Trump, a super size Berlusconi for the USA, that’s a worry
While the election of Donald Trump has redrawn the parameters of global politics and, like other events of recent times, represents uncertainty, and a serious questioning of societal status quo, I don’t believe that the world will alter that radically under the term of the 45th US President. However, his election may result in a change in the role and status of the US in world affairs. Many feel that Trump as President will dumb down and demean that office, however, we shouldn’t forget the fact that the world survived the presidential terms of both a ham actor and, more recently, a warmongering puppet for the oil industry!
Frankly, neither of the 2016 candidates were ideal for high office. Clinton had her go against Obama in 2008 and failed miserably. The Democratic Party were seriously misguided in running her again.
Recent decades have witnessed a slow, inexorable move in a direction which brought us to politics in 2016. 25 years of globalisation and especially the austerity years which ensured since the crash of 2008 has led to a tightening of the noose for the masses. Those who were middle class saw themselves squeezed and their circumstances straitened. Goods and property, taken for granted as being reachable by those on middle incomes for generations, have become pipedreams. In virtually every Western country the rich are claiming more and more of GDP and the US is no different in this regard. Alongside all this, a new super elite has emerged globally. The masses seek a new, anti-establishment voice, whether this comes in the form of Trump, Corbyn, Brexit, Syriza or our own mish mash of left wing groupings. Quite why vast swathes of blue collar workers would feel that a multi-billionaire would provide a panacea for their ills is a little strange but his hubris sounded different. That was enough.
Trump’s election isn’t as unprecedented as it may seem. We’ve seen the same situation, not that long ago, in Italy because, in reality Trump is a super-size Silvio Berlusconi for the USA. The parallels are striking. Someone whose entering politics in the first place was viewed with mirth. Both men are cut from precisely the same cloth; bling billionaire media moguls with big, crass personalities, even larger egos, questionable business and tax practices and a penchant for a particular type of woman. They both boast questionable hair styles and a tendency for so-called “gaffes” in the form of egotistical bombast, and lurid sexist, racist and homophobic remarks.
Berlusconi dominated Italian politics for almost 20 years and was the country’s third longest serving leader. America’s lesson is that for far too long he was viewed as a joke and a buffoon. By the time he finally left office in 2011 nobody was laughing. Berlusconi’s era had a deeply damaging impact on Italy’s body politic and democracy and these wounds remain. Trump too has shifted the terms of political discourse, campaigning and organisation. As with the Berlusconi era, things will never be the same again.
Aussies first to show up mainstream
Much is being made about the voice of the American people speaking out and electing the person the mainstream media deemed to be unelectable.
However, neither the USA Trump nor the British Brexit phenomena was the first of its kind. Nor was Australia’s One Nation.
In recent history, the first time the people came out and opposed the media, big business and the elite was with the Australian Republic Referendum of 1999.
At that time there was hardly a media organ not promoting a republic. Just as now, big business and corporate executives poured money into the Republican campaign. Political parties supported a republic and there were undoubtedly more Coalition politicians throughout Australia who were republican than monarchist.
And yet the people voted and overwhelmingly supported the constitutional monarchy. An institution they trusted implicitly to guard their constitutional freedoms against political intrusion.
It was a landslide with the equivalent of 72% of the then electorates voting to reject a republic.
However, a warning to the Brexiteers, despite the crushing rejection of Australian republicans, they have continued to campaign for a fresh referendum ever since and it seems possible that they will get their way sometime in the future. This is particularly so, when one considers that the heads of all Federal and State governments are openly republican.
However, the Australian Monarchist League is not unduly worried about a future referendum, only about the processes that a republican prime minister may implement.
Donald shouldn’t duck the promises
How did we get President-elect Donald Trump? For years both political parties were busy making promises but had no intention of keeping them. It took a mob-mentality man to wake us up. That’s how we got President-elect Donald Trump. I pray he listens to the voters who got him elected and I pray he makes an all-out effort to deliver on his many promises.
Root and branch reform, let’s see
Well, oh well,.. I’ll be doggone.
Chauncey Gardiner has finally made it to the Holy-Grail garden of 1600, Pennsylvania Avenue.
As he might wisely opine himself :- “In the garden, growth has its seasons. First comes Spring and Summer, but then we have Fall and Winter. And then we get Spring and Summer again.”
Such profound insights aptly befit his new role as ‘head-gardener’ of the Free-World. It’s reassuring to know that the global enterprise is in safe hands. Just a bit of pruning here and there, and let the natural geopolitical seasons have their way. One suspects more malignant mists than mellow fruitfulness loom ahead for all and sundry.
No doubt Peter Sellers is chuckling and chortling above as he scans and purrs down on the ‘horticultural’ fantasy which has been seeded, cultivated and harvested with such frenetic fervour (and no little expense) over the past 18 months.
Reality TV has clearly won the day, with the News Corporations and Channels laughing all the way to the bank, having spun their star performer into the Oval Office. Media revenues are bursting the vaults, and all is well for the vacuous and the ‘veneereal’.
It’s been a long hard Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. Permafrosts and vicious ill-winds bedeviled all mature growth patterns with so many nasty off-shoots and toxic blights. But as Chauncey himself would say :- “As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden.”
Maith thú an fear, Chauncey...(ahem.., Donald J)
A vote costs nothing to poor, go figure
The US election result has delivered a sharp lesson to the liberal elite. The most important debate is always between the rich and the poor — not between intellectuals. Clinton is still wealthy. Trump is still wealthy. Whether Clinton or Trump was elected, a poor and unemployed person is still poor and unemployed. Those without power and privilege have diminished agency in our globalised world. A vote costs nothing. Go figure.
All the president’s men... another lie
I see that president-elect Trump has got the first big lie in, with his pledge that he would be “president for all Americans”- that’s the sort of thing you would find in a Chinese fortune cookie.
So Long, man
I am simply heartbroken, having just heard of Mr C’s passing I feel as if a member of my own family has died. Leonard Cohen has been a constant soundtrack in my adult life, giving me inspiration in times of great joy, as well as great comfort in times of sadness. His 2010 concert in Lissadell House was the most incredible musical experience of my life, as the then 78-year-old master sang his heart out in a four-hour tribute to his poetic muse, Yeats.
This tiny figure filled the stage as only a musical giant could do and held the audience spellbound as sheets of lighting flashed across Benbulbin in the rain-swept backdrop as he lead up to my all-time favourite ‘The Stranger’.
Given that the release of You Want it Darker, his last and perhaps greatness album two weeks ago was a reflection on mortality, ageing and an acceptance of death, his passing is somehow almost perfectly timed. Cohen’s interview of October 21 in The New Yorker where he said “I am ready to die, I hope it’s not too uncomfortable. That’s about it for me,” was almost prophetic as he contemplated joining Marianne Ihlen, (the inspiration for perhaps his most profound song on the sadness that accompanies great love) who died in July of this year.
Mr C, your passing will be mourned by millions in their own way. I will attend today’s Remembrance Commemoration in Kinsale with your songs of love and empathy reverberating through my mind as I remember dead family members.
He touched the soul
Some wonderfully talented individuals have graced us, with their presence on this earth. Some have even managed to touch our soul. Leonard Cohen in particular could reach your inner sanctum. His work explored religion, politics, isolation, sexuality, and personal relationships. That coal sack deep bass voice, with a quiver to it, belting out ‘Hallelujah’ in all it’s glory. Magical. My favourite Cohen song? ‘Dance Me To The End Of Love’. Just adore the tango scene from the movie Scent of a Woman. Al Pacino although blind, playing Slade leads Donna in a spectacular tango on the dance floor. Goodbye sir, goodbye... wish that you will meet your beloved Maria and “Dance Her To The End Of Love” in Heaven.