Saturday, 21 January 2017

Donald Trump era begins: How to make sense of it

Donald Trump is now the 45th president of the United States.

The country he will oversee is, to him, a dark and troubled place. In his first speech as its president, he described a tragedy of “mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape”. With a promise to end this “American carnage”, he built up to his signature applause line: “Together, we will make America strong again. We'll make America wealthy again. We'll make America proud again. We'll make America safe again. And yes, together we'll make America great again.”

As Trump’s election as president in itself makes plain, America is indeed undergoing an excruciatingly painful reinvention. We cannot yet know where it will lead, and making sense of it will be no easy task. The last time America was this confused and disturbed, it spawned a whole cultural project dedicated to simply conveying the reality of what was happening.

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