I know what I am supposed to think.
Obama had class. Trump is a fascist nut. Brexit was stupid. And Merkel is a homophobe for being personally opposed to gay marriage. But sue me – because I don’t agree with any of these statements.
I guess I have always had a predilection for thinking about things myself. And to my surprise, I find myself swimming against the current on all of these issues. I liked Obama when he was elected – but, wow, so much hype, so little substance. I think if I were British I would also not want Belgians running my day-to-day life. And I personally don’t find anything offensive about liberal heroine, Angela Merkel, saying that she believes in the traditional view of marriage.
My generation will have to decide what a country is for…
Recently a group of students at the Berkeley division of the University of California started rioting in protest against a public speech on campus due to be given by pro-Trump journalist, the provocative and very strange Milo Yiannopoulos of Breitbart News.
He was unable to give his speech and now much controversy ensues about the ideal of free speech at academic institutions.
And if anybody had any further doubts about his appeal, despite him winning the election fairly comfortably, all you had to do was look on Facebook after his victory.
While scrolling through all the angst, one quickly realises that all the mourning of liberals was a big part of the motivation for Rust Belt Americans to vote Trump – they wanted to annoy the social justice warriors; they wanted to poke their fingers in the eyes of the elite – just as middle England flouted the expertise of London and Brussels when they took Britain out of the EU.
Growing up, my family never bothered about Halloween. But we saw it on the movies, and slowly it bled into our own culture – to the point that my boys will be trick or treating with the neighbourhood kids on Monday.
There’s not a lot of enthusiasm for it amongst South African adults, though. Some bemoan it as another vulgar Americanism, others as some kind of satanic infiltration.
I can certainly understand the complaint about Halloween being yet another example of trashy American culture. A lot of how we view Halloween comes from horror films or TV shows. It just seems like a macabre, sugary waste of time. In that sense, it is a bit similar to modern Christmas. You buy stuff and get tired. But like Christmas, there’s a kernel of great, even holy, meaning in this strange festival that is still worth celebrating.
The sins of Donald Trump are obvious.
He seems to lack integrity, personal morality, and good character. (As Hillary noted, however, he has somehow managed to raise successful and balanced kids who have good families.)
But here’s the thing: You can be the nicest person in the world and be a rotten president. In fact, being ‘nice’ is often dangerous – you’re more likely to start wars to save the world thinking you’re doing good – thus unleashing all the demons and chaos of conflict.
Yes, Trump does seem to exclude himself from leadership by virtue of his sleaziness and basic indecency. This is not a surprise – very few casino owners are virtuous citizens.
The Washington Post recently released a video recording Trump saying the most disgusting things about women. I won’t repeat them here.
To be honest, despite his overtly despicable public persona, I have always been a little bit sympathetic to Trump.
His scrambling of the right wing orthodoxy in the US is something the Republicans do need in the shadow of the Bush years – particularly his vocal opposition to the foreign wars that have dominated US foreign policy since the first President Bush, right through the Clinton, second Bush, and Obama presidencies.
I have a bit of a thing for the Kennedys. I think JFK and Bobby probably saved the world by beating back nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
I probably know more than is strictly healthy about the JFK assassination. And I think American and global politics would have been massively better had Bobby himself not been killed in 1968, probably on his way to becoming president.
Yes, I know there was a very dark side to them too, but I still think some of the mythology was true.
It is an intriguing coincidence that when one watches the news these days, the images coming from the US are almost exactly the same as those coming from South Africa.
What’s more, both have a hashtag at the heart of the burning, looting, and rioting – namely #BlackLivesMatter for the US, and #FeesMustFall for South Africa.
Is it a coincidence?
I don’t think so.
I think the movements stem from the same social force, brought to life by similar social conditions.