The End Of An Era

Notice : The following piece is purely opinion and was written with the intention to articulate my thoughts on the Trump presidency.

The 2020 presidential election undoubtedly generated an incredible amount of enthusiasm among Americans. Although some would contend that it is not yet over, the outcome, at present seems quite clear ; Joe Biden will be the 46th president of the United States of America. For some, Biden is a career politician with a mostly hollow track-record of various futile political exploits, in contrast with others, who are satisfied simply in knowing that he is not Donald Trump. It is also obvious that, while at the ballot box, many voters were compelled by rationality to make the so-called “lesser of two evils” decision. When one party is attempting to re-elect a person you have been perpetually told embodies Satan himself, and the other a half-senile but still rather nice looking septuagenarian, it can certainly prove a troublesome pick.

In retrospect, the Trump era was definitely an eventful one. After his election in 2016, traditional (but still very influential) cable news networks commenced an arguably unending cycle of improper and biased coverage of his administration. Such reprehensible coverage often went unnoticed since these networks were more or less ideologically aligned with the viewers they attracted. Though others frequently decried such coverage and demanded its cessation – with reasonable grounds – its effects actually played a major role in creating a type of new media. Also, moderate liberals and conservatives seemed to have formed an unheard-of relationship over the topic of media bias. One need only look to the IDW (Intellectual Dark Web) to behold this remarkable counteraction.

Another interesting aspect of the Trump era was how the person of Trump was, in a public way, made into a target for casting unchecked hostility. Not to say that Trump wasn’t deserving of criticism, but that a large portion of the unfavorable opinion about him was based on preconceived moral judgements of his character rather than rational assessments of his specific decisions and views. This became obvious to me whenever I happened to say his name while in the company of certain people. Some folks humorously refereed to this phycological reaction as the symptoms of a condition called Trump-Derangement-Syndrome. Merely uttering the name “Trump”, depending on the situation, sometimes had the capacity to transform a room full of smiling benevolent spirits into a den of insoluble uncomfortableness.

So, what about those who maintained a favorable view of Trump? It seems, initially, that Trump was able to garner a considerable amount of political popularity simply by adopting the campaign theme “Make America Great Again.” This slogan evidently conveyed a very timely sentiment, one that resonated almost perfectly with the views of many Americans. MAGA was an incredibly optimistic social vision with a central objective of fostering national regeneration. Americans were fed up with sleezy and cunning politicians running the show, they fancied someone who would represent them. Ultimately, this message is what won him the presidency.

But now we find ourselves in 2020. A pandemic is running its course, political polarization has reached an unmanageable stage, and Joe Biden will be our next President. God willing, we will all survive these next 4 years. Ad meliora!

Dylan Shetler is a freelancing self-taught writer and Christian apologist. He owns and operates his personal blog The Onlookers Publication: onlookers.news.

17 Comments

  1. Wonderful post; great writing. I always do enjoy your usage of a wide-variety of words.
    I wasn’t ever a “Trump fan” as you might say, but I would have preferred him over Joe Biden. And I will say that, I have my opinions on why so many people disliked our 45th president…But a very big reason, in my personal opinion, was that Donald Trump was very outspoken. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I can be an extremely outspoken person, at times. But the thing is, our culture (and whole world, for that matter) is becoming less and less patient, and more and more easily-offended. We don’t like hearing that we’re wrong, or that it’s different than what we thought. Thus, a huge reason why I {personally} think that so many, many people disliked Donald Trump.
    Anyways, sorry for that random thought…I’ve just been contemplating that recently and thought, Why not share….
    So, yep. Have a lovely day. Please keep up the good work. 🙂
    -Keziah

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate the praise! You make a very solid point. I never thought of Trump as a very “presidential” man, particularly because he lacked many of the character qualities of his predecessors. However, I don’t think this made Trump an overall “bad” President (as some have said), it just meant that he had other qualities. He was extremely outspoken, as you mentioned, a behavioral trait that distinguished him from other politicians. Then there is the perspective that he never intended to emulate politicians.

      I also agree with you that some people are “easily-offended.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Right. I definitely agree with you…And people need to realize that nobody is perfect. We can vote all we want, but we’ll never, ever get a perfect president, no matter how hard we look. And that’s something I think a lot of people fail to realize…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The last sentence in the first paragraph made me laugh so loud! But, kidding aside, I think it’s really dangerous to vote for the “lesser of the two evils”. It’s not a responsible or mature way to vote, and voters such as those had best keep their pens in the pockets.
    Very good article! You highlighted some pretty incendiary points without getting too deep into them. That’s a wonderful technique to cultivate. And I agree with Keziah! It amazes me how you can speak with so much eloquence!😂
    Makayla

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great point! I’m glad you found my opinion to be humorous and eloquently expressed.

      Unfortunately the “lesser of two evils” decision appears to be a common one. Depending on one’s political biases, voting “responsibly” could mean a variety of things.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I believe that the Trump presidency taught us a great deal about the state of American politics. Only a candidate as polarizing and unconventional as Trump could have revealed these longstanding tensions.

    Trump was something of an agent of chaos when it came to the status quo. He shed light on the media’s storied heritage of left-wing bias. Something that even Barry Goldwater noticed back in his 1964 presidential campaign, but for decades had been set side as inconsequential concern.

    He also unmasked the true nature of the invested interests inside the government. Some would refer to these unelected gangs of bureaucrats as the “deep-state”. Personally, I hate the term. It conjures images of tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy peddlers. Nevertheless , there is clearly an unelected governing body that exerts tremendous influence over executive decision- making. A magnifying glass was placed on this fact through his constant battles and disputes with various department leaders.

    I also would surmise he demonstrated that people are tired of the two-party system. Trump is not your run-of-the-mill card carrying Republican. His stance on immigration and trade mirrors much of the paleoconservative rhetoric exposited by Pat Buchanan back in the 1990s. Stepping away from the neoliberalism that previously was a fixture of Republican trade policy. Making him a departure from the Reaganite tradition. Then again, the times have changed and the people were looking for a change. The roots of the populous Trumpian Righr dates back to late-2000s. The advent of the Tea Party movement. The 2008 and 2012 candidacies of Ron Paul ( a “Republican”with strong paleoconservative/ libertarian convictions). Both should have been a hint the days of the country club Republican were numbered.

    Even on the left, you have more radical candidates that would be better suited as a Green Party members, utilizing the structure of the DNC as a vehicle for advancing environmental socialism. Arguably operating as a countermeasure to Trump. The DNC is starting to take on more characteristics of left-wing populism in the same way the GOP has adopted right-wing populism (at least for the time being). Both displaying the cracks in the foundation of standard GOP and DNC platform.

    Above all, Trump showed us few people are guided by reason. Most repudiation of Trump were character-based rather than criticisms of policy. Typically were shouted in absent-minded hysteria. His diehard supporters weren’t much better. Both sides of this hyper-polarized divided operated on a linear in-put / out-put sequence.

    Never Trumpers= (Stimuli: Trump) (Reaction)He’s Satan. He can do no right. If you agree with him at all you must be a Nazi.

    The unwavering MAGA hat crowd: (Stimuli:Trump) (Reaction)He can do no wrong. If you don’t like him then you can leave this country. What are you a commie?

    Neither reaction is based on analysis of facts and represent nothing more than a visceral reaction. Analogous to an semi-involuntary reaction. While the left suffers from “Trump Derangement Syndrome” his uncritical supporters suffer from “Trump Distortion Syndrome”. The man isn’t infallible ,no one is. To pretend like is the greatest political leader of all time is equally as flawed as equating him to Hitler. The man hasn’t brought forth utopia nor has he committed mass genocide. Both of these extremes are profoundly perverse and inaccurate. It circles back to the unfortunate fact that the American voter is not well informed, rather they opt to vote wherever their passions lead them. As you have previously discussed , this is very dangerous.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You make a few major points. I would also add that those who suffer from “Trump Distortion Syndrome” view the President as a type of political savior. But a savior, traditionally speaking, must be wholly infallible. For lack of better words, die-hard Trump enthusiasts seem to find themselves regularly defending an immoral Jesus.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It didn’t even occur to me to think of Trump as an imperfect political savior. That is an absolutely brilliant breakthrough!! Almost a surrogate spiritual savior extending from the strong need for divine prophets in an increasingly secularized world.

        While I am personally not religious. I can see some of the conspicuous dangers of a wholly secular society. Without religion / spirituality there seems to be a void of sorts in society. What we generally choose to fill in that void is typically quite pernicious. For instance, the fervent aggrandizement of the state in socialism ( real Soviet Union-style Socialism).

        This veneration of political candidates is symptomatic of this societal vacuum. This probably why I have never completely sided with the Atheists. While we need reason, it is not enough to steer the ship. The misapplication of reason can lead to some ghastly situations. For instance, much of the scientific racism that was exalted through the Progressive Era. Much of the justification for forced sterilization and eugenics came from an abuse of “reason” with no moral bulwarks to stifle these abhorrent innovations.

        We need science and we need reason. However, without moral constraints it can lead down some dark roads. Clearly, ideology is in a similar boat. Separating ideology from reason and morality can only lead to discord.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Superb! You have certainly expanded my thought.

    It seems to me that reason and morality (in the Western sense) are analogous to the eastern philosophical concept of yin and yang. Reason and morality are, in a very striking way, complementary forces. Social decay might be regarded as the outgrowth of a disturbed culture. When a cultural imbalance arises as a consequence of the predominance of either yin (chaos) or yang (order), it is not atypical for the cosmos to figure out a way to rectify it. Put differently, Trump could be thought of as the most recent cosmic push for cultural rectification.

    My criticism of atheism lies in its remarkable inconsistency. Dostoyevsky once wrote ; if God does not exist “then everything is permitted.” If you effectively invalidate God, then what justifies any decision thereafter to employ moral behavior? That is the contradictory nature of atheists that bewilders me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I can certainly see the validity in your yin and yang hypothesis. Trump being our proverbial trickster (in the mythological sense) was the one to expose this precarious balance.

    It takes someone who subverts conventional norms to display the “naked reality”. For those who subscribe to Simulation Theory of Reality (personal I don’t ) an agent of chaos that exposes a glitch in the “Matrix”.
    While reality might not be a simulation, much of it is contrived. People attempting to manipulate perception to create an image. These false veneers for reality are nothing more than a puppet show. The credulous observer is nothing more than one of the prisoners in Plato’s Allegory of The Cave. Passively accepting the status quo with little in the way of cognitive restlessness.

    The Trump presidency revealed many glitches in the “Matrix”. To the careful observer ,it brought us out the cave and into light. Why? Because we now see that societal stability is razor thin. Due to the unfortunate raise of division and faction in this country. It lifted the illusion that is popularly held that our moral values were satisfactory. At the end of the day, our false sense of security never anticipates crises or the discord of populism ( on both sides of the aisle). Nor does anyone want to admit that they are less than morally sublime. The beauty of having such a brash disrupter all the pretenses of sophistry wash away. Due to the fact all the pageantry and other nonsense is visible in plain sight.

    Certainly expand upon the ying and yang hypothesis.

    I can see your point/ Dostoyevsky‘s point about Atheism. The problem becomes ( pardon me, if I am misinterpreting his statement or taking too much artistic license here) were do yo derive your morals from if not a divine source? Obviously we see where unconstrained reason gets us. How do we act morally? How do we devise moral limits without any sort of guidance ?

    Like

    1. The Matrix analogy is definitely another reliable way to think about the Trump presidency. I suppose that the “glitches” refer to the suppressed/ignored elements of reality. We can’t afford to be selective about which aspects of reality we choose to acknowledge, otherwise undesirable problems are bound to arise when we least expect it. The political puppet show operated by our elitists has long involved ignoring reality. It took Trump to shake up, so to speak, the comforting delusions of the elites. Borders, the outsourcing of manufacturing, political correctness, etc. All of these once constituted taboo discussions before Trump broke the ice.

      Your points on Plato’s Allegory of The Cave are fabulous. Unfortunately, I will have to get back to you later on the yin/yang hypothesis (it’s a series of thoughts not yet entirely formulated). Additionally, I want to respond in more depth concerning Dostoyevsky’s points on morality. It is a very intriguing and meaningful area of intellectual investigation.

      Alas, I have to sign off for the weekend.

      Duty calls,

      -Dylan

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dostoyevsky’s criticism of atheism was based on the presumption that if God did not exist then practicing morality was meaningless. If atheists sincerely believed that God was non-existent, then what inner-force persisted to compel them to exert moral conduct? One answer might be that humans are equipped with the capacity to invent their own values, and that atheists happen to utilize this capacity. However, this notion assumes that humans are the rulers of their own houses, which runs counter to the biblical principle of “original sin.” In essence, according to Dostoyevsky, the moral atheist is none other than an undeclared believer. Doesn’t one exteriorize in behavior what they genuinely believe? Again, this argument defines belief as a state of being rather than something merely professed.

        Forgive me, I’ll have to address the yin/yang hypothesis later. Hopefully, for now, this better explains Dostoyevsky’s points about atheism and morality.

        Liked by 1 person

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