- 04 Mar 16
In a climate where anger Is plentiful but constructive solutions rarely offered, maybe we need the stability and clear-headedness of consensus politics...
Waking to a bright blue sky and a glistening carpet of snow in Colorado, the maddening strife of home seems far away, the General Election results a mere smudge on the skyline. From the vantage point of Sentinel Rock in the Flatirons, looking east towards Kansas where the earth curves before you, all human endeavour seems insubstantial, transient.
These huge and ancient rock formations were there before we came and will be there when we are gone. Here be beautiful and vast landscapes that truly merit that much-abused word “awesome”. But there’s no such thing as paradise. Even here, dark clouds loom. The sheriff has been to the local school to ensure that everyone knows what to do if there’s a lockdown ordered. Meanwhile, children openly discuss the prospect of exile should Donald Trump be elected as the next President of the USA, in November. Ah yes, Trump. Like Silvio Berlusconi before him, he’s a populist billionaire buffoon. But for all his awfulness, Berlusconi had a rascal charm – whereas Trump is rude, charmless and ignorant. He’s a carnival huckster, a barker, a bully. But that’s precisely why he’s on a roll. He gives expression to the worst of America. Think Beavis and Butthead in combed–over middle age. And he could indeed be the next President of the United States. It is deeply dispiriting.
Europeans are mostly horrified. Yet they also see his rise as part of a global phenomenon in which electorates across the world are turning to outsider candidates on both the right and the left. Look at what has happened in Ireland. Voters have had enough of elites, we’re told. They want a new kind of politics, we’re told.