Sunday, July 28, 2019


I'd come across this old David Horsey cartoon, and it reminded me of the initial messaging of the Obama presidency. Clearly, this isn't the tack that President Trump and company have been taking. And that's at least in part to President Trump having an instinct that President Obama did not. That the fear, prejudice, anger and resentment that Mr. Horsey casts as people's security blankets are an integral part of who they are, and giving them up without attaining satisfaction for the perceived wrongs that birthed them feels like losing.

President Trump is often cast as a racist because he's clearly taken sides in respect to racial tensions in the United States, but I think that he's always alert to resentments and prejudices as tools that he can use. When the President tweeted: “Sweden has let our African American Community down in the United States,” it was cast as a cynical ploy, born of the idea that Black voters were gullible enough to fall for it. But I think that President Trump has learned to connect with people through their resentments. And while his political base prevents him from attempting to connect with Black voters by validating any resentments they may have over domestic injustices, citizens of Sweden aren't a part of that base. Accordingly, the President is free to seek connection on the basis that ASAP Rocky is being mistreated by racist Swedes. And I suspect that he'll do the same wherever he believes that there is political or economic advantage to be gained.

But President Trump is not new in this. He may do so more openly than prior politicians, but seeking friendship (however ephemeral) by casting oneself as the enemy of someone's enemy is an old game in politics. And as long as people define themselves, at least in part, by who their enemies are (in other words, forever), the path to power that is offered will remain attractive.

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