The inaugural ceremony for the 45th POTUS took place today – millions tuned in across the world to watch (most probably in denial or hoping that it was all just a big practical joke), thousands took to the streets in protest and countless others just did not bother with the occasion at all: the ‘what’s done is done’ attitude. Which category do you fall into?
The turn of events in the recent elections left so many in uproar. The world watched on in shock to see an abnormally large kindergartener (or Oompa-Loompa; whatever term you prefer) win an election in which they were so certain the outcome would have been the opposite. Half the world went to sleep in peace, convinced there was no way for Trump to surpass Clinton in the votes, what with all the negativity and shade being thrown at him by a large fraction of the US population.
But he did win.
Yes, he evidently isn’t prepared to be a President, or as Trevor Noah quite rightly pointed out, ‘He is still in campaign mode‘. He has little regard for certain values, certain traditions, most races, most global crises and issues, and seems to only have his mind set on ‘making America great again’.
Again? Again? How blind must one be – or caught up in his own ego – to not realise that America hasn’t stopped being great? It is one of, if not the leading powerhouse of the world. Whether the rest of the global population like it or agree to it or not, America has made a name for itself as one of the most powerful – and as a result, most feared – countries around in this day and age. It has been that way for centuries. So what exactly are you trying to make ‘great’ again? You can’t make great, better. You’re already at the top of the chain; there’s nowhere to go after this point; that’s just greed. I mean yes, you think ‘ridding’ the nation of immigrants, the Mexicans, the Muslims will make the country great (“again”, let’s not forget), and that we should teach these people – who are supposedly also terrorists – a lesson.
Sorry, but who are the terrorists? Even a child could tell you that the term ‘terrorist’ is subjective. Due to the medias love to generalisation after recent events and twisted governmental ideologies, in the Western world – as disgusting and ridiculous as it is – this term is used interchangeably with ‘Muslims’ or anything to do with the Islamic faith. However, if you go to another part of the world, they will show you a completely different image. Vietnam – many still live in fear of Americans after the dreadful war, and so aren’t Americans the terrorists to them? Sri Lanka, where a war had torn apart this small, beautiful island for generations and both sides see the other as the terrorist. South and North Korea, what do you think their response would be?
Let’s backtrack a bit and look at the definition of the term ‘terrorist’:
“a person who uses unlawful violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims”
Yes, this whole situation may be something to fear for thousands, if not millions, of people, not just in the US but across the world. But I didn’t write this post to reiterate or emphasise the fear, nor did I write to purely try to knock Trump off the pedestal he’s comfortably sat on. If it were that easy, I would be doing something other than writing this blog. I wrote it to tell you not to lose hope (and not in a ‘let’s make a countdown until the next inaugural ceremony’ sort of way).
This has happened before in American history – one of greatest countries in the world falling into a pit of fear, anxiety and denial. A country that seems to be turning against not just the rest of the world but a large number of its own population, making billions quiver at the very sound of its name or the name of its leader.
The Jim Crow incident is just one example. We also have the likes of Nixon and Reagan, whose presidencies redefined racism and racial segregation – through their war against crime and drugs – in such a negative way that the effects still ring true to this day, over 25 years later. The policies that brought across mass incarcerations, but only for those of colour; policies that were supposedly eliminating the racist aftereffects of the likes of Jim Crow, but really were just continuing the disaster, under a different name, a different image.
Despite all this, the country always gets back on its feet and regains the right sort of image and reputation from its citizens and the rest of the world. How? Through great presidents, such as Eisenhower, Kennedy and now Obama. Eisenhower was one of the few presidents to not have such a negative image – he promised to end the Korean war (and did), he helped the economy in countless ways over his terms, and helped push the country towards the modern world. Likewise with Kennedy – resolving the Cuban missile crisis (which at the time seemed to only have one disastrous option) and the moon landings to name a few. President Obama redefined what it meant to be a president in a multitude of ways – was genuine, wasn’t afraid to admit to difficult situations, actually respected and cared for his country and the people of his country in ways which would make you wonder if he was the president and not just a peace campaigner – the list goes on.
“Man is not chastised for making mistakes, but for failing to recognise and rectify them”
I don’t think any other quote could summarise the situation better. After every mistake, or in this case every President who has left a scar on the American history, a natural born leader steps up to the challenge to recognise and rectify the damage. Not just to make amends, to strengthen ties with others, to earn forgiveness from those who have been affected the most, but to allow the country as a whole to learn a lesson, and learn from mistakes that may have been made by the public or by the leaders. It takes a great human to be able to take on this responsibility and the weight of the damage that has been inflicted, and they don’t come by very often. But when they do, you realise why it was worth the wait.
So, the next term may be a right disaster which has already begun with a terrible inaugural ceremony, and numerous important pages being removed from the White House website without explanation. This will definitely come with its up and downs, as does every presidency (yes, even Obama’s), but see it as the natural path history takes. Trump isn’t the president we would all want, but I think he’s president America needs. The country is torn by racism, crime, violence, unspoken caste systems and hatred – topics certain media platforms just love to brush past, and sweep under the rug. Maybe someone like Trump is exactly who you need to clearly see the real problems and to make the country unite against these problems (and not about which Kardashian has their body on show).
You fall, you rise up again, but you can’t grow without making mistakes, whether you’re just one person, one organisation, one tribe or whole country.
So no matter what category you fall into for the next 4 years, don’t lose hope but also don’t be naive. America is your country, and it is in your hands to push it in the right direction by giving her the leader she needs.