Not many expected it to be so bad. But Trump’s election has already led to a series of measures that make this time one of the most dangerous in history, including raising the possibility of nuclear war to new heights. Here is a little list.
Attempts to repeal Obamacare, failing that, remove its funding
Withdrawal from Paris agreement on Climate Change
Increase funding for nuclear weapons
Immigration Muslim ban and promotion of islamophobia in all its forms
Declaring Jerusalem capital of Israel, inflaming the Middle East conflict
Shrinkage of national parks endangering fossils, archeological sites
Tax reduction for the rich and corporations, increase for the poor
Admiration for Philippines fellow psychopath Duterte
Retweeting British neo-nazi group message
Support for the gun lobby in the face of many recent massacres
Boasting getting away with sexual harassment/assault
Threatening to wipe out North Korea and playing a dangerous diplomacy-free, who-blinks-first game with fellow militarist Kim Jong-un
Dismissing functionaries investigating possible election manipulation links with Russia
Supporting suspected teenage abuser candidate
Return to support for oil and coal to the detriment of renewables
Declaring neo-nazi and anti-nazi demonstrators to be more or less the same
Nepotism and conflicts of interests, impervious to rules
Promotion of the abolition of net neutrality, opening the door to control by big corporations
Use of social media to spread lies whilst calling any unfavourable comments “fake news”
I’m sure others can add to the list . Why is he not impeached? I suspect many Republicans are happy that he’s imposing the most radically right wing agenda nobody dreamed was possible, and at the same time his outlandish sociopathy allows them to “distance” themselves, appearing less ruthless, more caring, or at least sane, by comparison.
But as we said before, Trump is not the problem, he is the symptom. The system has been in the past quite good at hiding its true colours. Plutocracy masquerading as Democracy, the politics of fear, racism, dehumanisation all round, they were all there before, if we have been digging our heads into the sand now it’s not so easy. The system has been manufacturing Trump for decades, that is, manufacturing the conditions for turkeys to vote for Christmas.
So, something good may still come out of something awful. As comedians have been saying for a while, Trump has succeeded in uniting unlikely partners against him, by bulldozing consensus creating consensus, such as on issues of Climate Change, declaring Jerusalem Israel’s capital (the 14 members of the Security Council opposed it, US, alone, vetoed all the others) and nuclear proliferation (likely to have influenced antinuclear organisation ICAN winning the Peace Noble Prize). Activism in the US has increased and no American president has had the level of opposition regarding his visit to the UK in recent times. He is coming, apparently, anyway, to open the new American embassy in London, itself a fitting allegory of the US foreign policy, a fortress protected by a moat, pretending to be “transparent”. An earlier visit, including seeing the Queen, was cancelled due to fears of demonstrations. A lower profile visit will be equally received by protesters already preparing to voice their disapproval.
The UK finds itself today truly between a rock (Brexit, divorcing the EU), and a hard place (Trump making the “special relationship” rather difficult to stomach).
Dusk before Dawn
When systems come to the end of their life they make a lot of noise and drag in their fall many innocent victims. Like the fall of the Greek dominance with their Schools of Decadence: the Cynics (nothing good can come out of trying to improve things, so better stop trying), the Epicureans (whatever happens let’s have a good time) and the Stoics (we must face bad times with strength and endurance). We can see these positions today as a response to the crisis of the system.
There is another possibility which is not part of the Schools of Decadence but rather a current of thought, humanism, which does not centre itself on the collapsing structures but rather on the rebirth, the renaissance, into a new society being created guided by the Golden Rule of treating others as we would like to be treated.
Humanism is expressing itself in many forms, in many people, some leaders, lots of grassroots organisations, unexpected results in elections in which candidates with humanising proposals, savagely dismissed by the media, are nevertheless supported by the people: (Chile’s Broad Front, UK’s Jeremy Corbyn, France’s Mélenchon, Spain’s Podemos, etc). Even if they do not win the election they are given a mandate to start to change the system, and they do so.
It is true that radical anti-humanism is spreading its violence around the world, and it is scary. But fascists, extremists, neoliberal fundamentalists, they are also scared. The existential emptiness of the prevailing system is fertile ground for irrationalism. The renaissance we are looking for is not just made of social justice, anti-discrimination and solidarity, achieved through the methodology of nonviolence. Its real force will come from a spiritual revolution, the realisation of the human being true dimension, the capacity for people to transform themselves and transform the world. In this new humanism we will be able to look at history and see that every crisis has led to the emergence of this special human spirit, another step towards compassion, a rediscovery of intentionality’s power, even perhaps to defeat death.