The Troll Who Became King
I’ve stayed far away from most news coverage, especially of Amercan politics, because I believe the rules of the internet also apply irl: don’t feed the troll. It thrives on all attention, on all opposition. We’ve had and have several populist (closest I come to a category for him) leaders. They serve well as a voice of protest, to shake up a staid establishment. They are the Voice of the People, not the rational voice, but “onderbuikgevoelens”, what lives in people’s guts, in their ids. Often ugliness and discontent that shouldn’t be followed blindly, but should be known, and taken into account.
They make destructive leaders. People ruled by their complaints and selfish desires aren’t happy people.
But dammit, now one took the US by storm, and he’s a, no, the world leader, the most powerful man in the Western world, which has a stranglehold on the whole globe, so. And, what is often forgotten, the president affects the world as much as he does the country he rules.
I thought I had it bad, being powerless to prevent it, hating it. Turns out I had it easy, as an observer rather than a participant. Being just a few steps removed.
Still. The Troll is king, and his sheer presence will turn our communities toxic if we don’t moderate them. After all, we’ve lived in the age of the internet. And it doesn’t matter if you’re American or not. He’s too powerful for that.
So let’s make some predictions and see how we can work to counter them.
1. He’ll start a war, likely in the Middle East. It’d make it easier to control people, critics, media, and give him more power and opportunities to push through whatever he wants.
2. He’ll make scapegoats, working with existing prejudice and racism. Which group he’ll target first is anybody’s guess. Muslims and/or Hispanics seem likely, to be profiled as either the cause of violence, war or poverty.
3. He’ll create distractions, i.e.make a lot of pomp and circumstance about championing fast and easy laws that are conservative crowd-pleasers. Think tax cuts and anti-abortion laws. This is likely where the most danger for women’s rights and people with a non-het sexuality lies.
4. He’ll appeal to Christians, so silencing those who would oppose him. Already seen in the fact that most will not comment beyond “Whoever is president, God is King.”
Potential avenues of opposition:
1. Local and state level government. I may be wrong, but it seems like most laws and productive government actually happens at state level these days? Might be enough to prevent some discrimination where you live.
2. Humanitarian organisations and ministry. He’s going to make some people, somewhere, suffer. Let’s prevent what we can and help the rest. And c’mon fellow Christians, even if you believe this is a dark time or even end times, are you really gonna let God catch you sitting on your hands? Let’s get cracking.
3. Trolling the troll. Since he’s out in the open and supposed to be legit now, this is totally the time for a counteroffensive, i.e. attention on social media, poking holes in bullshit arguments for wars. Who knows. Trying to govern a country eventually wrecked the coalition that included the most prominent Dutch populist. It’s just gonna be a long game.
And yeah, none of these are new, I know, but my point is: we’re not powerless. Nor can we get much done alone. These are group efforts, so.
Now to actually see what I can do.
P.S. and…. like I almost did, do not forget to account for the danger and hate he represents. I am white, I am Christian, and I feel distinctly unsafe every time I see his face. I can’t begin to understand the impact his presence has on most, either as a trigger for fear or an accellarent to hate. Several teachers I’ve spoken to describe how many children they needed to comfort, either because “the bully won, why?” or real fears of having family and friends taken away in the near future.
So step 1. Get me some friggin humility and real information.