Here ye! Here ye! A proclamation from our neighbors to the South. It is declared that one Donald Trump has won the candidacy to represent the Republican National Party. Elections will be held in November, 2016, for the presidency of these 50 States of America. Sincerely, the US of A.
In case you have been inhabiting a cave for the last year or so, then you are aware of Donald Trump’s campaign to become the Republican candidate for the 2016 American presidential elections. Rest assured, however, that if you have you are in good company. Jon Stewart has also been hiding from politics in the last year since retiring from his position as a late night talk show host. His surprise is abundantly clear.
Video of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert:
Unbelievably, the crazy and colorful character that is Donald Trump appeals to a small margin of the American people. This demographic composed primarily of Caucasian men and women long for what some refer to as the “glory days” of the United States. It’s important here to note that the “glory days” for one ethnic population are vastly different from the “glory days” of countless ethnic minorities living in the USA. Yet, these conservatives eagerly await the election of Donald Trump to office and hope that this republican presidential candidate will succeed in turning back the hands of time and reliving the golden age of American history. His slogan “Make America Great Again” is a monument to the misconception that electing a political right wing candidate will prompt a time machine to transport the American people to an earlier decade of American life.
Despite the direction you may think this article is going in, I assure you that this is not a political statement. On the contrary, what you’re about to read is a critical evaluation of the idea to “Make America Great Again” in an ever globalized world. In fact, Donald Trump’s rise in popularity screams an inconvenient truth about globalization that has been swept under the rug until now: there’s no going back.
Simply put, globalization is the process of increasing international connections between the earth’s inhabitants through advancements in transportation and communication. Although human civilizations have always been in contact throughout human history, the industrial revolution sky rocketed the development of these connections. With globalization comes the idea of human and societal evolution as well. One can only learn to identify the traits and characteristics that are unique to one’s culture upon meeting a new culture for the first time. Therefore, contact between cultures is imperative for it’s evolution.
Anthropologist, Roger Bastide, considered the process of acculturation, that is to say when two cultures meet and adopt qualities from one another, into two distinct categories: the material element and the formal element. First, the material refers to objects and services in a community, such as consumer objects, traditions, language and so on. On the other hand, the formal element represents the psyche of the culture, which embodies all thoughts, beliefs, and values held by a society. These two dimensions live in harmony, for example, the Bible represents a material object that channels a formal belief and code of values.
Now, imagine American culture as two straight lines, one for the material elements, one for the formal elements of society. If Donald Trump wants to “Make America Great Again”, whatever his definition of “great” is, he only has the capacity to travel back in time and reposition himself on the material line. Objects can change, but they’re raison d’être is to manifest the will of the Formal line. No matter how convincing Trump’s sermons of prejudice may be, the American people have travelled too far ahead down the Formal road to ever match up with the fixed point Trump is trying to revert back to on the Material line. In the last half century, American culture has evolved to advocate equal pay for women, find acceptance in LGTBQ persons, protest against racist behaviours, and address human rights violations,! No time machine can make these values disappear. There’s no going back.
America once represented a land where people could build new lives. It has often been called a melting pot because of the abundant cultural exchanges between immigrants that have learned to called the United States home. The melting pot analogy is more true now then it has ever been before. As people and cultures immigrated to the USA, the flavour of the dish has changed and grown richer. Donald Trump and his wave of supporters are proof that globalization has transformed American culture beyond the point of no return. One cannot simply aspire to change the flavour of the soup by removing all of the tomatoes. Such a feat will only lead to red stains and a mess to clean.
Here ye! Here ye! Good people of the United States, heed these words: unless Donald Trump has a time machine the size of North America, making “America Great Again” is an impossible feat. Perhaps a better campaign strategy would be to look to the future, instead of the past, for inspiration and strive to “Make America Even Greater” than it has ever been before. Your move, America.