It is easy to blame the messenger.
It’s much harder to take a step back and look at who sent him.
There are so many ways in which I could hate Trump (in which we all could) and critique him for his many foibles and completely unacceptable behavior. Many of us can agree that he is not someone we would want near us nor our children, let alone to run one of the most powerful countries in the world.
But I think we need to dig a little bit deeper rather than blaming the poster child here—Trump surely represents something much larger: he is the manifestation of a culture that is sick and in need of healing.
This is the very society that many of us partake in every day.
I feel that the real issue is that Trump’s success has little to do with him, but everything to do with us. How else could such a volatile individual make it so far in the political arena, if not from our own hands? We may not totally have seen that we were holding space for this kind of leader to emerge, but just because we have not been conscious of our contributions to the kind of energy he thrives on, it does not mean we have not played our own active part—truthfully, each one of us has.
We have contributed with our cultural love of sensationalism, of our sexist beliefs and of our knowing more about icons on TV series then of our own political candidates or environment. I believe that we as a society bought, promoted and have seen to the success of Trump through the way in which we choose to live every day—here’s why:
North America’s economic model is based on private ownership and profit—the outcome of which is that there becomes only a few individuals at the top prospering and holding the purse strings for others. This creates a power dynamic and a huge gap between the rich and the poor.
Trump has obviously capitalized hugely off this system. Because the interesting thing in capitalism is that it works on our ability for sales and Trump is extremely marketable. He has become a national sensation by building himself up as a brand.
Trump is for sale—and even if we don’t think we have bought him, we have.
How many of us watched his Hollywood lifestyle so often on the screen? How we have engaged in the very things he has promoted, such as beauty pageants, reality T.V. and the idea that more is better.
I believe that it is through the lens of capitalism that Trump has been able to convince many of us (the less affluent individuals in America) that by voting for him, we too could rise to the top. But we must remember, capitalism only works for a few of us, and the rest become pons of a greater machine of production.
Trump’s success is proof that patriarchy (a cultural and sociopolitical system that favors the male gender) is still alive and thriving in our own backyards. This is a system that works behind the scenes of society and leads to the disempowerment of women and children. It is why sexual harassment still occurs and is regularly overlooked.
We need to wonder about why the sexual allegations against Trump are coming into the limelight now—why did society not stop him from doing these things at the time they were afflicted? How did he continue to get away with the sexism he displays and wields without being taken down much earlier on?
Why do we allow men to do inappropriate things to females? Because, our society still favors men, and prior to Trump’s political campaigns, no one really seemed to care—we all watched his TV shows and stayed at his hotels.
If patriarchy was not still subordinating the women of our culture, we would have never stood for Trump to be a contender for presidency.
I know it seems simple to throw insults at a man who puts his foot in his mouth at every turn, but we must look at the agendas in our own environment that have allowed him to get where he is. It is not about Trump as an individual, but about the systems we still support daily in our society—ones that demoralize us, keep us struggling and scared, and generate a mindset that gives permission for all that allows Trump to thrive.
Author: Sarah Norrad
Image: Brad at Flickr
Editor: Renée Picard