Power to the people


There is no such thing as an easy start. For the so-called ordinary people of this world, and for the leaders who are equipped with the moderation that comes from the reading of history, the beginning of every serious effort is exceptionally hard: new and relatively unknown territory, a new role, and new people (on your side as well as against you).

When it comes to Donald Trump, America’s 45th president, and his self-confidence that has evolved into a constant and annoying display of self-love, nothing seems too hard. Not even the highest and most complicated office on earth. When Trump vows that everything will go according to plan because God is on his side, it is not because he is guided by some form of divine providence. After all, the God-bless-America mantra is as shallow from a theological and religious point of view as our own certainty that “God is Greek.”

Trump is rather inspired, first, by his unshakable confidence in his own miraculous or resourceful self and, second, by his billionaire cabinet, a team of good Christians who are so deeply mired in political and business entanglements as to be best suited to clamping down on corruption and helping their nation’s plebeian population.

The only people who seem to appreciate the new president’s purportedly Christian antics are Greece’s religious right, who are having visions of Trump attending a religious service inside Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia when they are not dreaming of him restoring the Byzantine Empire, with the help of Russia’s Vladimir Putin, of course. This enthusiasm for Trump can only be matched by the enthusiasm evidenced during the weekend gathering of members of European right-wing parties in Koblenz, Germany. Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s National Front party, pushed concern about Trump a step further as she went on to proclaim that “we are living through the end of one world and the birth of another.”

In his divisive statements, Trump has often vowed to give power back to the people. It must be the only time that there is some truth to the cliche, although not in the way the American president would have it. The massive protests in the wake of his swearing-in ceremony as all distressed social groups voiced their fear and determination did not signify the return of power to the people. However, they showed that the rejects of Trump’s new world, of his big-again, white, male, intolerant, patriotic America, they too have a voice and they too have rights – and the will to defend them.

At some point, even Trump will have to realize that a TV reality show is one thing, while social and historical reality is quite another.