DONALD TRUMP AND BREXIT…WHY?
I have read the reactions to Trump’s Presidential Inauguration address with some degree of amazement. It is not so much the hubris and arrogance and narcissism that Trump displays, or his Inaugural Address which was also extraordinary with its ‘America First’ demagoguery and blatant nationalism.
I should suppose that hubris and narcissism are not uncommon traits among politicians. No, what is unusual here is that not only are they not hidden beneath a mask of goodwill to all men and women but they are displayed and celebrated as qualities that effective leaders require. This is both the reason we softie liberals look on in horror and the reason he attracts the voters who place great store on plain speaking, on God and Country, and on them damn elitist metropolitans with their global conspiracies.
But what has amazed and discombobulated me somewhat more has been the ferocity and plain viciousness of the responses from a supposedly liberal intelligentsia. What is coming to be known as the alt-left and particularly, women.
The extraordinary cruelty with which Trump is attacked from the feminist alt-left consists of continual reference to his physical presentation, to attacks on his sexual potency (remember all the fuss about those small hands?) To his wife’s looks with smirking reference to her unfeasibly perfect breasts. To his supposed idiocy and buffoonery and his hair. To allegations (completely unproven to date) that he is a user of prostitutes and in the pockets of Putin. Rumour gathered by some freelance spy with a dodgy dossier presented as fact. That he is a liar and deal-breaker. Even the revered Gloria Steinem in a Guardian article referred to the jelly that emerges when Trump opens his jacket. Extraordinarily rude crude and meaningless and I imagine the howls of protest from all these liberal feminists if a woman was to be defined purely on the grounds of her physical appearance. Is it not that very thing that we have all been fighting for these last thirty years? That we are judged equally upon our capacities and talents and not, like a tribe of hapless baboons focusing on our breasts and penises and bank accounts and inspecting each other’s bottoms for fleas?
The other astonishing thing about Trump’s ‘America First’ diatribe is how remarkably it misses all the chronic issues that face us now and in the not too distant future.
These can be ascribed to three external impending disasters and three internal ones. The external pressures are-Global warming and resulting climate change, chronic and mostly permanent geo-political instability, and rampant technological innovation completely outstripping humanity’s ability to integrate and adapt to it.
The three internal crises are the chronic un-freedom of children due to fears for their safety, the internal alienation sweeping the western world with huge levels of mental health problems and the growing sense of and actuality of massive levels of inequality and the birth of a hugely enriched global elite with a sense of gross entitlement that matches their ludicrous levels of wealth.
Add to this the death throes of the three major Sky-God religions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam and we have an explosive mix which bodes ill indeed for future generations and the survival of the non-human world.
None of this was addressed in Trump’s speech. Indeed, it headlined a commitment to exacerbate the very crises that face humanity. It was aggressive, parochial, ignorant and stupid. It celebrated paranoia, greed, suspicion, racism, militarism and the continued exploitation and rape of the world’s resources. Imagine if instead of America First it had been called Earth First?
Let’s take these apocalyptic horsemen one at a time: It is now evident that two degree warming is irreversible. It may have been possible, if we had created a global movement to save the planet and transfer from fossil fuel dependence in the seventies, that about now we would have left the oil and gas in the ground and be largely solar, hydro, wind and nuclear in terms of meeting our energy needs. That is now a dream. Not only is every scientific community on the planet absolutely united about the coming warming but the climatic impact is unknown in terms of the complexity of the global weather systems that are held in a quite beautiful and sustaining balance of complex interrelated parts. These impacts will be shocking and will hit the most vulnerable initially. But what is most astounding about Trump’s America First speech is that not only is there no reference to this impending catastrophe but there is a commitment to drill for more oil, more gas, more fracking wherever and whenever it is to be found. A two degree rise appears even preferable to what is now coming down the road. A four degree rise? Six? A four metre rise in seal levels? Twelve? It has been a preventable catastrophe that future generations will look back on in dumbfounded stupefaction, should they survive to look.
Trump has assembled a cabal of oil, gas, big pharma and big agro and military interests that beggars belief. A group of right wing ideologues funded by billionaires and secretive think tanks and global banking interests will now be running the biggest economy in the world. It is the supreme irony that it is the sense of being left behind and forgotten that permeates the American working class in their rustbelt that has put this corporate global elite in charge of the American machine.
Geo-political instability sounds punchy but it is in fact like a creeping disease. The Calais jungle, mass immigration, Syria, Isis, the middle eastern time bomb, the Russian expansion west, China, the massive corruption that infects much of Africa and Asia. The impending fracturing of the European Union, people smuggling and trafficking, sexual slavery. And atop it all sits a heartless organised criminality that feeds off the poor and the dispossessed like a vampire. The impact of this on children is almost too unspeakable to contemplate.
The Syrian refugee crisis is a result of terror. Of the terror of men, women and children slaughtered in their beds, hospitals, in their markets and schools and at prayer, deliberately targeted with hideous weapons such as barrel bombs and chlorine. Bashar Al Assad and Vladimir Putin have brought back atrocity with a vengeance. Isis has brought back a medieval barbarity to the battlefield and proven an attractive death cult for young muslim men as well as a hideously effective fighting force on the battlefield feeding on rape, murder and dreams of paradise in the arms of virgins.
None of this is going to change with America First, in fact it’s all going to get a lot worse. Terror works well for autocrats and ideologues. It works well for the Trumpist cabal. It works well for the Putinistas.
To be continued: