Food for thought…

I have tried to write a blog about the first week of the new American president. But it just didn’t work, I simply couldn’t find the right words to express the combination of pity, disgust, anger, fear, sadness and disbelief I feel. It’s like America has entered an alternative reality. An Orwellian nightmare.

“I can’t believe the news today – I want to close my eyes and make it go away”

“Sunday Bloody Sunday” – U2

One of the things I learned from this whole episode; it is true what they say about the decline of culture under influence of a relative small group of evil people. The Trump administration showed it themselves, breaking down freedom at a rapid pace. And under the pretext that they are protecting those freedoms against aggressors from other countries and cultures… Like burning down a store, in order to keep others from blowing it up. It could be characterized as ironic if it wasn’t so pitifully sad…

Keep silent…

Some people told me I shouldn’t talk about this. Especially some republican friends. That I should keep silent, being no expert on political or sociological matters. Well, would you regard Don't knowTrump a political or sociological expert? Or all those people who voted for him? The majority of them seem barely smart enough to tie their own shoes…

Another argument was that the rhetoric Trump sprouted, had to be regarded as metaphoric and not be taken literally. I have a strange habit of believing people about the things they say, or at least that it represents their intentions. But according to his followers these were words for the campaign, he would change once in office… Well, how about that now? One thing must be said, he did what he promised…

A couple of them also said I should keep silent about this because I am no American and live in Europe. Didn’t America profile itself over the last 70 years as the leader of the whole western civilization? Then you can expect people from all over the globe, who will be affected by this election, to speak out. Besides that this is a phenomenon we also see in Europe, with figures like Wilders and LePen.

They also told me to give him a chance. Not to undermine him before he even started. First of all he didn’t need me to undermine his authority, doing a great job of that himself. And secondly, I did give him that chance, but after a week in office it’s already a mess.

This week was one of the weirdest of my entire life. Reading the paper in the morning felt like getting a damage report. America seems to be changed into a dictatorship. Free press is being undermined.  The results of scientific investigation under censorship of the new regime. Stupidity is revered celebrated, while intellectuals are made suspicious. Even eliminating people who don’t do what the great leader says. And a couple of propaganda minions to feed “Alternative Facts” to the people… It’s looking an awful lot like North Korea, one glorious leader, and a bunch of yesmen around him.

Some of my American friends told me how afraid they are.  How they feel they live in a police state, not shure what the future will bring, and what the next move of the regime will be. When they will become the next persona non grata… Intelligent and courageous people, who welcome everyone with a big heart and open arms. But I have never seen them so hurt and frightened.

Last week I was asked to give the lecture about what happened in my old hometown Langbroek in WWII, for a group of mostly elder ladies in a near village. When I told about the rise of Hitler, one woman in the front row whispered to her neighbor “That’s just like that idiot in America now”. I always end that lecture with a short speech about our own responsibility in preventing it from happening again. It felt weird, two years ago I was giving the same lecture, and roughly the same speech (I never write anything down, it’s always from memory). But what had happened in those two years? It’s like history repeated itself. I know it doesn’t, but there sure some analogies. But when we look at history to have a clue of where this is going, it’s not pretty.

Over the last years I have spoken and written about this. Warning and trying to make people aware. But also to learn what drives them to choose otherwise. I’ve come across a lot of fear, induced and fed by media and politicians. But also met a lot of ignorance, ego(t)ism, covert racism and even some plain  stupidity.

Yes, I know this won’t change a bit. But I refuse to keep shut up. Why? Because I won’t look away and keep silent about the feeding of hate, racism and injustice, the spreading of lies and shutting out people for personal gain. One of their biggest crimes is the planned dismantling of education. That’s where civilization starts, the foundations of a society. And breaking that down is a betrayal of the next generations.

I do hope this nightmare will soon come to an end. Totalitarian regimes always do, but at what cost? The damage is far greater than any terrorist attack. It does call upon us to resist, but NOT in a violent way. Violence never makes anything better. Besides that, the violence is just the thing we try to ban out. Tyrants use violence because they lack intellectual strength. They want to reign over people, control their lives, because of their own fears. Desperately trying to fill that void in their soul.

Sorry

In a way I feel sorry for Donald Trump, he’s playing a fictional character, a caricature he created over the years. A mask of strength and masculinity. But when you look behind it there is nothing left other than an insecure old man, desperately looking for confirmation and admiration of others. That’s why he always boasts about being the best in everything. He thrives on attention, because it somewhat eases the loneliness he feels. Never letting anyone coming really close, because he’s afraid they will look behind the mask and see who he really is.

Trump maskSo he has to keep up the act of a tough man who know what he wants and plays a big leader. Never showing any real emotion – you will never see him laugh or cry – only anger. The tragic and sad figure entrapped in and by his own play. Another aspect of this is that he can never admit he was wrong, because it would undermine this constructed  “I am the best at everything” character.

In order to keep this up he must go forth on the path the has chosen. Sometimes he will stop things (Trump Steaks, Vodka, University, Magazine, Airlines) but it’s never his own fault, always due to some outside factor. His personality and businesses are an empty shell, like a decor for a cheap musical, looking great and rich from the outside. But when you come closer it is just flimsy cardboard, held together by some pieces of tape and quickly applied polyurethane foam. In the end, he’s a victim of himself.

Resist by solidarity

I think we should resist in a non-violent manner. By showing solidarity and consideration towards others. Adding something positive to a world that grows grimmer day by day. To say we are not going to take this policy of hate, racism and fear. To show civil (and civilized) disobedience towards the new regime. It takes courage to do so, but civilization and courage are just the things this new potus lacks…

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14 Responses to Food for thought…

  1. Coisas EM'adeira says:

    It’s like the madness became ‘normal’…

    So would you go to a swimming pool where it was allowed for people urinate at one corner?
    I think, we all as humans, should start paying attention we are on the XXI century and we only have one planet… and we share the same resources, the same air, etc…

    I think this is a brave post!
    Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

  2. michael5673 says:

    So Trump voters are “barely able to tie their shoes” and the other side are “Intelligent and courageous people”. If this is true, then you may have a very strong case.

    Like

  3. Jan,

    Many in the States are having the same thoughts with the added embarrassment of having proved 62,000,000 of our friends and neighbors are stone bigots and/or too dumb to function in a sane society. Sorry to have imposed Trump on the world, no one should have that against their will.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Craig says:

    “Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, and drunkenness sobered, but stupid lasts forever.”
    ― Aristophanes

    Like

  5. vishalicious says:

    Thank you for writing this. Your Republican friends are incorrect – you don’t need to be silent on the matter. Voter turnout here in the US was not high. Our candidates were both severely flawed, but Trump squeezed out a victory because of false populism – and new media manipulation (see this article, its both terrifying and fascinating: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/big-data-cambridge-analytica-brexit-trump).

    Many people here oppose Trump and his establishment, but there is corruption on both sides of the aisle – corporatist Democrats share in the blame for his election. They had a strong candidate, but worked against him for establishment purposes, and as a result, we have Trump.

    I don’t have high hopes for the direction of my country for the next 4 years. I do think that Trump will entangle himself in business dealings that are at odds with his position as president. He has already done so with his immigration ban (which favors countries in which he has business dealings) and the Dakota Access Pipeline (he has investments in at least one company that is constructing the line) and likely other dealings which the public isn’t aware of yet. These are illegal. He should already be facing opposition for this, but for some reason has not yet. I’m sure it will come to a boil, but not before massive damage is done.

    I can’t predict whether or not he will face impeachment, but his cavalier and corrupt actions can’t long withstand the legal arm of the government, even if he tries to control it and replace people in it with his own lackeys. He did not win with a majority vote by any means, and pressure from the American citizenry will stop him. Politicians want to be re-elected and to do that, they need voter support.

    As much as I revile Trump, this last election is the one my wife and I watched most closely. As a result of his presidency, I’m more active politically, and so is she. She attended the Women’s March in DC with friends (we’re in NY, I stayed home with the baby). We’ve both written to congressmen and women and made phone calls to voice complaints – something we’ve never done before. Some of our friends are doing the same. This past weekend, a group of us wrote letters demanding action to local politicians and to our representatives in the House and Senate. I’ve also joined a group called Justice Democrats who are intent on replacing establishment/corporate Democrats with progressives who vow not to accept corporate money and to represent the working class.

    In a way, Trump might be the catastrophe that America needed to polarize its citizens enough for analysis and action.

    Like

  6. I’m one of those “The majority of them seem barely smart enough to tie their own shoes…” I suppose. While I’m not a Trump supporter, I’m also not a condemner. I find it interesting that other countries expect the US to take care of everyone. When we do, we leave ourselves vulnerable. Being a “leader” leaves you open to additional attacks because no one likes a winner. If you do a little research you’ll find those “freedoms” that you say are being taken away are actually responsible and have been the same freedoms protected in mostly identical ways by former Presidents; yes, even those touted by the media as “stellar”. You can’t be responsible and open your doors for anyone to come in. I don’t hear about many liberals taking in refugees into their own homes, but I’m sure they’ll also being the ones screaming how Trump didn’t “protect” us. You can’t have it both ways.

    Trump does represent the working class; those of us who are taxed to death and tired of being told that our money is going to help the less fortunate. For those who believe the less fortunate need more help, I suggest you go write them a check or bring them into your own homes. Please share your story when you do. I’d be interested to read that.

    You can’t give away everything and expect people to be grateful. That’s called being taken advantage of and is what Trump is trying to prevent. Just know, there are those of us out there who can tie our shoes (and don’t demean others who vote differently) and see the good that Trump is doing.

    Like

    • Does he represent the taxed working class? Why are the only tax returns he gives for the upper riches and not for the working class then?

      And what about the suppression of press and science? What about his sexism and disdain for woman?

      Nobody is letting people in without checking, and nothing was given away for free. Did you see me mentioning any of that in the above article?

      As for the tying your shoes part. I said the the majority SEEMS to be barely smart enough to tie their own shoes. It will be quite hard to say the average Trump voter is an intellectual heavyweight…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. George says:

    I believe that Trump is an extreme narcissist and quite probably a Boarderline Personality. Tragic, perhaps but very dangerous. He painted himself gold and lived in a golden palace. I am being literal. In the end perhaps the extremist trying to steal our country will create chaos but they may also force a coalition of reasonable people. However the people of the Europe should be watching Stephen Bannon closely. He is the one with world domination and ethnic cleansing desires…a whole order of magnitude worse than Trump or the republicans.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Timothy Swain says:

    Thank you Jan van Cappelle — Strumpf has always been empty — since Oregon is so far away from the East Coast of the United States, & since I’m an old man, there’s little I can do, suffer little. Bit I agree with you, always — (what “good”? damnable idiot!) The stories about Strumpf have been legion for years, & always a fool he’s been — . The least we can do is stand tall, even if it means death.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for writing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. al says:

    thank you for speaking up

    Like

  11. Mike Hamilton says:

    A lot of voters grabbed the opportunity to send a loud “F*ck You” to Washington. Not undeserved. But only in fairy tales (and then seldom) do you make a deal with the devil and somehow escape with your soul.

    Like

  12. Gary Newland says:

    Thank you for writing this, I am in California, so also far away from a lot of the craziness, It is very good to know I am not alone in my feelings of dread about the next four years. By the way, I have been enjoying your blog for a while now and wish you the best in your new venture.

    Like

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