Enter the Trump Presidency.
I’ve stayed silent about him for some time now. During the election process, especially early on, I got the impression he was being confrontational and offensive to get attention. I try not to talk about blowhards like that because it helps them. The more people talk about him the more attention he gets. We’re past that point though. We have to talk. He’s gotten an absurd amount of power and it’s not okay.
But let us take a step back first.
I’ve avoided politics in my writings, but also in my life. Of course I have many political ideas and I like to debate with people on them. Real low level politics are life, you can’t avoid that. It’s just that I’ve been actively disengaged with the big picture. I avoided getting involved with organizations and with movements. This isn’t something I’m proud of, nor is it something I’m especially ashamed of. We should all strive to do good in the world and it’s up to the individuals to decide what form that takes. There’s more problems than any one person can possibly face, so we pick our battles. Personally, I found politics to be far more draining of my energy and good will than most things. If you can’t guess from my writings, I don’t fall into a mainstream viewpoint. I’m actively frustrated by political parties and organisations. In some cases it’s not entirely their fault, the system itself is set up in a combative fashion which forces any successful group to adhere to a toxic mentality. The Us-vs-Them thing. The antagonistic, divisive, polarizing tactics. It’s not something I can agree with. So I tried for non-mainstream parties. Political people on the fringes are even worse because they’re actively divisive towards anyone with beliefs that are not “exactly correct”. The in-fighting is mind numbing. So I gave up. I focused my energy on those people I could directly engage with. Actually being able to have a conversation with someone makes helping them exponentially more effective.
Yet despite all that I’m coming back around.
We’ve been building towards a big shift: war or some global catastrophe, whether famine, plague, or other. If we had a strong moral leader, this event could be spun into a good thing. We could have been steered to something greater. Maybe a societal shift in how we treat our environment or in our inequality issues.
But no. Now the odds are on a tragedy.
America is bereft of a positive leader. Learning the history of the Roman Empire, both the fall of the united east/west empire and the subsequent fall of the eastern half, has been startling educational. Their president is reminiscent of the entitled and violently stupid later emperors. The ones who managed to squander the treasury, destabilize the borders, and wreck the legal system, all while playing a populist rhetoric of helping the common people. It’s scary to see how bad this collapse could become.
This generation will bleed. We will suffer and struggle but we will survive. Many common people survived both world war 1 and 2. The bloodshed was monumental but they survived.
As will we.
Three generations and we forget. Average lifespan skews the absolute number of years, but it’s the generations that count. The children who grow up in the shadow of tragedy know to not repeat it. Their children are a step removed from it, they learn of it as an idea. They start to glorify the violence, to forget the pain. When they have become old, their is no one to remember. The children of the children become adults who have forgotten why we remember.
I can’t say for certain this president will be important in and of himself (important can be good or bad, I’m talking impact). I have my doubts about how he will be written into history. What I can tell for sure is that he will be a catalyst. The “cause” will be our societies neglected problems.
The lessons we have forgotten and the ones we have yet to learn.