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Humanism and The Emergence of Trumpism


Long after the verdict of the November 8 polls fizzles away, there is no gainsaying that America and to an extent, the political world, will never remain the same. Donald Trump’s presidential campaign might currently be on life support after a barrage of self-destructive revelations from his dirty past and theatrics of his present life, but the legacy has been birthed and American politics has now been redefined going forward and the inquest of ‘What were we doing when this man emerged’ will long continue. Donald Trump prides himself as an outlier and makes everyone believe that he is an institutional outsider as a way to cloak the menace that he truly is. Indeed, he is an unconventional politician but he is worse than that. He is the embodiment of crass racism, a poster boy for male chauvinism, a religious bigot, a spoilt rich kid, and an enemy of humanity.

The United States has long been spared a truly authoritarian element in her politics. What Trump has succeeded in doing is to show something different, something that less fortunate countries know all too well: how authoritarianism works, how it seduces, and ultimately how it wins. It is not uncommon to have politicians with radical and outlandish views, however, in every true democracy, these radicals are always on the fringes; carefully guarded to scream from the outside. What has emerged with Donald Trump on the verge of the most important job in the world is the full assimilation of the fringes into mainstream politics. He hasn’t just given a voice to his kind, he has given them a renewed hope to dare; the kind that gave Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini the guts to carry out their heinous fascist and totalitarian tendencies. Trumpism thrives on the innate evil in man. The notion that you can do whatever you want and get away with it, that you can spit vitriol on the face of the not-so-privileged and take no blemish and that you can evade taxes for years and still tell the ‘little guy’ to go to hell. It all comes down to an irritatingly simple but unresolved question about his supporters: How much do they support Trump because they like his views, and how much do they support his views because they like Trump? We just don’t yet fully know, but one thing you can be sure of is that in him, some of his supporters see themselves; they might have never believed that their kind can be on the threshold of the plum job at the oval office. And even if he loses, the point has been made.

Trump might be the natural end result of a GOP that has leaned toward violent rhetoric and racial divisiveness for years, but his legacy is to be dreaded by all. Some part of Trump may even recognize this about himself, and that may be the reason he refuses to look inward. “When you start studying yourself too deeply, you start seeing things that maybe you don’t want to see,” he said in an interview with Time magazine some years back. “And if there’s a rhyme and reason people can figure you out,” Trump added, “and once they can figure you out, you’re in big trouble.”

Ultimately, Trump’s fire might have been contained from consuming the White House with all its flourishing history, but that fire now burns in the hearts of millions of Americans and non-Americans around the world. The United States will eternally do an inquest of how its glorious democracy birthed the monster that was Donald Trump, how unconventional vinegar was brought to the mainstream with many tasting the venom that might never leave their system. The conclusion of the matter is that while there is plenty of reason to fear a President Trump, even citizen Trump is a real and present danger to society.

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