They have something in common, don’t they? Yes.
And it’s their clear intent to trap people. And keep them trapped.
But they have something else in common. And that is what they promise their followers.
‘If you follow me,’ they say, ‘you will have a better and stronger country.’ Thus, it is implied, you will be better and stronger.
For Trump the promise is MAGA, Make America Great Again.
For Putin it’s a larger Russia, a Russia that restores the might of the former Soviet Union.
For Xi Jinping it’s world dominance.
For Trump to reach his objective he was willing to make a deal with Putin but not Xi Jinping.
For Putin to reach his goal requires the annexation of Ukraine, regardless of the cost in human lives.
For Xi Jinping it’s further asserting China’s economic power while seeking alliances with whomever suits him best – for now Putin.
The followers of these men don’t even know they are being sold a richly decorated fiction.
They are thrilled that their lives have now a sense of direction and that they can spare themselves the trouble of doing their own homework.
Followers may have a vague idea they are surrendering their freedom, but the charisma of the leader calling to them proves stronger.
The follower may never have known freedom. They may never have troubled themselves to nurture their minds.
I say this because once you’ve known freedom you never want to give it up.
But to keep it you have to exercise it. You have to see it at work. You have to quarrel with it, smell it and taste it. You have to see how it bears you fruit. And grief. And failure.
How odd then that men like Trump, Putin and Xi Jinping can rise to such positions of power when their message is so clear, ‘leave the thinking to me.’ But they can do it, because they attract enough people who prefer not to think, and who then proceed to intimidate those who do think.
And that’s their story – Might Makes Right.
To have a mind – the capacity to reason while integrating our emotions – and to have health are our most precious possessions. And yet we don’t nurture them as we should.
We don’t set aside enough time to reason and assess the complexities of what we feel. We pay little attention to our diets in a massive exercise of denial. ‘Oh, it will be okay.’
Our voices need not be loud when we stand up for what we believe every day of our lives. But they must be heard. What may seem like a small voice added to another small voice makes a difference.
So let yours count too.
We cannot let a few people take over the world.
If a leader of a nation keeps getting reelected they are noxious to their people and the rest of us too.
Freedom gives you a voice, if you work on it. Tyranny takes it from you. And your life, too.
Oscarvaldes.medium.com, apple podcasts