Just 75 years and all post WW-II policies are being ridiculed in the current electioneering in America. What is being contested? This American Presidential election challenges every single humane value that was popularized to relieve the trauma of the worst human tragedy in less than 20 years. Uncounted casualties in the Second World War, millions of women widowed at a young age, millions of children orphaned, the horror of atomic bomb experienced for the first time in the world, large scale unemployment, end of empires, colonies emerging as full fledged sovereign nations, a whole generation of youth completely disoriented by the despair and gloom brought about by the war. The decades of the 1950 and 1960 gave birth to the hippy culture to absorb the shock of the devastating result of the war and an environment of all round melancholy.
The philosophy of multiculturalism was one of the values promoted during those years. America welcomed migrants from all culture groups. Slowly it turned in to a country of the migrants. It was the contribution of the migrants which made America the leader of the modern world excelling in all areas of human knowledge, culture and development. America became the face of capitalism. It was only natural for its countervailing rival to emerge. The USSR provided that force, joined later by China. In no time the Cold War erupted, battering further all hopes of world peace and deliverance from the fear of another devastating war. The young American tried during the next two decades everything prohibited or unlawful. The weed was used by many and the very institution of marriage came under terrible stress. What was happening in America was getting followed in other countries out of fashion or as a gesture of following the world leader America. Many such activities also came to be consciously promoted and popularized by the intelligence agencies as a weapon to divert attention and score victory over the Cold War rivals.
Ironically, from multiculturalism the world started moving slowly to religious fundamentalism. Capitalism practiced religion and promoted diverse religions to co-exist. On the contrary, communism was opposed to religion and banned it.
Weaknesses relating to cultural and religious diversities provided enough room for foreign policy czars to exploit. Using the power of the Dollar and exploiting the mass poverty in traditional societies, fundamentalism was organized to bleed the USSR and contain communism. It gave more than adequate headache to the USSR which created all the conflicts in the world, creating huge markets for Soviet and American arms. Pursuing their foreign policies and economic interests these two rivals exploited the poor countries to the maximum.
It was only after the disintegration of the USSR that ideological rivalries of that magnitude abated and a new era of cooperation began. The old infrastructure of the Cold War was crumbling and three known rivals started economic cooperation and entered into trade treaties abandoning their ideological camp followers to fend for themselves. It was a phase of a kind of disillusionment for them. There were no empires to tag to and no ideology.
Societies missed anchors. They looked for their moorings and found in religion a reassurance. Clash of civilizations got revived without any conscious effort on anybody’s part. It grew naturally.
The poor countries divided on ideological lines drawn by the Cold War Power Blocks were not as empowered as America, UK, France or the USSR. They could hardly be expected to adopt democracy or liberal social mores and practices. While space exploration provided the super powers an escape to the fantasy, the poor countries remained rooted to the hard ground. The revolution initiated by the information technology changed the world irreversibly towards the end of the last century. The freshly IT empowered America and other European nations created a chasm between the poor and rich nations as never before in the history of mankind. The rich appeared to look down upon the poor as backward, underdeveloped, left out countries. The attempts to democratize all the nations, from Russia to CIS, East European countries, and Muslim countries under monarchy or dictatorship created fault lines generating new conflicts even as the Cold War had ended.
The supremacy of America and the western world was resented greatly. The lessons taught to Muslims in Afghanistan by America to fight guerrilla wars against the USSR were tried against America by organizations like the Al Qaeda. Its most visible impact was the 9/11 attack on America. It was for the first time that America came under such a brutal attack on its own soil in such an unusual manner by an enemy having no state or sovereignty. It was something unimaginable. America reacted by attacking Iraq, under the mistaken belief that Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attack. But it took America a few years to understand the source of the trouble.
It was already too late to contain the spread of this new variety of aggression. The values of the Cold War- multiculturalism, human rights, liberal society and others were proving to be hollow in the light of this new kind of threat. America tried to put up the exterior of a liberal society. Election of Barack Hussein Obama as the President of America was an attempt to assuage the feelings of the Muslim world which was bitter about the American war in Iraq and execution of Saddam. However, it failed to buy peace for America.
The killing of Osama Bin Laden, the Al Qaeda Chief, in Pakistan’s most secure military cantonment, added fuel to fire. The ISIS arrived on the scene to only exacerbate the situation. It has threatened to give sleepless nights to the American public and promised more deadly attacks than had taken place so far. How dangerous the ISIS is can be understood from the latest reports about 240,000 accounts on Twitter having been suspended for promoting terror and supporting the ISIS. It is clear that this time it is no individual who is the target but it is the American public. And this minimizes all other issues which are going to decide the outcome of the election of the President of The United States Of America.
The choice essentially is not between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, it is verily between the American people or their tormentors.
Other issues like jobs, insurance, healthcare, unity, migration, racism and multiculturalism are hardly for a single individual to tackle satisfactorily in single term of 4 years. Finding solutions to these problems takes decades and even centuries. Rest is election rhetoric. Before the elections it is “all animals are equal” and after the elections it changes to “all animals are equal, but some are more equal”.
It only exposes the weakness of democracy, which promises the moon to everybody but can hardly give it to anybody else other than the thinnest upper crust of the society. In practice, democracy tends to descend to abysmally low levels. The American artists and journalists have already dragged it down to the filthiest low level. Both these “born superior” categories have abused unabashedly art and journalism as the two respected forms of cultured communication and sign of grace and social uplift. It makes permanent enemies, divides society forever and fills it with too much negativity. Expecting all round peace, love, harmony and happiness for all in such a society is a mirage only.
Liberal societies will not revert back to medieval times. Terrorism will not accept modernization in any form or degree. This conflict will continue to worry everyone and world peace will suffer. The American voters will need to ponder it. What will be the world like in 2020 or 2030? Where will be America then? What will happen when the rogues come to possess nuclear weapons? Can peace endure in the face of terrorism?
In a sense, the American Presidential election is a test of human “faith” in these testing times when “modernity” is under challenge from what is “anti-modernity”. It includes the ideas about science, technology, democracy, liberalism, liberty, equality, justice, human rights, women’s rights and other such concepts of the modern human society. All achievements of the modern society are under threat. We can’t imagine end of democracy or liberalism, scientific pursuit or technological advancement, and the freedom of thought and expression. Radicals want to change every such idea and institution. They want to vanquish their enemies and establish their rule. Those still propagating multiculturalism, peace and love are compelled to make strenuous efforts to convince the voters of the strength of liberal ideas over the radical ones posing real threats now.