The Night After and the Day Before

Duly Noted                   Duly Noted

Our established experts reacted with sour surprise to the choice of POTUS. Some of us welcomed the news, many saw their shrink, and others decided that the end of the world has come. The reaction of the losers –take the term as you wish- is noteworthy. This goes beyond the demos, flag burning, threats to move to Canada, and the demand that the electors shall not vote as mandated. Recalling the outrage about Trump’s quip that, if contestable, he might challenge the election’s results, by the standard set, the tantrum appears in a light that is less than favorable.

Indeed, the protest reminds one of the fit of temper of a spoiled brat at a market’s check-out. In that film, the obese kid grabs some of the conveniently placed candy and, surprisingly, the mother says “no”. The clip ends with laments, tears, and breathless bystanders that disapprove of the heartless parent.

Local and global disapproval places bumps on the path of Trump. Ditto for “America“, and popular democracy. It does not matter if, due to the media’s misrepresentations and PC’s dogmas, several those whose welfare is tied to Trump’s success, cannot realize who puts butter on their bread –and where that butter comes from.

The “morning” after, your correspondent began to collect reactions to an insolent America’s defiance of imposed propriety. Let this begin with the conclusion meant for the end. It is that, with such enemies, America needs no friends. The most persuasive claim in favor of Trump is the crowd that rages against him.

How can one disapprove of a president-elect whose hysterical foes make statements by trashing their neighborhood but who are unable to take exams and need –welfare financed? – therapy to overcome their grief?

Let this be focused on the writer’s local daily, while Spiegel, a tune-setting German weekly has a title page “The End of the World (as we know it)”. The inside is about the “Absurd President” elected by sixty million that are as “dumb” as were the Germans 80-years-ago. My “Südostschweiz” is mildly leftist, and fights the country’s largest party which is not incompatible with Trump’s new republicanism. If you peruse the issue, you can assess the reaction of politics’ insiders to America’s attempt at a new beginning –and of the mines to be placed along the road.

First page. Under a picture of Trump, a lead article “Democracy? Democracy!” Its gist: How could this happen? Trump is “a chauvinist, sexist, uninterested in the facts. The result should not be lightly dismissed. Brexit, and the populism of the vote, shows society’s dissatisfaction and division”.

Second page. A picture shows a local American woman holding a flag as she jumps in the air. She tells that she has attended an embassy-hosted gathering of expats in Berne. She was “the only Trump supporter” there. One suspects that, those that were for the “Monster” did not go, and if present, they submitted silently.

The real goodies come from a series of small pictures above short appraisals. An “Author”: “oh f…k, what comes next”. Then there is a lady who is “not pleased at all”, for she has “only heard bad things” (true, given the reports’ bias). Then follows a Socialist local legislator who thinks this election has no good side to it. That is seconded by the director of the local theater who finds ”Dictatorial ignorance, racial hatred, sexist arrogance: Lies have won. It is a threat to world politics.” A local man but Iowa resident is made nervous by the GOP majority. A “rapper” “does not give a s..t”, while a passer-by feels that “someone has to make order”, but does not know whether “he” is the right one. On the next page someone on home leave from New York City thinks that he “had the wrong image of America”. Lastly among the “accidentally” consulted, is the town’s Chairman of the Socialists. His judgment: ”A victory for uncouth right-wing populism and a wake-up call for progressive forces”.

Most of the third page presents an ex-member of the national executive. Schlumpf is sold as centrist. However, she conspired herself to power with leftist help and is accordingly liked/disliked. Her party is nose-diving. She has met Clinton, “a very good woman”, and hopes for America that “it does not get as bad as many assume”. Less diplomatically, her close associate and a member of the Canton’s government, opines: “What a black day. The “nightmare continues”.

Finally, a letter from my grandson to complete the reception of Trump. He writes: “Thank you for your thoughts! I am glad to find someone who thinks the way I do. Most of the people –he is “bubbled” in college- get angry when I say that I would have endorsed Trump. People call you narrow-minded, racist or whatever the media told them to think. It is a pity that even students (supposedly our intellectual elite) are not capable (or refuse?) to question certain sources of information. Especially ones like “Blick am Abend”, which is a leftist propaganda-pamphlet. Honesty would force /those I meet/ to admit that most of their knowledge comes from the social media or hearsay. When talking about Obama they do the exact opposite: “He was a reliable politician to be taken seriously.” However, when asked about ONE achievement of Obama’s politics, they just allege that his plans were sabotaged by the Republicans. Isn’t that a cheap argument? Probably also made up by an “expert”!

At this juncture, the reader should be kept from an unwarranted conclusion. Trump’s condemnation is not at all universal in Europe. The media image created with much help from America –anti-Americanism relies on ammo from the US – helps her otherwise relentless detractors, to lament now the loss of American freedom. Some of the hostility to Trump is plain cold-war-era anti-Americanism that attacks from a new angle. Those that express genuine concern for democracy in America are old hands at denying that America is democratic.

Actually, Trump’s election can be said to be an expression of the revolt of people that feel they “give” more than they “get” and that they are ignored by the system as managed by the power elite. In number of European countries there are comparable movements and new majorities are emerging. Some are in power, others might attain it. The leaders and their “deplorable” flowers are treated to the “excommunication” the “Trumpers” are experiencing. It is noteworthy, that the effect of the exhortations here is comparable to what they have accomplished in the US.

One more thing to point to a corrected perspective: What gets votes in America is not necessarily convincing in Europe. Most “American candidates” are not understood here. Originally, Reagan -proven in practice- had received more contempt then Trump, who is more hated than Reagan had ever been. It might be symbolic that during his recent final visit in Berlin, Obama has earned a “let us keep him here” from his admirers.

Finally, to the open question. How will the elites react to their past and, presumably, looming further defeats? One approach would be to listen to the “barefooted”, and then to adjust the style and the agendas. Call it “reconsider, retreat, refresh”.

The other starts with the assertion that the failures are due to unclear contours. Therefore, -well spiced- the “correct” undiluted goal is to be presented. Especially the parties that admit to being on the Left might retreat to long-minimized positions, that are to be defended by die-hards in a way that recalls Custer. One of them has already opted to dedicate its efforts openly to the “overcoming of Capitalism.” As a spokeswoman put it, the proper answer to the trend is the good old Marxist  “class struggle”. Well, what cannot bend is brittle, and what is brittle will crack. This promises that the next chapter of the story will be “interesting” because it will be about “the day before” that “last stand” when the “thin(ing) red line” will not hold.

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