Nowhere to go

Like most people, I want to move on from the US election. Wanting and doing are two different things, though. For the past two elections, a man I considered qualified and more or less well-intentioned got the big job. Even when Canada elected Steven Harper (twice), it was irritating but ignorable.

Donald will make sure no-one ignores him for the next 48 months, or (heaven forbid) the next 96. He knows how to be compelling. For him, knowing how to govern is secondary to that drama.

Facets of what has happened in the election keep surfacing and clarifying themselves. More and more, the sheer flow of events is just too much in these times, and that affected how people voted.

Once, a nation elected a leader to lead the nation that had elected him. There was some interaction with the rest of the world, and wars did happen. But barring armed conflict or massive tragedies, the leader served his or her time, and then went off to write a self-exculpatory memoir.

Now, a leader is just one piece on a global chessboard, the US president more than others. Constrained by a half-dozen wars, an economy that’s past its best-before date, and a technological tsunami that won’t stop advancing, he can only react. “Leading” isn’t much of an option unless he wants to start a new war or two. He will enact some harsh legislation, but even there he will face huge opposition, much of it from his own disaffected party.

I like a line from my first post: “Get yourself elected, and once sworn in, you’re on a toboggan ride down a slalom course with no idea if you’ll end it with your country and half the planet intact.” That’s smugly alarmist, but fair. The very notion of leadership is in question. And where would a President lead us, anyway, when the current world-order is falling apart? Stumbling through history is the best he could do, as history veers from one previously obscure location and its accompanying crisis to the next one. And then another.

Which all makes more sense of why Donald got the job. People are just too scared of everything, and they want someone who seems strong enough to make it all go away.

So, I wonder what will happen when people see he hasn’t managed this, and can’t do it, while those smart-pants elite people are all insisting things are actually worse? And that they sound increasingly like they might be right?

What could the next move be?

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