Republican Donald J. Trump, sworn in at an elaborate and colourful ceremony on January 20, was perhaps the most ‘unthinkable as President’.
In a country described by President John F.Kennedy as a ‘nation of immigrants’ he opposes immigration, dashing the dreams of millions from underdeveloped countries like India, who look up to the USA as a land of opportunity where merit alone determined their ascent and success, instead of skin colour, gender, faith or nationality.
Taking oath on the steps of the Capitol Hill as the 45th President of the United States, he declared ‘America first, Buy American and Hire American’ would be the cornerstones of his policies and action.This, it is feared, may lead to protectionism and isolation, as against globalization and free trade, both pioneered by the USA.
This means Americans, interpreted by many as the White population born on its soil, will get a preference in every matter, not merit. Thus USA becomes a country like India where dominating castes and dynasties and a patriarchal society hinder human development; status and the accident of birth determine success, with exceptions only proving the rule.
Trump belongs to the party of Abraham Lincoln who had liberated the black slaves forced into servitude because the Whites had invented the gun and yet among the groups most vocal in the protests on the inauguration day was ‘Black Lives Matter’, born after an epidemic of unarmed Afro-Americans gunned down by the White-dominated police.
“The crowds at the inauguration ceremony were almost entirely White,” a US Indian told me in a mail, though most Indian Americans voted Trump.
The acceptance speech was short and full of rhetoric and tall promises, described as “potions laced with poison”. As in the Bush vs. Gore election in 2000, the candidate who won the popular vote was not the candidate who won. He won on the the Electoral College, vote, with as many as three million more people voting against him.
In India,Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party won only 31 per cent (38.5 per cent counting partners of the National Democratic Alliance), with only 66.38 per cent of the total electorate voting. And yet he won a ‘sweeping’ victory taking 336 seats out of 543 while Indian National Congress won only 44 seats (and the UPA led by it 58) – the lowest in the history of India’s oldest party.
Both victories were attributed to polarization of the countries – between Whites and Blacks in America and Hindus and Muslims in India. In the US the less educated, poorer, blue collar, conservative Christian, White workers were disillusioned with all politics and wanted an billionaire businessman without much of administrative experience.
In India an unconventional politician, not belonging to a dynasty and experienced only in a State, who did not enter a State assembly till be became Chief Minister or Parliament till he was chosen as Prime Minister, came to power. It was because the intellectuals and educated, upper classes got disgusted with the politics of vote banks, dynasty rule and minority appeasement and
In both cases it was defeat of one a party, rather than victory of the other.
In the US there was substantial opposition to Trump from his own, Republican, party and several celebrities and intellectuals. In India the entire Opposition became one and carried out a sustained tirade against Modi.
Will Donald Trump. inexperienced, self-contradictory often, big businessman with a history of insolvency and possible tax evasion, lead America to ruin and downfall? Many Americans, till the swearing in, said he would? .
The tirade against Narendra Modi continues ata high pitch, even after overwhelming public support. The Modi regime’s half-way mark of two-and-half years showed more good than bad, while the Trump era is only days old and untested yet.
Once the electoral verdict was out, however, all the rush to immigrate to Canada, the hype about his misogyny, threats to split the country and condemnation of racialism were over. Barrack Obama said “this is not an apocalypse” and that it is time for accepting the inevitable, not for rhetoric. Philanthropist billionaire Warren Buffet, who had clashed with Trump and backed Hillary Clinton welcomed the entire Trump team. He said this would be his stand – whoever won.
It is felt that the strong institution of democracy which America had built up over decades, would be a check on Trump doing anything drastic and damaging. He deserved to be given a chance.
In the USA it is the government of America and the country comes first.
In India it does not – the dynasty is more important.