Middle America came out in droves November 8th 2016 to cast their vote and get their frustrated, unemployed, patriotic voices heard and the results were clear. It called out for hyperbole of a Republican candidate, Donald Trump to lead the country out of its sluggish white, Anglo-Saxon doldrums. Trump’s call to arms to ‘Make America Great Again’ may have drummed up a lot of enthusiasm amongst his supporters who feel that their country has sold them out but is his brand of regressional politics the beginning of the end for old-school leadership?
When I was a 23-something year old Malaysian (read: diverse), female (read: fairer sex) college student finishing up the last 2 years of my degree in the Bible-belt state of Arkansas – where previously I was enrolled at a college in Ohio – I realised very quickly how different every state in the US was. It seemed like my journey from the Buckeye State to the Natural State was like travelling to two completely different countries. Accents, geography, climate and state-regulations varied widely but so did cultures and perspectives.
The Deep South was a total culture shock for me. The stretched out Southern drawls, the obsession for iced-tea, the Bible-thumpers and the alcohol-reeking, ignorant rednecks whose behaviour and attitudes echoed of Klu Klux racism – this was all really overwhelming to me from the beginning right up to the end of my stay in America.
Soon, I began to grasp the fact that if you were not a W.A.S.P (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant), your life was going to be fucked in a lot of ways. Hell, luckily for me, my time spent in Arkansas was during the Clinton era – a time when (sorry Donald!) America was actually truly great because back then, the country hit a lot of economic firsts.
Not anymore. Those days have disappeared like cowboys in a John Wayne film. Instead, Middle America has once again called out for the end of liberalism and its name is Donald John Trump.
This is the part of America the lefties had ignored for the last 8 years, the ones whose once-prosperous industrial cities and towns are now flanked by long-abandoned and disused factories and mills due to the exodus of jobs to countries with cheaper labour and cheaper resources. These folks witnessed helplessly as their jobs were being taken away to China and South America, their frustrations mounting with what they thought was the increasing sell-out of America.
Couple that with the rapidly growing diversity of the country’s population, liberal immigration policies that gave rise to skilled foreign talents taking up work in the S.T.E.M industries, sliding educational standards, the legal country-wide acknowledgment of LGBTQ rights and god forbid, a female presidential candidate, the time just seemed ripe for these conservatives to kick up some major dust on Capitol Hill.
Unfortunately, unbeknownst to Middle America, no matter how amazing Trump’s promises sounded during his campaign trail, the reality is that these jobs will never come back. Let’s face it, the glory days of assembly line economics is over for America. It has been for decades. With cheaper options elsewhere, the lack of good-paying manufacturing jobs have simply kicked the guts of the working class, making it harder and harder to fulfil the American Dream.
Just take a look at the figures: China’s GDP growth from 2016-2020 is projected to be an average of 6%+ while Vietnam’s, for the same time period is projected to be around 6.5% and they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Most countries in Asia and South America can’t help themselves. They are now simply more enticing places for American companies to do business and Trump, of all people should know he can’t do a damn thing to reverse the situation.
Couple that with the flagrant lies already coming in from Trump’s staff right off the bat makes me wonder when this depressing dishrag of a president is going to be asked to leave the Oval Office. And yet part of me wants him to stay on for his full-term because in some weird way, it’s the heroin shot we all need. Not just for America but for the world at large.
The fact that the just-completed Women’s March on Washington was met with amazing and positive responses worldwide is a sign that we’re moving in the right direction. With 408 marches planned in the U.S. and 168 in other countries, millions of women showed us this weekend what the power of being a woman was. For liberalist America and the world, it was a sign of hope – for Trump however, it could denote the end of an era of old-world, old-school, elitist politics.
In Founder & CEO of Reinvent Media, Peter Leyden’s essay “Why Trump’s Inauguration is Not the Beginning of an Era — but the End”, he predicts that Trump’s reign will place us in the right frame of mind (and heart) to start embracing a more leftist perspective by the year 2020. Had Hillary won, he goes on to note, we wouldn’t have had that same kind of fire we see now, a day into the President’s inauguration, to bring about such galvanising changes.
In the article, Peter writes “There are three fundamentally different characteristics of this civilization: One, it will be run totally on digital technologies, smarter and smarter, more and more interconnected computers. Two, it will be totally global and operate on a planetary scale. And three, it will have to be sustainable, in its energy usage and its impact on the planet.”
NEW WORLD CIVILISATION VS OLD SCHOOL LEADERSHIP
These 21st century fundamental drivers of economy and society will in fact not see regression, despite government interferences. O, governments can accelerate or shove the brakes on them in the short-term but on a macro-level, they really cannot be stopped. These ships will continue to sail out on the high seas or there will be no global economy or come to think of it, the next season of ‘Celebrity Apprentice’. This is something Middle America will not see coming, exacerbated even more by Donald Trump’s lethal cocktail of garrulous, obscure campaign speeches which places these economically-strapped, under-informed folk in an even more vulnerable position than they were in before.
That got me thinking about how ludicrous this has all become because if you think about it, just how do old school, elitist political farts like Trump, Putin, Cheney, Pence, Cameron, May and Bush, fit in a world that is moving faster than anyone of us can keep up with? I mean, look at how technology is evolving. In less than 3 decades, we’ve gone from Internet, email and social media to VR/AR/AI all set against a sci-fi world of self-driving cars, robots, automation and more, making the world an increasingly scary and intrusive one for the likes of conservative Middle America. Not surprisingly, these developments is what helped drum up enough right-wing nationalistic sentiments for old-school Machiavellians like Trump to use as campaign fodder.
Leyden continues to explain the downfall of Trump-O-Nomics: “I think Trump ultimately is going to do America and the world a service by becoming the vehicle that will finally take down right-wing conservative politics for a generation or two. He is getting the entire Republican conservative establishment to buy into his regime. He is creating an administration that is blatantly all about rule by — and for — billionaires, sold out to the oil and carbon industries, and celebrating an out-of-control corporate capitalism. It will be a caricature of conservative policies. In short order he will completely and irrevocably alienate all the growing political constituencies of the 21st century: the Millennial Generation, people of colour, educated professionals, women. He’ll eventually do the same for a significant number of more moderate Republicans. And does anyone out there really think Trump will do anything for the white working class that got him elected? Watch as repealing Obamacare blows up in his face.”
For sure, it will blow up in his face. In fact, Trump can count himself lucky he even makes the 4-year term because Corporate America (particularly California) and other tech-savvy nations are going to continue to set the precedence for how we will live in this new highly inter-connected world.
WHAT WE REALLY NEED TO MAKE AMERICA (AND THE WORLD) GREAT AGAIN
We don’t need a wall. What we really need are tech-savvy leaders with fresh new ideas on law and governance. Leaders that understand how our world works today and how those three fundamentals can help bring about global economic balance instead of 50% of the world’s wealth being placed into the hands of a very elite few. Rothschilds and Rockefellers – you listening?
Leading America and the world at large requires visionary, dynamic politicians who 1. don’t want to spend anymore money on needless wars and bloodshed 2. are interested in breaking down walls, not building them and finally, 3. are passionate and keen to take care of the increasingly diverse and complex community needs as well as their environment. To any logical, reasonably modern person, this is the way forward.
Instead, what I keep seeing on the global politics stage and particularly in America is a looped VHS news tape from my shoulder-padded 80s childhood where traditional neo-liberalist Thatcherism and Reaganomics continue to dominate our systems like a virus that never seems to go away. We are somehow happy to accept our lot that this utopian, millenarian faith is a neutral force for the good of all mankind; one that is neither Master Yoda or Darth Vader but instead is a biological law that seems to have existed since our universe began, magically evolving with us on our Darwinian timeline. Personally, I don’t buy this old cock and bull neo-liberalist story because I don’t seem to recall our ancestors, the apes, carrying wallets as they were migrating out of Africa. Do you?
Yet, Middle America isn’t the only one taken in by politicians and leaders of such ancient Sumarian-like rhetoric. Most countries around the world have their fair share of similar individuals who are practically duped by their local grassroots leaders or representatives. My country, Malaysia is a perfect example (and I’m putting my head on the chopping block here) where a questionably corrupted and elitist Prime Minister is leading a party where folks residing in rural areas in East Malaysia may have possibly been threatened with their lives or their basic supplies taken away from them if they didn’t vote the incumbents. Couple that with hefty doses of gerrymandering every election (or malapportionment) and walah, you get a party nobody wants in power retaining their suspicious majority for the rest of eternity.
The same thing could be said of Trump. What business does a billionaire wallowing in hundreds of millions of dollars worth of properties around the world have promising financially desperate folks that he can miraculously bring jobs back to America when so much money is secretly dumped in other vested and highly classified military or warfare projects?
What does a businessman like him know about the struggle of paying for healthcare or the sufferings of young women who seek to have control over their bodies when faced with personal disasters? What does he know about the plight of the homeless and how cold it is to sleep under two quilts and three cardboard boxes every winter’s night? Really, what does Trump or any of our privileged leaders around the world know what our daily lives are like?
2020 & BEYOND
If anything, I see the complete opposite in America and the world. I see politics today as not serving the communities they vowed to serve. It’s not serving our friends or our families. Hell, it’s not even serving you! So why should you vote?
Well, you should simply because the democratic-capitalist, neo-liberalist, blah, blah, blah system, in whatever form or shape it is in now, is an old, dying horse that simply needs to be put out of its misery and Trump has, unknowingly, come in at the perfect time to help us do that. For good.
While his cronies and him continue to desperately cling on to this horse as much as they can, we all innately know that change is inevitable. Everyone, including Middle America, must realise that 4 years from now, America and the world will be a very, very different place to live in.
In the future, hovercrafts and drones will be as normal as seeing a plane fly over your neighbourhood, we will pay for goods and services using data or online currency, our jobs will be automated and not “stolen by immigrants or China” as Trump frequently insists, we’ll be playing Pokemon Go V150 like we do Playstation now, we will live and work with AI bots and we will continue to organise more space expeditions to Mars to seek out new worlds for us to call home.
With all these rapid-fire changes taking place in the years to come, I’m not sure our current political systems that’s baked into these old ways of thinking can address and embrace these changes as quickly and efficiently as we’d like them to. In fact, the system is antiquated and already way past its sell-by date which is why we will see this tectonic disruption of our established political systems, starting with Trump’s Presidency.
If anything, the protests and rallies and marches that have been going on since Trump won the elections will be the tiny ripples the nation needs to effect change for years to come. It’s a positive sign that people are waking the hell up from the Matrix and taking ownership again of their lives, realising that the power doesn’t lie anywhere else but in their own hands.
As for Trump, it’s all well and good that he is enthusiastic (or at least seems to sound like he is to his voters) about ‘Making America Great Again.’ The only problem is that making anything great usually comes at a great price and it looks like he’s unknowingly signed up to be the fall guy.
Just a final word of advise, Donald, if you’re reading this – Make sure you have a couple of spare hair weaves stocked up in the White House in case of fire. There’s going to be a lot of them during your time on Capitol Hill.