Change has come to America. For the first time, American voters have elected as their president a billionaire businessman turned reality TV star with no experience in government. A misogynist, racist, narcissist, Islamophobe and xenophobe with a matching hairstyle.
Many are expecting the worst – a great wall along the Mexican border, a revival of the Ku Klux Clan, the booting out and keeping out of immigrants, more police brutality against blacks and people of color, and the continuation of the Dakota pipeline, among others. Some are predicting World War 3.
Perhaps America deserves Donald Trump. For more than a century now, the American government and it’s powerful corporations have led the way in violating human rights and the sovereignty of nations all over the world. It has engaged in the most vicious of attacks against non-white populations, starting from its own native American Indians to generations of Africans, Latin Americans, Asians, and Middle Easterners. It has exported an individualistic, consumerist culture that commodifies women, insults minorities and extols the profane and decadent. It has plundered entire nations, exported war on a daily basis and killed millions of peoples in the name of democracy and free trade. It is the biggest and most powerful terrorist state in the world.
For decades, America has flaunted its excesses and washed its dirty linen on our TV screens. With Trump’s victory, reality TV has finally caught up with America.
But there is another side to this sordid affair. Millions of Americans did NOT vote for Trump. The popular vote went to the lesser evil, Hillary Clinton. Millions more chose none of the above and stayed home. Many say if the Democrats nominated Bernie Sanders as its standard bearer, he would have trumped Trump. In fact, the majority chose Trump because he, in some twisted sort of way, came to symbolize America’s much needed break from the Establishment.
It is unfortunate that the American people’s fight against neoliberal globalization, highlighted by the Battle of Seattle in 1999 and the Occupy Wall Street Movement of 2011, has culminated not in the election of a leftist Democrat in the person of Sanders but a rightist populist in the person of Trump. But should we be surprised? Democrat-led governments under presidents Clinton and Obama were pretty much responsible for imposing the neoliberal agenda on Americans as their Republican counterparts. Mrs. Clinton was of the same mold of world leaders living in the Davos universe.
Ironically, it took a billionaire non-politician to articulate the grievances and aspirations of the ordinary American. Most of them may not have shared his disdain for immigrants, his condescending view of women or his brash and self-centered arrogance. But he spoke the truth about Americans being left out of globalization. Of the lack of jobs and opportunities. Of corrupt and vested interests hijacking the American dream. Many felt the need to shake America from its stupor. What better way than to elect a detestable outlier to the presidency.
Trump promises to be different, just like Obama did before him. But sooner or later, he will have to contend with the same military-industrial complex, the same financial oligarchs, the same transnational corporations that have benefited from the system that he himself has benefitted from. He will be allowed to pursue his campaign promises against immigrants, minorities and women. But he will not be allowed to reduce corporate profits or disrupt the global production chains that American corporations have tied around the world.
Trump promises to make America great again. But at what expense? Marcos promised the same thing and imposed a dictatorship on his people. Hitler did the same and killed six million Jews.
The ball is now in the court of America’s left of center movements. They should get their act together and come up with a viable alternative not only to Donald Trump but the ugly system he represents.