By Ewart Walters
Trump… with a Silver Lining
Second Witch: Fillet of a fenny snake
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg and howlet’s wing
For a charm of powerful trouble
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble
All: Double, double, toil and trouble
Fire burn and cauldron bubble. – Macbeth Act IV, Scene 1.
There is an old song about Lola that speaks caressingly about her ability to get what she wants. “Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets,” it says, as it bubbles softly with mystery, enticement and allure.
In the case of Donald Trump, the words are the same, but enticement and allure are replaced by menace and the ruthless, vainglorious authoritarianism that only the super-rich could muster. A man who doesn’t have to care about the rules because, if it comes to that, he can buy his way out of trouble as he did, finally, with the students who sued him for the failures of his Trump “University.” A man whose Trump Casino, built in the midst of poverty in Atlantic City, did absolutely nothing to uplift the lives of the squalor and decrepitude surrounding it. A man whose star power and enormous wealth makes him believe he can do anything he wants. Just listen:
“… And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. … Grab them by the p***y. You can do anything.”
And yet, he finally settled that lawsuit because he is beginning to recognize the role and burden of the presidency. Failing in his attempt to get the trial date delayed until after he is sworn in, he decided to do something he had sworn on the campaign trail he would not do, and settle the suit. As he gets closer and closer to the White House, he also seems to be pulling back from a number of the wild position he uttered on the hustings and which garnered wide support from voters.
So we continue to waste our time if we try to predict what President Trump will do once he is sworn into office. The portents are not good. His declarations on climate change up to now, for instance, are still based on enriching the 1%, the 99% be damned. But exactly what his presidency will do to or for America and the rest of the world is still anyone’s guess.
The thing is as he himself has said. It is not the achievement but the chase that drives him. He will pull out all the stops, spray the place with endless repeated lies, slurs and accusations – damn the torpedoes and the devil take the hindmost – to chase whatever it is that he thinks he wants. He sees the presidency not as something he can use to help people in need, but as a challenge to his ego. Once he gets there, however, it could be another story altogether. Could he now aspire to be the greatest President the US ever had? That chase would not be beyond his imagination or his grasp. We will see.
In the process, however, Trump opened the Pandora’s Box of hatred and racist contagion that has spread its contamination far and wide beyond the US borders. Witness what happened at synagogue, church and mosque in Ottawa the third week of November. It is not as if spray-painting of swastikas and “nigger” had not happened here before. It did. And tombstones in a Jewish cemetery had been overturned too. But we had seen that darkness rolled back. We were walking in the light.
Then came the man who got famous for saying, “You’re fired!” Trump and his acolytes. Like Corey Lewandowski and the suave Jeffrey Lord. Like the three women who remind us so much of Macbeth’s witches, the three whose names begin with K – Katrina Pierson, Kayleigh McEnany, and Kellyanne Conway, along with Scottie Nell Hughes as top witch Hecate. The persons who confronted every truth they saw and beat it down to death. The stinking, lying brew they all stirred up over the past year and a half is a venomous contagion that even Shakespeare could not imagine.
Yes, we are in a bad space.
And yet, it is also a good space. For it opens easier paths to opportunities.
Opportunities for Canada’s political parties to pull back from the neo-liberal Washington Consensus that has so vastly ignored the poor. Opportunities for the citizens of Ottawa in all their multiracial glory to stand and applaud when a Rabbi says, “This is the real Ottawa.” Opportunities to stand, pray and applaud in solidarity with and imam and with a United Church Minister who calls us to prevent the normalization of racism and hate. Opportunities to savour and reinforce Canadian values such as Multiculturalism. Opportunities for us to remind our governments of issues and policies that need re-visiting, strengthening and reinforcement. Opportunities for us to push for Black inclusion at every level. Opportunities to encourage our young people into seeking and holding political office. Opportunities to pull together.
Coming so shortly after the police killing of Ottawa’s Abdirahman Abdi and the continued failure of the system through its agent the SIU, the Trump successful election campaign has had the unintended consequence of pulling Ottawa’s disparate Black communities together in UNITY.
Yes, every cloud has a silver lining. Indeed!