Donald Trump has just been elected the next President of the United States. No one took his candidacy seriously, not the press, not the pollsters, not the pundits. Yet the reality is that a wealthy white guy with the temperament of a toddler, the intelligence of a nine-year old, and the maturity of Biff Tannen, is now America’s Commander-in-Chief. What the hell happened?
On the micro-level, there is plenty of blame to go around, from an inept corporate media to the cowardly Democratic Party leadership to a general failure to accurately read the mood of the nation by just about everyone, yet I am looking at this from a macro-level here, and at that level it becomes easier to understand Trump and his followers.
I think humanity is in the midst of global change, a tectonic shift in thinking that will dramatically altar our future as a species. It is the birth of a new paradigm (or, some might argue, the rebirth of a very old one) and, like all births, it is and will be painful. My sense is that we are experiencing the dying stages of patriarchal society, and the very early moments of egalitarianism on planet earth.
We look around us today, watch the news, and see a planet boiling over with war, violence, hate, fear and intolerance. Rebellion, terrorism and ideological battles are being fought everywhere you turn, from the Middle East to Western Europe to North and South America. Yes, every fight has a particular story behind it, but on the macro scale, we are witnessing a battle for survival between the old and new worlds, the system of patriarchy dating back many thousands of years, and egalitarianism, a new model where, as Dr. Martin Luther King envisioned, a person will not be judged by the color of their skin (or sex or sexual orientation) but by the content of their character.
As an American, I don’t have to look far to find evidence of humanity’s war with itself in this year’s presidential election. Donald Trump (and other conservative leaders around the world) represents a last gasp of the dying patriarchy, a final attempt to hold back progress, to stick one’s finger in the failing dam’s crack, before progress sweeps us all into the future. White men, who have held the reins of power for centuries, know their time is coming to an end, and they are doing everything in their power to prolong their station at the top of the ladder.
As dismal as this day is, I do believe we humans are moving forward and that our consciousness is maturing and moving in a positive direction, but we will continue to meet resistance. From the American Revolution to the French Revolution to Russia and beyond, the world struggled mightily to end monarchy and rule by birthright and replace it with rule by the people. It’s been messy and filled with failed efforts, but the trajectory has always been the same. We will experience those same fits and starts on a global scale as we move to a more egalitarian society. It is always a process. There will be no single victory to signal success, but the momentum cannot be stopped.
It’s little comfort on this day to think of Trump’s win as merely one more obstacle on the road to a better world, but I think that is exactly what it is. We will experience more pain and lost battles in the future, but war is still humanity’s to win.