The world went bananas in 2016. Britain had a referendum where they decided to leave the EU, but there are strong forces that want to ignore the result, and it remains to be seen whether you can actually leave a union to get your sovereignty back. The message concerning Donald Trump has been the same from all over the world. He is dangerous, and as soon as he is sworn in, hell will break loose. There’s been a remarkable consensus on this matter, which surprised me a bit.
One of the things I find puzzling about the USA is the simultaneous presence of anti-government sentiments and a strong patriotism. The union has never been threatened, though. There has always been enough patriotism to keep the union together, but something seems to be different this time. I remember a time when everyone had something to say about George Bush, and it wasn’t positive. He lost the popular vote, but managed to get the nation’s support for some rather controversial decisions.
Something is clearly different this time. I admit I don’t remember US history in detail, but from what I have read I can’t recall any president in modern times that has been this unpopular before the inauguration. He can’t even wave his hands without some people interpreting that as negative. Admittedly, he doesn’t seem capable of saying anything sensible, but I wonder why the entire press is so single-minded. I’m hardly a fan of Donald Trump, but there is something troubling about this strong anti-Trump campaign, and it would look strange if people suddenly supported him.
When does news become a narration? Many list John Kennedy as one of the best presidents in the USA, but in some ways he was a bit of a Trump. Kennedy made several attempts early in his presidency to get a joint US-Soviet space mission, and Khrushchev wasn’t totally against it, but this approach died with Brezhnev’s harder line. There is even a conspiracy theory among UFO-enthusiasts claiming that John Kennedy wanted to share information with the Soviets concerning UFO’s. He supposedly had a personal interest in the topic, but the idea of the two super powers joining forces during the Cold War must have been hard for many to accept.
There is an interesting parallel between Kennedy and Trump. JFK served as Commander in Chief during a very dangerous period. There was strong tension with the Communist countries, and especially the Soviet Union, and a high risk of war because Soviet missiles had been deployed in Cuba. It must have been a scary time because a wrong decision would have had very serious consequences only a few years after WW II. The bombs in Nagasaki and Hiroshima may not have felt real to most Americans and Europeans, but it suddenly got very real. I think JFK deserves his reputation as a very competent president during a difficult period, but I am not convinced that everybody in his own party liked him. He was probably seen as a problem.
I am not saying that Trump will be better than many fear, but we are already used to thinking of him as dangerous man, and a failure. Giving him any positive exposure doesn’t seem to be an option, and at the moment I am not sure that even July 4th, the American flag or the inauguration could change that. I hope Trump will be a pleasant surprise, but in order for him to succeed, people need to give him a chance.
We have something similar going on in Norway at the moment. I occasionally get stories in my Facebook feed about Norwegian politicians. They are accused of being Nazi, Illuminati, secretly working for a new world order, free masons and Satanic cult members. It doesn’t matter who we vote for because they are all evil, apparently. It would be nice with a certain normality, and maybe some of it will return this year. We should pay attention to what our politicians do of course, but I have a feeling the real danger isn’t as high as the felt danger at the moment. We have been here before and we will come to this stage again. We should be brave, but not spread fear before we know it’s real. That reminds me of the wise Yoda:
To be Jedi is to face the truth, and choose. Give off light, or darkness, Padawan. Be a candle, or the night.