Not All Surprises are Unpleasant
I do not believe Trump is a Republican. He’s been everything but in the end, he is Trump, changeable, careless with facts but hardly an ideologue. The Republican establishment certainly does not see him as a Republican and there is a de facto stalemate in the Senate, where McCain (the bitter old anchorman at the Naval Academy) and Lindsey Graham, seem inclined to oppose him as much as they did Obama. That impacts all senior executive and federal judiciary appointments. He is the populists’ surprise in a year when leftist populists could easily have won. A year when populists seemed bound to win but those on the right overcame the GOP establishment while their brethren on the left found themselves abandoned and sold out by their messianic leaders.
So, … now we have the Donald. He will either be a terrible failure or surprise us but not all surprises are pleasant. Nor are they always unpleasant, except for the very, very change adverse, but then, most of our leadership has traditionally been of that ilk.
I oppose many but not all of Mr. Trump’s apparent positions. But I found Mrs. Clinton much more dangerous, even less trustworthy, and worst of all, in a position to make most of her dreams come true, after all, most came prepaid.
I totally oppose Mr. Trump’s positions on Israel and Palestine but am fully supportive of reconciliation with the Russians, whom we’ve betrayed since the Clinton presidency’s disavowal of the NATO related gentlemen’s agreement (again, “it depends on what “is” is I suppose) and am hopeful that sino-american relations can be placed on a mutually beneficial plateau. On Iran I believe his position is both idiotic and dangerous but tied to his position on Israel, the de facto ruler at the Department of State since at least 1972. On social issues I am very much opposed to almost all of the positions ascribed to Mr. Trump but note that the “wave of tolerance” that resulted in so much improvement in LGBT and women’s issues seems to be international and that until he was bit by the presidential wannabe bug, he had never seemed a closet theocrat. On the issue of immigration, as an immigrant myself (legal, 1952, things were very different then and I was a six year old), and an internationalist, the immigration policy enforced by Obama and amplified by Trump seems not only a betrayal of the country’s founding principles and of course, of the huddled masses of Emma Lazarus’ “The New Colossus” which made us the power we became (albeit through genocide perpetrated on our indigenous hosts), but idiotic given our demographics. We need more, not less immigration. However, to be honest, Mr. Trump’s outrageous xenophobic comments are merely reflections of realities imposed by the policies of Democratic and Republican administrations for over half a century. As to misogyny, racism and sexism, all bad, but all Clinton hallmarks as well (think of Bill’s ingenious uses for tobacco products), albeit the racism reflected in actual Clinton era legislation was successfully camouflaged and deodorized with cute dialect and homey humor, and bought tooth and nail by most of the victims. I still recall Mrs. Clinton’s opposition to gay marriage before she was for it and of course, seemingly her devotion to baseball (although the teams seem to mystify her) started with Clinton’s infamous three strike legislation.
A fair analysis leaves so much to be desired and the most frustrating thing about the recent election is that there were two other candidates, both decent people from very different perspectives, but filtered out of our consciousness by our mainstream media, the verisimilitude of journalism hiding the chains that bind us.
So, … if Mr. Trump fails, then hopefully, rather than reverting to older failures, in light of heightened populist sentiment from the left as well as the right, perhaps we progressives can reject Clintonian neoliberalism and the party the Democratic Leadership Council putrefied as well as the GOP and participate in the evolution of a multiparty system, with a party or parties of our own. And if he succeeds, well, if it’s real success realizing common welfare, equity, justice, etc. (not likely but possible), well then we can eat crow. But if it’s merely factionalist success, we can hopefully make that clear without alienating those we’ll need to convert to our cause and finally get a chance to prove that contrary to tradition, we will prove much less corruptible, much less “factional”, much more concerned with the common welfare, and not too shabby at making those dreams realities.
The world, everywhere, is in terrible shape and we’ve made it much worse under sequential Democratic and Republican administrations. We either need to attain change that provides us all with equity, justice, education, a sane environment, jobs and decent lifestyles, or, with a little luck, the universe will be well rid of us.
I’m not prepared to surrender just yet.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2016; all rights reserved