Monday 23 January 2017

Donald Trump and the Divided States of America

It hasn't been a good week for those of us who consider ourselves to be liberal progressives types.

On Friday Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America. It feels if we're heading on journey into the unknown which you know is going to get very bumpy in places.

In the analysis following Trump's inauguration we're told how America is a divided nation but they say this after every US election when a new President is elected.

We've seen demonstrations in Washington and in cities across the world protesting against the rhetoric and language that Donald Trump as displayed throughout the election campaign and during the run up to him taking office.

I've realised that this is what happens in US politics. I remember in the 90s when Bill Clinton was in office. The Republican Party went into melt down in opposition to him. In 2000, Democrats and Liberals were outraged as George Bush won the election after winning the state of Florida which was too close to call.

In 2008 many celebrated the election of Barack Obama as America's first black president, but again conservatives were immediately hostile with some claiming he was illegitimate as President as he supposedly wasn't born in America

This is American politics and America in a nutshell, split down the middle between liberal and conservative America. Both sides descending into hostility and outrage when the other occupies the Presidency.

Will Donald Trump unite this divided nation? Of course he won't. He's too much of a divisive figure for that to happen and I expect the next four years to be pretty hostile from both sides of the political divide.

What to expect from a Trump Presidency

With Trump now in power I'm looking forward to seeing what happens when his rhetoric and bravado comes face to face with the realities of domestic politics and international relations.

It's easy to come out with slogans like, 'lets make America great again' and 'America first' but actually delivering on such statements is the real hard part.

Perhaps it's just me, but I don't get carried away with politicians telling me how they're going to change the world, or are going to make things great again. I look back to 2008 when Obama was elected. I was genuinely excited and optimistic. He spoke about how 'change had come to America'. I listened to political commentators tell me how we were now entering a 'post-racial' world.

Eight years later what real radical change did Obama bring? He didn't change America and as for a post-racial world if that was truly the case we wouldn't have the need for a Black Lives matter movement. This isn't a criticism of Obama, I'm just stating the point that the rhetoric and ideals espoused by politicians rarely matches reality.

This is what will happen with Donald Trump. Bringing back manufacturing jobs to the US from other countries is going to be incredibly difficult. Having a protectionist policy towards trade is unlikely to reap the benefits of making America great again.

As leader of the United States you still have a great deal of power and influence but I just don't believe that Presidents and elected officials can have the power and influence to change everything in the ways that we sometimes hope as voters.

If there is one defining feeling I have about Donald Trump it's the feeling of entering the unknown. We're in uncharted waters with his election. This could be a car crash waiting to happen. Something tells me it won't be as bad as some are predicting but a Donald Trump presidency will never be one in which I can truly feel comfortable with.

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