We Must Resist the Trump Culture – Here's How
Brandon Sun, January 23, 2017 - David McConkeySo, we are now officially in the Trump era. And that means it is time for a Trump culture resistance!
Why should Canadians even care about the new U.S. president? Well: the U.S. has a big impact on Canada. And: Trump is reshaping world culture.
You can already see the Trump effect in Canada. Look (if you dare!) at the federal Conservative leadership race. Some candidates openly emulate Trump. One candidate even smiled and nodded as the crowd he was addressing at the Alberta legislature chanted about Premier Rachel Notley: “Lock her up!”
So resist the Trump culture we must. Here are five thoughts about a Trump culture resistance:
Trump’s gleeful fans are gloating that Trump is dumbing down global culture.
Trump enthusiast and “Dilbert” cartoonist Scott Adams was one of the first pundits to predict that Trump would win. Adams heralds Trump as a “master persuader” and a clown genius.
Adams points out that before Trump we could never imagine a U.S. president who “ignored facts, science, and even common decency.” Adams concludes that Trump will change forever “how we view reality” and “humanity’s sense of identity.”
Trump adviser Newt Gingrich praises Trump as an entertainer who, even while president, will continue as executive producer of The Celebrity Apprentice. Gingrich applauds the Trump presidency as a "huge TV show called ‘Leading the World'."
Let’s pause and reflect on the enormity of this mess. The world’s most powerful country has put a celebrity clown in charge. Reality is now reality TV.
So our first priority is to reject our demotion to passive spectator, and to take back our role as engaged global citizen.
The year 2016 has been labelled as the year the feminist bubble burst. So women have a big challenge in reasserting a feminist vision for this century.
But the challenge for men is perhaps more crucial. Boys are now growing up with Trump as a role model of the uber male: bullying, simple-minded and misogynistic.
But Trump is not really the self-assured “real man.” He is more the insecure “con man”: ever fearful of being exposed as having “small hands.” Sad!
Men! We need to define a masculinity for today: confident, contemplative and considerate. Let’s update the traditional ideal of the “gentleman.”
Books help us appreciate the complexities of our world. Deep reading and deep thinking take on a new importance in the simplistic shallowness of the Trump era. So let’s develop reading list suggestions for individuals, book clubs, schools, colleges and more.
There are great new non-fiction books like Yuval Harari’s Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. And there are the classics, including fiction. George Orwell’s novel 1984 is newly appropriate for today’s post-truth world. Remember the Orwellian “Ministry of Truth,” “newspeak” and “doublethink”?
And let’s take a break from books sometimes and watch thought-provoking films. Idiocracy, anyone? In 2006, it was released as a comedy. Today it is viewed as a documentary!
FROM RUSSIA WITH?
With the new reality of Russia and the Putin-Trump bromance, we are going to be learning some Russian. The word of the day: kompromat.
We can also learn from Russian critics of the Putin regime. One is Garry Kasparov, the chess grandmaster, public intellectual and political dissident. Another Putin opponent is the Russian feminist punk rock group Pussy Riot, which practises political protest as performance art.
With the rise of Trump in the U.S. and right-wing nationalist parties in Europe, Canada has a new global profile standing against this tide.
Canadian values? Think of human rights, internationalism, immigration, multiculturalism, free trade, gender equality, reproductive rights, climate change action and marijuana legalization. Plus, we are just so darned nice and optimistic! As a recent article in the Canadian magazine The Walrus points out, “We are the last cheerful nation.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is emerging as the sunny alternative to the darkness of Trump. Like Trump, Trudeau is charismatic and media savvy. Luckily, Trudeau uses his super powers for good!
But we must be careful that we Canadians don’t become like – you know – those conceited Americans and Europeans! So, yes, the headline of that article in The Walrus is a bit over-the-top: Canadians are Better than Other People!
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