Digesting Trump. Squaring with Immigration

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First of all, digest Mr Trump the nation must. 

Digest him as in understanding what drives him.  

Otherwise we leave unprocessed the yearnings and motivations that led his followers to the absurdity of the assault on the Capitol on January the 6th and make a repeat possible.

Otherwise we leave unprocessed the ongoing attachment by a significant sector of the Republican party to a man who lacks the ability to lead.

Mr Trump can stir and inspire many people but that does not make him a leader. 

A leader is the person who can work with those they inspire to elevate them through a greater understanding of what ails the nation, not simply to play to their passions. 

If the so called leader does not do that, then they are no more than a rabble rouser. 

At the very core of what divides the nation today are immigration and inequality of opportunity.

I’ll take immigration. 

There is a reluctance in the average Trump supporter to accept that immigration is essential to our path forward.

Without immigrants from all over the world – not just from England and Ireland and Germany and Scandinavia – we would not be where we are.

It is hard for the average Trump supporter to accept that.

Without immigrants we will not have the hard edge to answer China’s challenge.

Business loudly asks for them. ‘Give me your immigrants!’ the business community says loudly to the world. ‘If you want to work hard and make something of yourself, this is where you must come!’

The average Trump supporter, fearing they may lose standing in their own land, is reluctant to endorse that call. 

Trump sensed that and said to himself, ‘this is my ticket to the White House. God knows that in all my years I’ve never done a thing for anyone in public life (a life mostly spent building hotels and golf courses for the rich and then filing timely bankruptcies) but I now see this great emotional need in Americans, so why not milk it?’ 

And people fell for it. 

Many Trump supporters realize now that something is very wrong with the man they voted for but are having trouble moving past. 

Immigration has much to do with it.

Immigration is not an easy subject. The rest of the world is also having trouble dealing with it. 

But hold on to those antipathies and gradually nations will lose their competitive edge.

Hold on to those antipathies and you lose the stimulus for renewal.

To our credit, in spite of strong nativist sentiments, America has kept its doors open to immigrants. 

Immigrants equate renewal. Renewal equates progress. 

Keep our doors open and we will have plenty of brain power to shape our future.

Close them and we will injure ourselves.

Trump could not lead because he could not build bridges. Not to other Americans, not to other nations, not to himself. Yes. Let me restate the latter. He could not build bridges to himself. If he had, he would have become an integrated man. But he did not. An integrated man is one who reflects and recognizes others may have better formed opinions than his. Trump could never do that. And thus his fundamental failing. 

An integrated man would have accepted the loss in the election and asked his supporters to accept the results, examine the mistakes made and move past.

An integrated man would have accepted that the doctors in the Center for Disease Control knew more about viruses than he did. If he had, he would probably have won the election in spite of all his failings. 

But he could not accept any of the above because he does not have an open dialogue with himself that can lead to reflection and to accepting that others may know more than him. 

Doctors at the CDC spend all their time dealing with viruses, but Trump thought he knew more than them.

But the man could tweet. Oh, yes. And degrade others. And make stuff up. Plenty of it. 

That so many Americans fell for his act and still do is something that needs to be digested. 

Processed. Understood. So we can move on.

The whole nation has to process a profoundly maladjusted leader and why we chose him in 2016.

That is on all of us. That is on the entire nation.

If we do not do the processing required, then we will repeat the same mistakes.

We cannot afford that.

China, of course, is counting on us not doing our homework. And so are all our detractors in the rest of the world.

Oscar Valdes. Oscarvaldes.net

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