TO LIVE AND DIE IN THE LAND OF TRUMP
Quite likely the greatest, and yet silent, problem facing America today has little to do with economics, money, geography, party affiliation or even religious belief. The problem looming in front of almost all of us is how to continue to like and associate with the people who either put Trump into office, or the people who feel so crushingly devastated by that same event. At least Obama’s opposition could be explained away to some kind of twisted rationality about race, culture, or even seeming international and national inaction because he was so opposed by congress. The mean-spirited selfishness, approval of draconian measures against the opposition (even including physical torture), potential for nuclear war, and the awful stupidity of Trump’s Tweets and twisted verbal revelations…when viewed by those who hate him, is not a force to be overcome with innocent, or even moderated dinner chatter. The Trump supporters, so many of whom demonstrate that non-combatant, over-the-top macho crap, have a hard time not actually going to the kind of violence they’ve always thought would be necessary (but have absolutely no knowledge of its true effects), and now think they might actually enjoy playing out on the other side. These two forces are not oil and water. They are more like fire and gasoline. There is no ability, none, for either side to understand or accommodate the other. Both are waiting. Both are waiting in unknowing silence for the violence that must come when such terribly divided beliefs finally open up into close conflict. Where will the ‘spark’ occur? When? There is going to be a blowup of unknown nuclear proportions, but not likely in some country abroad. It will be back here at home. How did a country so opposed to rich aristocratic rule and overt nepotism get itself into a position of having so many people simply kneel and adore at the feet of a national leader much more akin to Nero than Julius Caesar? How long will the majority of the population put up with the situation? Will the USA even make it to the mid-terms, and then will that election be so gerrymandered out that only even more depth of vitriolic hatred will result? Soon these two divided groups may take the next step, each side is already beginning to view the other side as subhuman. Fear may come to rule the land.
For many years when I came home from international CIA assignments, I was immediately thankful when I hit the tarmac, anywhere in the USA, as I was coming home to a place without fear. Almost all the countries I was coming home from lived in conditions somewhere between fear and terror. Do you feel the distant approaching drumbeat of fear coming toward you, should you? Trump is bringing changes all right. It may be hoped, by those who opposed him that those who brought him to sit, like a hugely aggressive and predatory elephant in the middle of the country’s living rooms, understand what they have done because everyone, not just they, will feel the effects of these coming changes. It is not the “thing” about Trump alone that is so disturbing. It is the “thing” about the USA. What happened? Some members of the public supposedly voted Trump into office to change things. Well, to paraphrase the Bush people, “how’s that working out for you?” Did the people who put him into office really want this rolling clown show the nation has become? It’s not a reality show. It’s worse than a daily reality show. Every day, every night. There is no discussion about world events of any consequence, or even national policy, except the hyper-expensive joke health care has become. There is only the clown, and the clown show, and the other appointed members of the resurrected Barnum and Baily center ring of freak show entertainment. Spicer is gone, and here comes this young ‘smoother mover,’ covered in olive oil topped off with curly black hair. Scaramouche, as in the French book character of old; Scaramouche. Did he rename himself like Wolf Blitzer did? Isn’t he cute, and remarkably fresh? He is part of the ‘drained swamp,’ coming straight out of Goldman Sachs, but apparently the drainage is running straight into the White House instead of out of it. The nation got the change many have been seeking.
Instead of hoping to own a beautiful three-bedroom home, drive a Cadillac, raise a family and send the kids off to college, the young people of today have a new dream. The dream of today’s young has no defined physical wants and desires. The times changed. Now the young hope to somehow cadge together enough money to simply survive on a day to day basis. That’s change. All change is not good change, just as all democratic decisions are not good decisions. Will the results of the coming changes, due to this election, effect everyone in the country, and will those changes be for the good or not?
The scientific discipline of anthropology constantly teaches that there is no good or bad when evaluating the human condition in all its cultural and social iterations. Neither the Trump followers, nor the Trump detractors are right. There is no right. There is only the way it is, and how we study and then attempt to use what we find to our own betterment and that of the social group we are part of. Trump is the elected president and it behooves all citizens to work to use, manipulate and take advantage of his leadership in every way possible.
It is the American way, and the way that the human species has come to dominate this planet. There is no certainty, however, that the process will be easy or without loss.
~ James Strauss