The day after America’s 2016 presidential election results was announced, the leading daily newspaper, Kompas, published a series of articles on the newly-elected president—one which was an opinion collumn by a political observer. I skim-read it for a few minutes, as I was supposed to be doing media monitoring for several clients, but I did notice some interesting points that he highlighted—that the America Trump just inherited is a divided nation. I could not agree more with him on this point. It is not as simple as who is becoming the president, but rather on the nation that selected him/her. We noticed how Trump campaigned his cause—an exclusively isolated nation free out of so-called ‘intruders’ that builds walls agains all forms of things regarded as ‘aliens’. For me, it is not just a matter of a campaign to support a narrow-minded and opportunistic president candidate, but rather a campaign of hatred on all things people are unfamiliarized with. Trump had succeded, in both inheriting the states, and in the process of it designing a massive arc in America’s new chapter—a war within and outside of his inheritance boundaries.
A few days later, Tempo published their weekly magazine. What surprised me was the fact that they did not publish a special edition focusing on Trump’s victory—something I much anticipated for because of their extremely critical news feature tendency. What did not surprise me were their strong stance on America’s new number-one person in its editorial, and of course, Goenawan Mohamad’s Catatan Pinggir that always acts as both a second editorial in the magazine and its founder’s weekly personal collumn. The first one was mediocre—pretty much what everyone will find in any other media’s editorial on that day, depicting Trump as the ‘big bad wolf’ that corrupted the entire world by spreading his hatred through his global corporations. The second one, though, was a bit interesting as it always were with Goenawan Mohamad’s other essays. GM pointed out a strong point in his collumn—that the populism view spreading throughout the world right now, that had been a decisive factor in supporting Trump’s victory, was in fact shortsighted.
In the essay titled as “Trump”, GM explained how trump’s victory came to be. He briefly narrated the states’ disease that keeps on relapsing once every few decades—all rooted in the nation’s inability to minimize the gap in their people’s wellfare, and also strong vision backed by their liberal view that says everyone can become rich. The states constantly exclaims to their people and the entire world that the ones living in America are the rich and yet-to-be-rich people. But the gap never got shorthened, and if anything, got even wider that the lower half became handicapped of their cultural knowledge to see the world as it is—a mix of unorganized cultural products. Everything that did not go alongside with American dreams is now dubbed as the aliens’ fault—a modern version of conservatism, GM said. And the people in the lower half of prosperity level hope, by backing Trump up and shooing the foreign elements, that they can be pure once again and together walk towards equalized wellfare. Well it will not go that way. The pattern showed us that liberalism will not advance anywhere—there will always be a huge gap in American society that cannot be bridged, and the dream carried by the less-prospered community will remain as a dream. They had chosen to see the world as a dark place and keep their dreams alive while closing the curtains.
Some of the news I found pointed out another interesting point—-that this will be the end of America’s reign. That argument reminded me to a discussion I shared with my summer couse class in SOAS. We were having a session with “The Rise of China” as our theme and Mark Laffey as the conveying professor. What we discussed was mainly on how China had gotten stronger in the South that if they wanted to, they can build their own international governance system around Southern nations with them in the center of it. One of the questions thrown into our discussion was “When will America’s reign end?” I came up with the most logical answer I thought back then—when they make a fatal mistake international community cannot ignore. But is it really as simple as that?
The answer is it is not. World had been governed by America for over decades and it had established well-formed systems in the current reign as well. All states had found themselves some ways to achieve benefits alongside the spread of liberalism campaigns throughout the world—and they had intended to keep it so for the next few hundred years. A Donald Trump and his views would not be able to change that. If anything, other national figures would swallow their disrespectful thoughts of the newbie in the hotseat, and greet him with heartwarming smiles. The governance system would be more well-built and there would not be anything happening in the world, except for the now-isolated states of America.
The saddest part in all of these commotions happening all around welcoming him into the seat was that America actually tried their best to suppress the stereotypical view of them from other parts of the world. For my whole life, I had been taught that Americans are racists who love to stereotype and give their own judgement towards every other nations—-that is the truth, folks, the brainwashing and pretend plays just do not work anymore on so-called developing nations. And yet my views were completely shattered when I got to experience the real America with some American girls this summer. I walked around some states, literally, and found myself to be enjoying the environment, culture, and most of all its people. Oftentimes I would just go by myself in the morning to explore the city, including New York, and had found a mixture of people from different races helping me along the way—like they did not even notice that I was the only hijab-wearing girl around. The welcoming atmosphere was just so intense that I then became interested in coming back into the nation again for a master degree. Now the intention is broken due to the states’ suddenly relapsed disease. I shifted my master degree plan to Asia and Europe, and I bet I am not the only one out there who did so. America is just not as great again—pun intended.
As GM said, Trump is just an overaching symptom. But the undeniably worrisome truth is the nation that has great educational institutions, notable scientists, and great forms of art and literature, was in fact can easily fall down and become a frog with incurable fever that stays under a shell. But do, please, struggle once more to break the stereotypes, America.