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Saturday, 5 November 2016

Next week the United States choose the most powerful leader in the world... and the world watches in shock & awe and sheer bewilderment about the farce currently going on around the White House.

“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled...
was to convince the world he didn’t exist”

There are two truisms in the world, when it comes to the United States:
  • The president of the United States is considered to be the most powerful man (or woman) in the world;
  • The American people choose the American president through their national elections.

While these two truisms have been the truth for almost a century, these were seldomly so regretted by many people as in the year 2016.  

While presidential candidates for the United States have more often been controversial (for instance John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan or George ‘Dubya’ Bush to name a few), seldomly the world has experienced the total shock & awe and sheer bewilderment that the current presidential candidates and the accompanying smear campaign in the United States have brought during the last 15 months.

For many Europeans, their main acquaintance with Donald Trump was the American televised series The Apprentice, in which Trump could choose a ‘successor’ for his business empire. 

In this series Trump was harsh, noisy and very direct (or rude) to his candidates – or should they be called his slaves(?) – but it was innocent television for people, who did not want to tire themselves with interesting documentaries or thorough interviews about subjects that really mattered; there was really nothing to worry about.

Now, however, there is a considerable chance that this man, with seemingly the diplomatic skills of a hippopotamus and the political cunningness of a slug, will be elected to become the most powerful man in the world. A man, who already alienated Mexicans, Muslims, Democrats, African-Americans, Koreans, Chinese, Hispanics and almost every other minority and interest group in the United States and far, far beyond.

Trump is the hero of the poor and derailed, white former blue collar worker and 21st Century unemployed. He is extremely rich and extremely ignorant, a pathological liar and firebrand and – on top of that – somebody who does not pay his share in taxes himself, but leaves that for the working class alone.

But nevertheless, Trump is someone who gained massive popularity by bluntly calling the political elites in Washington for what they are: not good for the country and for the American people, as they only pursue their own political and economic interests and those of their rich and important sponsors.

And that is the reason that Trump – in spite of himself and his often erratic behaviour – gets the confidence vote from a large share of the impoverished and desperate, white American people, who saw their jobs and their future disappear to the low wage countries around the world. People, who remained in poverty during and after the crisis, without a dot on the horizon to navigate to: Trump promises them to bring their industrial jobs back from the low wage countries... a promise which he won’t be able to keep, I’m afraid.

As a matter of fact, Trump is the symbolic ‘grim reaper’ of American politics: the definitive, living proof that the American democratic system is ages past its ‘best before’-date. To put it bluntly: the American political landscape is perhaps already in a comatose state, of which it might not revive anymore... 

This is due to an utterly divided country in every sense of the word, years and years of bi-partisan warfare between the Democrats and the GOP, which totally paralyzed the country, and the ubiquitous sell-out of American politics to the highest, corporate bidder.

That would not be a huge problem for the rest of the world – a rest that has its own domestic quarrels and economic problems to solve – when this possible president Donald Trump would not have his finger on the trigger of the thousands of nuclear warheads, that still remain in the possession of the United States. This possible president Trump could be the spark to an emerging (cold/hot) war between the USA and Russia or China, silently fired up by the NATO, which has a secret agenda of expansion-at-any-price in order to survive its own redundancy.

What makes Donald Trump very dangerous to these eyes, is not that he is a bad person per sé: one could for instance call the Russian president Vladimir Putin ‘a cold, unscrupulous and shrewd snake’ with a clear political agenda and a whole encyclopedia full of intelligence tricks and this person is totally right. Nevertheless, Vladimir Putin is intelligent and quite predictable on the other hand and he knows when he goes too far to contain a political situation. Putin won’t scr*w up too much, in order to prevent from an all-out global war of Russia with the United States and the NATO.

However, Donald Trump is totally unexperienced and unpredictable – I think he is not far removed from being a narcisistic lunatic – and he utterly misses the political skills and diplomatic antennas to keep his foreign policy on track and not alienate the whole world (f.i. China, the European Union and Russia, as well as the Americas) against the United States.

And the worst part is: Donald Trump is only half of the problem of these elections!

Hillary Clinton started the presidential campaign as a governmentally seasoned and seemingly decent woman (!) with a ‘presidential bonus’ from her husband and former president Bill Clinton, as well as years and years of useful political experience. Now, at the end of her campaign, she has shown the world that:
  • It was no problem whatsoever for her to bring her campaign down to the same gloomy level of mud throwing and below-the-belt clinching as Donald Trump did in his campaign;
  • She didn’t scare away from playing every dirty trick ‘in the book’ to slaughter the very decent, liberal and seemingly utterly civilized Democrat Bernie Sanders;
  • She seems to be on the leash of big, corporate America (i.e. “Wall Street” & “Silicon Valley”), as well as some of the superwealthy Americans, who want to do everything in the interest of their country, except for paying their (moral) tax dues;
  • Consequently, her soothing words about fairness, compassion and solidarity between the different ethnic and economic groups in the United States sound increasingly hollow and implausible;
  • During her time as Secretary of State she had a dangerous disdain for the most basic form of security and secretness, that inevitably comes with her utterly important and responsible job (i.e. “Emailgate”).

Taking all this into consideration, one must conclude that Hillary Clinton’s political star faded quicker than the flash of a cheap flare. What remains is the bitter feeling that Hillary Clinton is just as bad and sickeningly vicious as Donald Trump.

And then it comes to the Million Dollar Question of these presidential elections:

Who do you trust more with your expensive car (i.e. the country and the world – EL)? The lunatic driver, who is boasting on his abilities to drink-and-drive and evade all the traffic rules?! Or the clumsy, slightly mean old lady, who will probably forget your car keys in an overcrowded bar, loaded with people of ill repute?!”

You probably know the answer to this question: ‘Does it really matter?!’ 

And that is exactly the painful feeling that I have – as a Dutchman and a European – in the eve of the presidential elections in the United States.

In The Netherlands – which arguably could be called the 51st state of the United States in its uncritical, almost blind adoration of everything American – the people have been haunted night after night by:
  1. Dozens of documentaries about both candidates Trump and Clinton, as well as about the American elections and the USA in general;
  2. Thorough reports of ALL the political events regarding the elections in the two years before this event;
  3. All the American political manure poured over every involved political candidate;
  4. And last, but not least:  ALL the debates and battles, from the early preliminaries until the candidates last aired political breath on the night before the election.

To put it mildly, I really wonder whether the last elections in Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom – our most important trade partners by lightyears – combinedly(!) got one-tenth of the media attention and airplay that the American elections get in The Netherlands. And for what?!

 “What does it matter who is elected in the White House, when both candidates seem a crossbreed of Beavis, Butthead, Eric Cartman, Dopey the Dwarf and Cruella de Ville. And how desperate must the Americans be, when they accept that the presidential elections cost their country north of $3 billion and in the end they become stuck with THESE two candidates from hell.”

When I pondered about the implications of these oncoming American elections, I thought that it would be really nice and sensible when the most important democratic politician in the world would be elected by the whole western world, instead of the Americans alone.

Sounds like a stupid idea?! Yes, normally it would!

But now, I feel worried by the dubious level of both presidential candidates in the United States.

I hope that they know and understand that they have an obligation towards my wife, my children and my children’s children, as well as towards the billions of other people and children in the rest of the world: the obligation not to scr*w up bigtime.

This is something that I entrust Vladimir Putin with, in spite of everything that I dislike about him. But will Hillary and Donald also have this capability?! I am not too sure yet!

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