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Donald Trump’s Dystopian America: The ROAD Revisited

August 7, 2016


The Western World has awakened to the stunning realization that what started out as a self-promotional campaign, with no clarity as to strategy, has confounded all the experts and pseudo intelligentsia. That Donald J. Trump, a bigoted, misogynistic and serial philanderer, would rise to the lead the Republican Party into the November 8, 2016, Presidential election is akin to a very bad B movie that never made it into the theatres. Too far-fetched and too stupid, unless someone like Seth Rogen were able to make it into a comedy. But then his comedy flick about Kim Jong-il, to put it in the vernacular, totally sucked.

Late night comedians, from Stephen Colbert to Larry Wilmore, to Samantha Bee to Trevor Noah, excel in ripping Trump a new one every evening. He’s the low hanging fruit. How can one not make Donald Trump look, pardon the language, like a incompetent asshole. It’s kindergarten work. And at some point we’ll start either zoning out or, if it looks like he could beat Hillary Clinton on November 8th, run for cover. Perhaps we’ll see a new breed of entrepreneurs who capitalize on building and selling bomb shelters for families, reminiscent of the sixties. “Okay children, everyone hide under their desks when you hear the sirens. President Trump got hold of the nuclear football.” Sorry Gens X and Y, you missed out on that scary segment of American (and Canadian) life.

More seriously, however, is the potential reality that a Trump presidency would likely entail a period of unpredictability and instability, from economic trade to race relations to geo-political tensions with rogue dictatorships (eg, Iran and North Korea) and unstable states (eg, Pakistan and Russia).

Consider Trump’s gushing comments earlier in the year about Kim Jong-il, who he recently called a “genius:”

“You’ve got to give him credit,” Mr Trump said. “How many young guys — he was like 26 or 25 when his father died — take over these tough generals, and all of a sudden — you know, it’s pretty amazing when you think of it. How does he do that?

“Even though it is a culture, and it’s a cultural thing, he goes in, he takes over, he’s the boss. It’s incredible.

“He wiped out the uncle, he wiped out this one, that one. This guy doesn’t play games and we can’t play games with him. Because he really does have missiles and he really does have nukes.”

The Road.jpeg

Unfortunately, when it comes to the high risk outcomes of geo-political instability most of society is essentially clueless. We’ve become numb to Hollywood’s versions of calamities caused by alien invasions, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes and nuclear war. We think of Mel Gibson in Mad Max, and its crappy sequels, in which a monosyllabic muscle man kicks ass. Or consider the disaster movies you’ve seen. Make a list.

But once in a while a film, based on a novel, comes along that conveys such a painful portray of a post-apocalyptic world that it propels one to sit up and consider the consequences of how weak, feckless national leadership can take a country to ruin very quickly. I first read The Road, an extremely bleak portrayal of a post-nuclear war world, in which survivors scavenge for food and cope with gangs of thugs. Don’t read it if you’re feeling down. However, it’s a reality check on the Hollywood-tainted views of how society copes after major disasters. The film, featuring Viggo Mortensen, is just as bleak. Indeed, most of the movie was shot in abandoned urban areas of Pennsylvania.

As much as some Americans, and Canadians and other nationalities, thought of President Ronald Reagan as a war monger nothing could be further from the truth. He turned out to be a president who, being repulsed from nuclear weapons, worked tirelessly with his Soviet counterpart President Mikhail Gorbachev to drastically reduce the nuclear arsenals of both countries. Read this post to learn more about Reagan’s efforts, as well as the tensions of the time.

Mad Trump

As I talked about in a recent post, effective leaders create a positive vision of the future. They enrol and align followers (whether in a community, organization or nation) to work collectively towards that vision. These REAL leaders do no harm; they aim to overcome prejudices, bigotry, racism and economic inequality. They are about UNITY.

These characteristics are anathema to Donald Trump. He doesn’t understand them and has no interest in self-enlightenment, for he believes he knows it all. His make-it-up-as-you-go campaign is about service to self, NOT service to country. Remember President John F. Kennedy’s powerful words at his inaugural address on January 20th, 1961: “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

Donald J. Trump doesn’t have a clue about leading a nation, and especially about leading by example when it comes to service to country. The world certainly does not need the increased likelihood of The Road, but not the movie version, occurring because a volatile, megalomaniac reality show producer somehow got elected to lead the world’s most powerful country.

While the world watches in fascination—and revulsion—as the run-up to the 2016 Presidential election unfolds, seven billion people can only hope and pray that Americans will do the right thing on November 8th.

If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?
— Donald J. Trump (Twitter, 2015 – later deleted)

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