Things seem to be way out of control these days. So many of the things we used to take for granted in our lives now seem topsy-turvy. There used to be a right and a left, liberal, conservative, moral, immoral. Could it be really true that a rich guy with all the power in the world, who previously used his power to exploit the weak, rip off the powerless, abuse women, exploit racism, has become an upright guy? Maybe?
Witness U.S. President Donald Trump’s relentless focus on creating new jobs for those who have been displaced in their work by globalization, by robotization, by environmental imperatives. Witness a realpolitik that ignores political correctness and confronts fears we all have that we will be overwhelmed by an ideology of global supremacy that hides behind a religious façade.
What if Trump ignores the short-term advantage of going along with the power of oil and population numbers in the Middle East, trade interests in Europe, debt holdings of U.S. treasuries in China, and asserts support for a beleaguered Israel, gives notice that the United States is again prepared to fight robustly to maintain its international stature, and disarms Russia by seeking common cause in areas of common interest from a position of renewed military strength and commitment? What is wrong about making a serious effort to maintain the integrity and respect of America’s borders, and recognizing that international trading arrangements have ignored the reality that certain partners’ internal politics have undermined and eroded the supposed advantages of those arrangements? Perhaps his lack of ideology will overturn Republican extremism, make the United States a better place for millions of the country’s illegals, by finding some path for them to a legal presence there, and result in a replacement health program that is better for Americans than the one that has been dictated by gridlock and lobbyists.
We are seeing some of the power guys shaking in their boots about what Trump is going to do next, how he is going to shake up the country, and the world. Will he confront legislators who are lapdogs for lobbyists? Is he actually going to create jobs for those blue-collar guys who are having trouble adjusting to a changing world and are looking at a jobless future? Is he actually going to stop potential terrorists from getting into the United States? Will he confront cyber hackers, no matter what the cost to innocents, privacy concerns and the niceties of international relations?
There is that side of the coin. How many innocents will suffer in the process of getting the job done? How many in his base will presume a freedom for racism, misogyny and anarchy? Does our distaste for his past and some of his bedfellows mean we can’t trust him? Because the fact is that some of us just don’t trust the motives.
But are motives the be all and end all? What if he does actually tackle those countries that are abusing the rules set by trade agreements, like Mexico, China and some other countries? What if he actually is going to support a U.S. alliance with Israel? What if he calls Iran’s bluff or confronts Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the Emirates, Iran, etc., on their policies that favour terrorism? What if he challenges the Palestinians on their refusal to recognize a Jewish state and a Jewish presence in the West Bank, which is legal and sanctioned by the Oslo Accords?
Surely we are overdue for a change from Barack Obama’s failed policies. Why shouldn’t we lean on some of these guys? Why shouldn’t we put the United Nations on the backburner where it belongs, because it caters to the worst actors in human rights? Shouldn’t we go for American energy independence and deal with the consequences of using new technology?
Aren’t there some things that need fixing? Could some of the things we hate be the price for better policies in other areas? Don’t we have to wait and see what we are really going to get before we push the panic button?
Max Roytenberg is a Vancouver-based poet, writer and blogger. His book Hero in My Own Eyes was recently published.