The United States. February. I’m walking the streets of a dirty, sloppy, neglectful New York; its many brutalized tramps are rummaging through the garbage. On one side, the homeless who sleep in doorways, and on the other, the ever growing presence of Chinese bric-a-brac stores which are replacing the shops that used to sell useful and necessary items. A triumph of the superfluous. A sparkling return to infantile spells. The good citizens who are struggling to earn a living and respect their fellow man are out of fashion. They have been replaced by robust bullies, always at the ready to cut the enemy in two as they brandish light-up swords and open their fabric wings to fly from one roof to another. Reality is transformed as if by spectacular magic into an eternal cartoon. And what character is more cartoony than Donald Trump? Whose very name seems invented explicitly to “trumpet” new and astonishing truths. Often the president’s speeches have the simplistic sound of a trumpet heralding great spectacular events. It appears that in the morning, the trumpeter rises early and races to declare his truths via, paradoxically, the chirping of Twitter. He surprises and terrifies his very own collaborators with the nonchalance with which he attacks the press: “They tell only lies, we must take action,” attacking the judiciary as “a gang of politicized morons,” attacking intellectuals, actors, teachers, students, and anyone who does not think like him.*
Universities seem to boil over with indignation. Teachers and students don’t believe his high-flown promises and descend to the streets to challenge him. They openly criticize his racist views and economic plans: tax cuts for manufacturers, cutting medical care for the poor, cutting investment for public schools, cutting the preservation and defense of territory, and yet there are fabulous new investments for the army, favoritism for private schools, disregard for environmental concerns and disregard for women and their professions. In short, a drastic practice of rabid conservatism, and whoever is not on board gets insulted daily. Many are hoping for impeachment based on his relations with the Russian intelligence service, which may have helped in discrediting his adversary Clinton. But it’s not as easy as that. Many hopes are placed in the force of a bottom-up democracy that will oppose, firmly but without violence, this new circus-like populism.
*Editor’s note: These quoted passages, although accurately translated, could not be precisely verified.