“A dream is a wish your heart makes, when you’re fast asleep.” I’m not sure which Disney movie this comes from (Cinderella), but it has recently been repeating itself in my head.
Actually, I dreamt I slept through the entire month of August and woke up in September. The world did not change much, but there seemed to be less stress in the air for some reason.
Many things had stayed the same. The Blue Jays were not headed to the World Series, the preliminary hearing was still under attack, the summer days had ended at amazing speed, but something was different. Suddenly, it struck me. I had gone an entire month without hearing anything about Donald Trump. There were no daily unpresidential tweets. Perhaps the media found something else to write about. The Russian sabotage of the United States election, the daily account of presidential lies, the crude attacks on those who fell out of favour, the continuous whining about what Hillary got away with, the family denials of knowledge about anything and the self-clapping narcissism had all gone silent. It had to be a dream. It was!
I began to realize that every day since his election Donald Trump has saturated the news and we continue to tune in, feeding the beast, if you will.
The press, I fear, risks becoming shrill and ignored, like the little boy who cried wolf. When there is an egregious and dangerous mistake that Trump makes, it may be ignored, not only by those who voted for him but by all of us. While the media persists in dissecting and criticizing every “Trumpism,” a hint of sympathy may creep in and encourage his behaviour.
I think many take comfort in the fact that the office is bigger than the man and the gold curtains will come down at some point.
At this point, however, Trump’s image is overshadowing America. The world is waking from its own slumber and realizing the administration in Washington is unpredictable at best and likely unreliable.
The election of President Emmanuel Macron in France in many ways may be a demonstration of the rejection of careless nationalism as promoted by Trump. The rise of China in world affairs, even as a broker in the North Korean crisis, is in many respects a response to Trump’s chest thumping.
The apparent determination of many countries in the world to ignore him and forge ahead on the effects of climate change and form new trading alliances in the face of “America First” policies is historically monumental.
Nevertheless, on a cautionary note, self-interest is Donald Trump’s mantra and this position is seemingly spreading around the world.
A microcosm of this can be seen in Canada’s relations with the United States. Our government lobbies strategically, almost seemingly in spite of him, in whispers of diplomacy. World leaders shake his hand, but they do not embrace him; indeed, the lack of trust seems palpable. Positioning is the new order of the day.
One senses that the world is holding its breath in anticipation that we will get through this phase and, at some point, a new form of Camelot will return to Washington.
But the world dare not slumber because there are serious crises waiting to explode while we play hide and seek with Trump’s administration.
Poland is facing an enormous crisis, threatening the erosion of the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. Venezuela is on the brink of chaos. North Korea is taunting the world with a threat of nuclear weapons and images of stomping foot soldiers, seemingly marching to some confrontation. Britain is faced with re-inventing itself to find its place in Europe while the European Union is building a new world order without the West.
Russia is expanding its global influence led by someone previously seen as a strutting KGB thug but now apparently welcomed by world leaders who ignore his interference with Russia’s sovereign neighbours such as Ukraine. The Middle East continues to smolder on the verge of a massive explosion on the West Bank.
Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the Philippines and Turkey all offer unique and regional problems that the world cannot ignore. China has clearly become the most powerful, influential and puzzling country on the planet. The entire world remains on a terrorism alert.
In these scenarios, the United States of America seems to be taking a back seat. It is losing its influence because it seems to have lost its integrity as a solid partner.
Problems of the world seem less important to Americans, led by this inhabitant of the White House.
It makes you want to go to sleep. The problem is, we need to do just the opposite: Wake up!