“For society to attempt to solve its desperate problems without the full participation of even very young people is imbecile.” ~ALVIN TOFFLER
The Presidential Election has produced, in the ‘liberated’ minds of the so-called pundits, a stunning victory for one of the most unscrupulous Presidential candidates ever in US history. While the Trump supporters must be celebrating in the most spirited manner, those who supported Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton are self-pitying in their own lost hopes and lost dreams. That proverbial ‘glass ceiling’ remains unshattered and quite intact. American voters were ready to elect a black President, yet they were not ready for a woman as their political head. Does that mean America is getting past the racial undertones of her two hundred and forty year history but not yet ready to embrace the fairer sex as its President? Or was the effect of the elections, as evidenced in the Brexit phenomenon, much more deeply rooted in the psyche of a nation turning inwards? Donald Trump’s election as the leader of the world’s leading military and economic power has thrown up more questions than answers. Given the intense volatility of Trump’s vitriol and his propensity to destroy his opponents to smithereens, his capacity to declare lies and exaggerations to an extent one would think far outpaces his lips, coupled with American media’s subservient conduct of informationdissemination to Trump’s palpable favour, willy nilly, the coming years of Trump Presidency appears quite frightening. If Trump begins to behave the way he has been behaving the way he adopted during his nasty campaigning style, the world will surely behold a new American phenomenon emerging from the bowels of a modern society that is called America but more representative of a pagan community trying to come to grips with a narcissist man who has fallen in love with himself beyond any comparable measure.
That is to anticipate events. The office of President of the United States of America is indeed of great consequence. In possession of vast and varied warehouses of modern war-weaponry ranging from intercontinental ballistic missiles to deep sea nuclear submarines, America in the guise of a protector of liberty and democracy in the world could be her own destroyer if and when such enormous powers are vested in the unpredictable and impulsive hands of a narcissist whose warped desires could far outweigh the needs of the commoner. Yet the concept of separation of powers as enshrined in the American Constitution would be the ultimate arbiter of matters that would seem to get out of control of the regulator of the switch of Presidency. In a real sense, the power that controls the switch dwells within the portals of the Senate and the House of Representatives rather than the President himself. Well, I might as well leave such sophisticated arguments to those constitutional experts whose opinions and views are much more scholarly and erudite in this context. Yet it is commonly acknowledged that the genius of the American Constitution would ultimately safeguard ‘We the people’ from any and all forms of intrusions into their liberty, freedom and pursuit of happiness by any impostors including those who get elected to power by whatever means that seem to be within the realm of ‘normal and legal’ at the time.
Donald Trump, until proven otherwise, belongs to that category of the elected who are palpably unworthy of such momentous powers the President of the United States of America holds within his fingers. It is even more pronounced, given the increasing diversity in the demographic transformations that are taking place in America, especially in the big cities and their immediate suburbs, when the winner of the national poll and the winner of the Electoral College are two different contestants. Hillary Clinton, by virtue of vastly populated states such as California and New York managed to secure a majority of voters at the national level. With the slow but sure estrangement of non-white voter base from the Republican Party, would Trump’s efforts be more towards furthering of that relationship or for a more conciliatory moderate stance, especially on immigration reforms, is an intriguing question in the minds of many a political pundit and guru. However, one might agree or disagree with the mechanics of Trump’s campaigning, but no one can take away his compulsive commitment to the notion of winning at all and any cost. That commitment pressed Donald Trump to the finish line. Such personalities populate the history of past and present world leaders. Even in Sri Lanka there was one such personality whose obsession with winning at all costs saw him achieve each and every goal he set his eyes on. Since the said personality has passed away, in the interest of journalistic etiquette, I refrain from committing his name on paper. Populism crafted in the rhetoric of a master-brander like Trump can win votes and change the course of a nation. Repetition of phrases such as crooked Hillary, corrupt Hillary and rigged system may win votes in the short run but when it comes to statecraft, adherence to these short-lived political slogans would boomerang and the retributory effects of such slogans would be even more devastating than the original sin of the emptiness of them. It is certainly not fair by Trump to pass judgment on his way of conducting the affairs, both domestic and international, of the only super power in the world like the United States of America. Yet America has proven to be too big to fail; it’s proven to be too rich to be inconsequential in the affairs of man in the world, at least for the next half a century.
Endowed with a supreme document drafted and penned almost to perfection by her founders two and half centuries ago, America is still the envy of the world. For the average American living in Kentucky, Oklahoma or Arizona, the ‘universe’ is his immediate neighbourhood. In his neighbourhood he finds first-class schools, he finds his sources of entertainment; he might not know the capital city of China or even Mexico, but he contends that he does not need to know for him and his family to lead a content and whole life. General knowledge that Sri Lankans are obsessed with is no barometer of success of the average American. In fact, therein lies the success story of America. A few brilliant minds and far-thinking men have come together in the past and owing to the free market economy and its magnetic appeal for profits have empowered even meager-looking entrepreneurs to make this country an oasis of the brave new world which it is today. Donald Trump or his cohorts cannot undo those magnificent landscapes of the American story of today. As much as any changes, whether they be qualitative or quantitative, that are being anticipated after an election at which the incumbent party has been replaced by the opposing one, could be welcome in some quarters, they do represent a flashpoint of people’s feelings and emotions at a macro level. In the absence of a mandate-giving victory for Trump at the elections and in the context of a divided country which voted for one candidate at the national level and another at the Electoral College level, reconciliation between Democrats and Republicans may look extremely hard and daunting. With Donald Trumps’ un-nuanced and unsophisticated rhetoric, replacing more polite and diplomatic dialogue which is mistaken as political correctness, the task at the hands of ‘we the people’ is challenging at the beginning and vast in diversity and scope as they go on. Political slogans won’t work in the fine arts of governance. Availability of a vast resource of knowledge and information at the tip of one’s finger via Google has made the world smaller and challenges bigger.
A very few men and women would have the spine to withstand the gale of change that sweeps across all frontiers, political and geographical. Historians will keep theorizing and media men would attempt to justify their perverted predictions but the people at large will take a few steps back and reserve judgment for another day. Man can be judged only by his past performance, never by his present behaviour to win the hearts and minds of a great majority of minorities. I have stated this before and dare repeat myself: no country is worthy of its existence if it continues to disrespect the rights of its minorities. Wide acceptance of an idea among a majority group is no proof of its validity. Participation of young men and women, whether educated or not, at a very meaningful level at shaping and defining the future course of the economic and social journey of a nation is a must. Without such a dynamic, without such a robust synergy from the younger generation, any society that boasts about being the sole superpower of the world would find itself at the gaping jaws of extinction. The writer can be contacted at [email protected] com
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