as Sarah Palin who stood strong on their so-called “christian values” and “constitutionalism” and subtly hinted at the new direction for the party.
For as long as public memory could hold, Americans have seen themselves as immune to the bare-knuckle fundamentalism they accused of others. How many conflicts has the state fought that struck directly at the cord of fundamental realities in politics? Surely they were devoid of the very human features of radical thought that provoked their enemies? Surely they were better?
And that’s what has precisely allowed “The Donald” to gain so much support in such little time. The man has no experience in governance, a little-more-than-a-handful of scandals, and ( as far as his comments have shown) very little knowledge on how world politics work.
“…the person who made the statements doesn’t know much about foreign policy or nuclear policy or the Korean Peninsula or the world generally.”
President Barack Obama responding to Trumps statements on nuclear proliferation
And that is what makes Trump’s approach truly a craft to study. Unlike other nations, Trump’s very own brand of fundamentalism appeals to the American public in the form of a title that has quickly been denounced in modern diplomacy, “superpower”.
When Trump speaks of making America great AGAIN, he draws on both very old forms of politicking, as well as modern paranoia of irrelevancy. Unlike the economic conditions that often prompt the radicalisation of politics around the world, Trump wants his supporters to question American supremacy and whether it seems all that supreme anymore.
To Trump supporters, the U.S.A’s place in the world is at the top of a global pyramid. When an American president jumps of the plane at the latest G8 meeting, the sound of boots shaking should be heard from a mile away. It’s not good enough that America just does well, they have to be exceptional, and their rivals have to feel that the most .
And thats why they have to build the wall, ban the muslims, dismantle ObamaCare and do literally anything else Trump’s campaign team can think up on the spot. Cause only then, when all of the new, liberal, socialist things that have made America “soft” over the years be pulverized and destroyed by the sheer awesomeness that is America. Only then can America fix the economy, beat China, save the children, knock ISIS out in the final round, as they score the final point in the game whilst the ghost of Ronald Reagan cheers on from the stands. It’s all very unbelievable, but equally invoking.
For not one moment does anyone genuinely believe that all the statements made by Donald Trump actually reflect all of his beliefs. Now that he’s won the primary elections there already seems to be a subtle change of image underway, and this is to be expected of all politicians. But what is truly frightening about the Trump campaign is that it has set a precedence that could quickly catch hold of the American political systems.
Voters in future may require their candidates to be even more rash and outlandish, and if unchecked, could see the most powerful nation on the planet, go over the edge of radicalization.
For now, the world watches with baited breath for the result of the elections, and hope that all the stereotypes that were ever held about American conservatism, arrogance, and ignorance don’t hold water. Cause if they do, I’d advise locking the doors. Cause Captain America is knocking, and he wants his jobs back.