Power to the peo­ple

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY PANTELIS BOUKALAS

There is no such thing as an easy start. For the so-called or­di­nary peo­ple of this world, and for the lead­ers who are equipped with the mod­er­a­tion that comes from the read­ing of his­tory, the be­gin­ning of ev­ery se­ri­ous ef­fort is ex­cep­tion­ally hard: new and rel­a­tively un­known ter­ri­tory, a new role, and new peo­ple (on your side as well as against you). When it comes to Don­ald Trump, Amer­ica’s 45th pres­i­dent, and his self-con­fi­dence that has evolved into a con­stant and an­noy­ing dis­play of self-love, noth­ing seems too hard. Not even the high­est and most com­pli­cated of­fice on earth. When Trump vows that ev­ery­thing will go ac­cord- ing to plan be­cause God is on his side, it is not be­cause he is guided by some form of di­vine prov­i­dence. Af­ter all, the God-bless-Amer­ica mantra is as shal­low from a the­o­log­i­cal and re­li­gious point of view as our own cer­tainty that “God is Greek.” Trump is rather in­spired, first, by his un­shak­able con­fi­dence in his own mirac­u­lous or re­source­ful self and, sec­ond, by his bil­lion­aire cab­i­net, a team of good Chris­tians who are so deeply mired in po­lit­i­cal and busi­ness en­tan­gle­ments as to be best suited to clamp­ing down on cor­rup­tion and help­ing their na­tion’s ple­beian pop­u­la­tion. The only peo­ple who seem to ap­pre­ci­ate the new pres­i­dent’s pur­port­edly Chris­tian an­tics are Greece’s re­li­gious right, who are hav­ing vi­sions of Trump at­tend­ing a re­li­gious ser­vice in­side Istanbul’s Ha­gia Sophia when they are not dream­ing of him restor­ing the Byzan­tine Em­pire, with the help of Rus­sia’s Vladimir Putin, of course. This en­thu­si­asm for Trump can only be matched by the en­thu­si­asm ev­i­denced dur­ing the week­end gath­er­ing of mem­bers of Euro­pean right-wing par­ties in Koblenz, Ger­many. Ma­rine Le Pen, leader of France’s Na­tional Front party, pushed con­cern about Trump a step fur­ther as she went on to pro­claim that “we are liv­ing through the end of one world and the birth of an­other.” In his di­vi­sive state­ments, Trump has of­ten vowed to give power back to the peo­ple. It must be the only time that there is some truth to the cliche, al­though not in the way the Amer­i­can pres­i­dent would have it. The mas­sive protests in the wake of his swear­ing-in cer­e­mony as all distressed so­cial groups voiced their fear and de­ter­mi­na­tion did not sig­nify the re­turn of power to the peo­ple. How­ever, they showed that the re­jects of Trump’s new world, of his big-again, white, male, in­tol­er­ant, pa­tri­otic Amer­ica, they too have a voice and they too have rights – and the will to de­fend them. At some point, even Trump will have to re­al­ize that a TV re­al­ity show is one thing, while so­cial and his­tor­i­cal re­al­ity is quite an­other.

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