When democracy serves entertainment

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday  banning refugees and travellers of certain nationalities from the US. The countries affected are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday banning refugees and travellers of certain nationalities from the US. The countries affected are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia

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Given that Trump is now president the horror is all too real. How could this even have possibly occurred in the first place? A man who has been overtly racist, sexist, moronic and puffed up with Promethean pride has yet managed to become leader of the free world after a campaign trail that somehow miraculously involved the Russians.

To quote the late gonzo genius Hunter S Thompson, who wrote like a true God-fearing prophet in such works as The Great Shark Hunt, the “thrust is no longer for ‘change’ or ‘progress’ or ‘revolution’ but merely to escape, to live on the far perimeter of a world that might have been.”

OK, crooked Hillary was a cog in the corrupt establishment wheel who also seems like an unlikely candidate to instaniate a more equal world order. But let us also acknowledge that we did not have to end with an apocalyptic choice between the lesser of two evils. Trump may just about nose the moral victory if only because he is not constitutionally able to deliver the kind of Machiavellian subterfuge of career politicians and well-heeled philanthropist pharisees such as Hillary. This does not mean that his ascendancy is not a total disaster unless this man can be heavily policed by most authoritarian political advisers who can gently take the reins when he is not looking and carry on regardless on important matters of policy.

I say this because Trump is quite manifestly a businessman to his very core, and therefore a man obsessed by profit and self-interest given the billionaire property empire he has built himself. He chooses to serve Mammon rather than God and the truth is that one cannot coherently do both. He lacks political acumen and nuanced understanding of the manifold issues he will be called to decide upon. He also outrages basic human decency when he speaks of his great border wall, his blind, broadbrush distaste for Muslims entering the country until such times as ‘appropriate vetting mechanisms are in place’, and let us not forget his easy sexism that is always excused as attitudinal swagger. Diplomats are naturally uneasy at how Trump will struggle to amend his ongoing foot in mouth disease. Though the man possesses huge optimism about making America great again (whatever this means or amounts to nobody yet knows) the empty patter of patriotism he espouses cannot save anyone from the mire. We need action and fast.

We need to move forwards together with hope and even if we find Trump to be a total cretin or a wolf in sheep’s clothing, changes to US legislation are finally decided upon by the House of Representatives. Things are not totally lost if we remember that Trump will be at the head of an elaborate democratic machine so that important matters of foreign or domestic policy will never be solely his responsibility to decide. Trump may not be the kind of man rational democrats would most like to see wielding so much power and glory, but the people have spoken and the bread and circuses philosophy seems to rule; people love performance and charm, even if it is possessed by someone dangerously unsuited to political office.

Hillary was unfortunately always going to seem dull and vapid while the Donald Trump Show in all its ghastliness was charging ahead at full throttle on the campaign trail, managing to make outrage, bigotry and right wing inanity bizarrely appealing to an angry and disenfranchised electorate.