BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
Just keep doing what you’ve been doing, everyone, that’s how Donald Trump will become president of the U.S. Then, Armenian headaches, heartaches, and possibly catastrophes will grow significantly because of the instability he is likely to foster in Armenia’s neighborhood – Georgia/Caucasus, Iran, Iraq, Kurdistan, Syria, and Ukraine/Crimea.
It seems to me that everyone is falling into the Trump-trap. Whether it is intentionally set by him or just a by-product of how he behaves, I don’t know, but the trap is there. By now it should be obvious for all to see. Yet, everyone, and it seems some of the same people, keep falling into the Trump-trap again and again. This trap may be even older than Trump, as suggested by a Politico article titled “How an Outsider President Killed a Party.”
It starts with misunderstanding him and his campaign. Arguing that he is racist and anti-Mexican, or is using racism to mobilize some segments of American society falls into the Trump-trap. So does arguing that he is anti-women and anti-Muslim. He is not any “ist” and he’s just talking, don’t read deeper into it than that (although some contend that even the “just talking” is a well-practiced act). Anyone busy building a Trump-scale fortune through crafty deals and “fortuitous” bankruptcies, is less likely than most people to have adopted or developed any “isms” or ideology, unless opportunism can be considered an ideology!
Perhaps the best example is the most recent one. Trump claimed that it was possible a judge presiding over a trial involving Trump could be biased against him. Trump based his “concern” on the fact that the judge’s parents are from Mexico and the latter is involved in a group of lawyers whose roots are in Mexico. Clearly, Trump has spoken out against Mexicans. So, it’s natural for him to have that worry – a Mexican judge resenting Trump’s comments and reacting accordingly, whether or not it’s true or valid (and I certainly don’t believe it is true or valid). Any normal human being would (at least) wonder about that under the same circumstances. So when Trump gets criticized for his highly objectionable comments, the average person is surprised and put off by the criticism because that same average person would have the same concern under similar circumstances.
Obviously, when presidential candidates voice such thoughts, they are magnified and take on a greater importance and can easily be given too much weight. If your European-origin neighbor was known to hold racist views and was in court before a black judge, he might say to you something like Trump did, right? But then it would be forgotten as you went about trimming your shrubs and he went back to mowing his lawn. That’s how Trump’s comments should be taken. They should be heard and quickly forgotten, not amplified and repeated, giving him even more visibility.
Every time his seemingly outlandish comments are given more credence than they deserve, he gets one step closer to the White House. That’s because attacking him for those comments, or even SEEMIING to attack him, solidifies the support of those who already like him and builds support among others by making him into a martyr, or at least someone being unfairly criticized. This happens precisely because he talks naturally, like any one of us would with our friends. That’s the context in which he’s seen.
That “guy next door” perception is also his strength against his now certain major-party opponent, Hillary Clinton. She is the opposite of that “neighbor” with her stiffness, her (only partially deserved) reputation for flip-flopping, and the Clinton-phobia with the attendant venom it has produced for a quarter century. For the record, I am no Hillary lover, nor am I a part of the warped contingent in American society that loathes her. She is just another presidential candidate whom I prefer less than others.
Trump should be treated the way he treats others. Call him a wimp, a wuss, for not debating Bernie Sanders as he initially suggested some days ago. Laugh at him, but in a friendly (if dismissive) chuckle, not sarcastically or acerbically. Treat him like the pathetic creature he really is. But don’t do it from a holier-than-thou perspective. Don’t make a martyr out of a moron. Do it like neighbors chatting on the street where one guy wearing a toupee might get teased for it. Or, if someone says something dumb, they get called out for it in a neighborly way.
From a different, non-Trump based perspective, another behavior by Clinton that would help Trump is if she does NOT bring Bernie Sanders on as her vice-presidential running mate. Clearly, there’s an awareness in the Clinton camp that the more left-leaning, economic justice advocating, and younger segments of American society are displeased with her. Evidence of this is that Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren’s name is being floated publicly already. But I don’t think that will do, even though she would have made a great presidential candidate, I suspect a two-woman ticket might generate a backlash, unspoken though it would be. Having Sanders as a running-mate addresses a multitude of concerns relating to Clinton, even if they are perceptions and not real: trustworthiness, energy, anti-establishment, youth support, alternative seekers, etc.
Spread the word. Otherwise the U.S., the world, and Armenia/Armenians are in for a very long four years.