At 11:00 a.m. on Aug. 2, a Trump rally took place at the Briar Woods High School gym in Virginia.
It was a hot, steamy summer day of over 36 degrees Celsius, but the crowd who could not yet enter made a 500-meter line. I would say there were around 1,500 people, demonstrating amazing passion. There were voices from one side. About 30 students, who looked of high school or college age, were holding signs and protesting, “Trump is a Fascist.” Among them, there was a Muslim student holding a sign, “Do I look like a terrorist?” The interesting part was the 50 or so Trump supporters who ran over to argue with them.
“Why do you guys support a liar like Hillary?” “Oh my God, then is what Trump saying normal?” “Do you guys read the Washington Post or watch CNN every day?” “Umm, you can’t say that when you can’t even maintain the Republican Party.”
I slapped my knee; in their conversation were all the fundamentals of this presidential election campaign. It is not “Trump versus Hillary” or “Republicans versus Democrats,” but “Trump supporters versus anti-Trumps.” Like it or not, Trump is personally responsible for it. Also, this is a very vulgar competition of “who is the better of the two liars.”
A memorable simile was made by Nicholas Kristof, a columnist for The New York Times: “If Clinton declares that she didn’t chop down a cherry tree, that might mean that she actually used a chainsaw to cut it down. Or that she ordered an aide to chop it down. As for Trump, he will insist, ‘I absolutely did not chop down that cherry tree,’ even as he clutches the ax with which he chopped it down moments earlier on Facebook Live.” Neither of them are any better than the other.
The American press is as vulgar as the candidates. I already knew that they tended to support candidates who fit their political ideology, but I did not know they are so openly biased, lacking integrity and even wit. I was shocked to see a CNN anchor shaming a Trump supporter on TV, telling them, “You should be ashamed.” There was a major scandalous accusation that erupted against Clinton, which would make you think, “Ah, game over for her,” but articles related to the scandal were not even on their list. Even though I also have doubts about Donald Trump, The New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN don’t seem like “press” to me, but more so “warriors” of the “war against Trump” alongside Hillary Clinton.
Another shocker was Bernie Sanders. The one who called for social democracy shouted, “It’s the end of society when one percent controls the other 99 percent,”* and then went off to buy a $600,000 mansion at a resort right after the end of U.S. presidential candidate race. He has three houses, including the one he just bought. I ask myself, “Were the lower and middle class voters really so passionate toward the calls of this type of socialist?”
Maybe this is the American political culture. But candidates acting hypocritically, press throwing around “justice” based on their own standards, and voters measuring not between promised policies but between who is the “lesser liar” … this is not normal at all. It is definitely not something we should learn. There is no reason for Korean politics to be considered any worse than this. I plan to continue to examine the scenes of the U.S. presidential election in future articles.
*Editor’s Note: This quote, though accurately translated, could not be verified.