He is the man that the world currently loves to hate. The world has been watching in disbelief as what at first seemed like a joke has turned into a legitimate and serious presidential campaign for Mr. Donald Trump.
I am not American, and I do not claim to know enough about international politics and economics to comment deeply on the repercussions of Mr. Trump’s possible presidency. However, as a third party non-American, I have been able to watch Mr. Trump’s campaign with more distance than those who have passionate political involvement and opinions on it. And if there is one thing that has always stood out and amazed me about Mr. Donald Trump- it is his unabashed and unapologetic originality.
It should be noted that I said originality, not honesty. Originality is expressing oneself without a socially constructed filter and honesty means being truthful. In other words, you can be dishonest in an original manner as Mr. Trump is often accused of doing these days.
Originality itself is not a virtue. It is independent of moral consciousness. It is merely a characteristic that we are all born with. As children we are immaculately original, expressing ourselves freely with a shameless certainty of who you are and what you want. But as we grow up our demands get shushed, our opinions get invalidated and our personality muffled by socially conditioned adults with good intentions. Over time this causes us to build callouses over our original selves and wear a safe social facade similar to others around us, which we may not even be aware of. So how come this didn’t happen to Donald? My guess would be that it is because he has always been at the top of the social ladder, and there is much more room to breathe up there. He is used to getting what he wants and having his voice heard instead of being told what to do or how to behave. Similarly, it has been my observation so far that the people at the very bottom of the socioeconomic ladder also have greater tendencies to express originality because they feel that they have nothing much to lose by being original. It is the middle class who are most prone to conforming and unoriginality because they fear losing what they have and not being able to recover it.
So if originality is just something that we all had but gradually lost, what is so special about it? Well, it’s special because it gives a person power. It magnifies their presence and makes them seen and heard. Because we are mostly used to hearing regurgitated opinions and seeing cookie-cutter personas, by showing their true faces to the world people like Marilyn Manson, Gandhi, Donald Trump or Conor McGregor turn heads, receive applause or raise eyebrows. The attention might either be positive or negative, but it seems Mr. Trump goes by the doctrine “No publicity is bad publicity”. And so far- it seems to be working okay. There have been concerns that the international media has been covering Mr. Donald too much, that his gargantuan ego and personality is shadowing more important matters. Mr. Trump’s policies and remarks are often seen as outlandish, offensive and just baffling. But deep down we can also see that his outlandishness and offensiveness is not fabricated but true to the core of the man. The sheer audacity of his originality makes it hard for the world to take our eyeballs off of him.
I am not a supporter either Trump or Hilary. And I honestly have no idea who will become the POTUS. I merely find Mr. Trump’s originality comical and dare I say… refreshing? However, it must be remembered that boisterous originality alone is not enough to make a good leader of a world superpower. To me, his originality seems to have given courage to some American citizens who have been harboring similar sentiments as him to voice them more loudly, for better or for worse. And because Donald’s remarks are so trenchant and touch on such sensitive topics to the citizens of the US, instead of “Mak[ing] America great again” he might be “Mak[ing] America hate again”.
After all that’s been said, it is my hope that the American people will have the wisdom to make the right choice in selecting their future political leader and the mindfulness of what that choice ultimately entails.