January, 20th 2017. Washington D.C.! Donald J. Trump is on the verge of becoming the 45th president of the United States of America. Barack H. Obama is standing behind him while President Trump is giving his inauguration speech. God knows what is going through Obama’s mind at this time. Eight years of work and either, Donald Trump is going to reap the fruits of the work the Obama administration has done under the most difficult of circumstances, or, the reforms are going to go out of the window because Trump is going to undo what Obama had implemented. I cannot speak for the American people and I believe that every democracy has its own right to elect the leaders it wants. But speaking as a European, that inauguration was different - very different indeed.
Are We Talking About the Same Country?
I listened carefully to the speech President Trump was giving. I almost had the impression that the country he was talking about did not just survived the worst economic crisis in the latter years and despite the circumstances, jobs have been created. Two years ago, I visited New York. It has been the first visit to the USA in my life. And I was excited. The country really seemed to buy into the changes Obama proclaimed. Changes we take for granted in Austria, like an affordable state health insurance for instance or measures to cover the big unemployment rate.
For the first time ever, a movement that had begun with Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat in a bus, seemed to end with an Afroamerican president in Barack H. Obama. From a European perspective, the USA and Europe have gotten closer together. Barack Obama bridged so many gaps and was always looking for the unifying rather than the disruptive element. A game changing nuclear deal with Iran has been agreed upon. Health care became affordable and same sex marriage is now a constitutional right. Not bad for eight years of administration, right?
Changing the Game
Along comes Donald Trump. And everything changes. People are protesting on the streets, and the world is worried. We are worried because no-one really knows what Donald Trump is about to do, not even he himself. How is he going to react when North Korea is going to provoke? What about the relationships to Russia, the EU, Mexico or China? What about the nuclear deal with Iran? Donald Trump asked for all the power while not knowing what to do with it. The next four years are going to decide how the superpower USA is going to position itself.
Rage & Protest
You have got to reap what you sow, they say. Over the last year, Donald Trump did nothing but provoke. Yes, he won an election with it, but now? The country is deeply divided, the international community is confused and the people are on the streets protesting. We live in post-factual times and Donald Trump is a perfect example for that. Feelings become more important than actual facts. But when feelings subside, all there is left are the naked facts. And the facts do not support anything of what Trump is saying substantially. His rage and his temper provoked the protests. And finding a way to unify the country behind him, seems impossible …