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God, democracy and Trump

To the Jacobeans, a monarch was appointed by, and thus got their power directly from, God. A king's authority derived directly from religion; to the Jacobean mind, a king sat directly below God. Yet the idea of a leader being elected by the people negates any need for god. Democracy is therefore atheistic: a leader gets power from the people, not god. Why is America so religious, then? And why is the role of president apparently becoming more and more kingly? The american revolutionaries thought that a country should be ruled for the people, by the people; yet the president seems to currently be worshipped like a monarch, by some at least. Trump especially seems to think he has been created king, regularly refers to God in his speeches, and seems to think he should be venerated.

It strikes me as odd that a country which was apparently created to escape the rule of a monarch should now effectively have created it's own. And a country which has religious freedom written into it's constitution should now be so insanely christian that some of it's citizens have began to dispute the fact that the world is spherical. Americans prise their democracy, yet the notion of democracy is fundamentally atheistic. Would that not contradict America's increasing - and increasingly worrying - religiosity? To me, this seems a fundamental paradox at the heart of the modern american state: it seems to yearn for a king, a central autocrat in charge of everything and capable of putting everything right.

Of course, this only applies to certain americans. Others see trump for the joke he is. Reading Michael Wolff's book it is becoming clear just how fucked up the situation is over there: the nation is being lead by a man who is essentially a child, capable of only the most simplistic thought processes and driven by basic gut reactions. Most educated americans, including many Republicans, realise how farcical the situation is; yet Trump is being presented to working class americans as a kind of everyman ruler - someone outside of the university-educated bourgeois currently branded as a type of elite. Thus Trump is simultaneously a king and an everyman, an once an 'ordinary Joe' and an all powerful executive, citing God and deriving power from him. Through this charade he is becoming increasingly worshipped by ultra-conservative fundamentalists, whose numbers and influence are rising. It has reached the point where Trump supporters believe his word over any other source of information, even when faced with undeniable evidence. Anyone who criticises Trump is automatically viewed as an enemy; the president's word taken by his supporters as sacrosanct. Mainstream Media is thus 'fake news', unfairly criticising a great president.

What worries me is where all this is headed. Others have noted the increasing parallels between trump and the European fascist movements of the thirties. There too we saw men purporting to represent ordinary, working class people gradually taking more and more power until they became dictators. While I doubt Trump personally has the intellect to achieve such a status, as I wrote yesterday, there are powers behind his throne whom I suspect would love to get their hands on such an all-powerful puppet. Reactionary conservatism combined with religious fanaticism is a heady mix which leaves the door open to strong authoritarian figures, eager to grab - or be used to grab - more and more power until, before you know it, it's too late. Either way, I very much doubt this was what the American founding fathers had in mind.


[Edited 19/01/2018 at 15:41:00 - Added a bit ]
[Edited 19/01/2018 at 19:13:24 - added a bit]

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