From the darkest pit of the American underbelly we can hear them chanting: Dey-shey dey-shey Bah-sur-rah bah-sur-rah! over and over again in a hypnotic trance – roughly translating to as “he rises!” I’m joking of course, but then again that epic movie-scene from The Dark Knight Rises can be used as an allegory for the burning-hot caldron of fear and suspicion of foreigners that has plagued the US for the past decade. However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves – if we know our history – this has always been the case since the birth of our young nation. Have you seen the film Gangs of New York? Again, an amazing movie that reminds us all that we as a people actually haven’t changed that much in the past 100 years – history has a tendency to repeat itself, but I digress. I’m not going to make this post a deep dive into American history or the slew of films that can be very telling of our turbulent times.
No, let’s just focus on the meteoric ascension of the Donald – in part due to the popularity of his TV persona, however, if you really pay attention to the rhetoric his appeal is quite obvious. The Donald is the epitome of being a provocateur – the “Make America Great Again” supporters are just a bunch of folks that are tired of being lied to and have no other recourse, but to look for guidance from an “outsider”. Someone that won’t be easily influenced by political agendas and simply wants to improve their way of living – ’em I right? Partially, it’s not that simple unfortunately. The turn of the screw is the culmination of varying points of view on what it means to be, well, American – sparking a resurgence of tribal tendencies fueled by disappointment and frustration. People are fed-up with silver-tongued politicians, that in their view, have flushed their way of life down the tubes – enter the Donald. It’s really fascinating to watch this phenomena, once we remove ourselves from the politics, the Donald’s supporters are seeing their way of life transformed before their very eyes, and they want to get off the crazy-train. I’m looking at you middle-America. Fear… for lack of a better word is very compelling, and in this upcoming election year , it has catapulted a candidate that under different circumstances would have been nothing more than a novelty.
As our society evolves in the 21sth century, a sense of anxiety has engulfed our psyche – what do we make of renewable energy, women marrying women, self-driving cars, immigration, cat and dogs living together, leisure space travel, men kissing men, the Internet of Things, Pokémon GO!? Mass hysteria! Again, all these uncertainties have created an environment that is strongly motivated by cultural tribalism. We look for strong leaders that will take charge and make everything better in one fell swoop – hence the Donald’s appeal, by all accounts, he’s the embodiment of success in the US. So it’s easy to see how those that feel powerless are drawn to someone that wields it effortlessly and on his terms. It’s a very tempting proposition that can’t be ignored, but at what cost? We have become so frightened of the horrors that plague the rest of the world, that completely insulating ourselves from it seems to be the only option – it all ends in tears. The debate continues, and it is the ability to have a difference of opinion that makes our nation so great. We all have a point of view, and we can come together to air-out our grievances, so that we can move away from desperate ground – forging a path towards prosperity for all.
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