We look at the misunderstanding of Western Media towards the Trump Presidency.
I am having breakfast in an airport hotel just outside Hartfield Atlanta airport, and the middle aged man a few seats away, leans over and offers his hand.
“Hi, I’m Dave”. He says; he is one of the many Delta pilots who regularly stay at this hotel – their Training Centre is just a few blocks away. And we start talking. The man is clearly educated, middle class, and well travelled. And then he says something strategic; “it is not what Trump is doing, that is bad – it is his delivery”.
And we open along discussion that goes way beyond the waffles and bacon and eggs. We explore every avenue of American life, and how our civilised media, whilst routinely criticising Trump, is missing the essential point that, Trump America is not divided into blue collar rose coloured spectacled workers who long for the good old days, – and the liberal educated white collared Managers on the other. Trump America has its fare share of ordinary people who are looking at what Trump is doing for Americans if not America.
I am sitting on my premium seat from JFK back to London and next to me, my middle aged American offers his hand. He is a financial adviser for a large Bank. And he says; “you know, our medical situation with Obamacare, is so messed up”. Taking each issue in turn – we have six hours to spend – what he says is an enlightenment:
North Korea – America has for twenty years been trying to be the “nice guy”; and it has been misread as a sign of weakness. Trump is the first President to get bombastic and actually do something about it, or give that impression. His speech to the UN was “the best this man has heard”.
Nato Support; – Trump was right to ask Europeans to pay their fair contribution. And my colleague has a point – many European States have grown used to the idea that the rich nations of the world owe them a living.
Immigration – why can’t we have immigrants who apply to settle, in the normal way? My colleague recounts the story of his father in law, who himself fled from Cuba, and waited in line etc, to go through the proper channels. And on we go…
There are various counter arguments to all of this, of course, but the single biggest issue that will conceivably bring down the Trump presidency, is completely missing from my colleague’s philosophy. The Russian connection and Trump does not have any real significance in either of my new friends’ way of seeing things, and the threat to the US democracy and freedom of values and truth, does not figure for them.
Because Russia is not on their doorstep, and because the USA essentially is a nationalistic mentality, that looks after the rest of us because it sort of has a moral responsibility rather than any absolute obligation. The conspiracy theories that we are well aware of, and believe are true, in our European society, and that US Media bang on about – are simply not getting through to the average and even many levels of the general middle classes of the USA.
So, what to do?
The answer is to keep on portraying the balanced view that we have become used to in Europe, and to include the USA in discussions. We on this side of the Atlantic are far more European than American, but their friendship and levels of reaching out, are the best in the world. As my colleague in Atlanta says; “Welcome to good ol’. Southern Hospitality!”