Milosevic, Berlusconi, Trump

I saw it coming, for the past ten years, at least. I saw small Trumps rising and tramping around, first timidly, then bravely, and finally boldly. Until Donald Trump got elected. I saw the same thing happening in Serbia and in Italy, at the end of the past century> They were called  Milosevic and Berlusconi. These three guys that have impacted my life in the countries where I live have things in common: they are men, they are machos and they are so-called typical men of their nations:  self-invented men who became potent, with money, with media,  with fraud. But the bigger they are, the more false they became. Pundits call our era a post-truth time where politicians act without having to give an account to anybody: god or voters.  This is nothing new really, there have been other such moments in history  where truth was subjected to higher instances: religion, ideology, weapons. It is not  new as a doctrine and some ruthless pundits  even claim it is not all that bad to  shake up this world of established truths with dysfunctional rules.

In this perspective I saw it coming. I never knew Trump even existed before he got political, though my daughter who grew up in Serbia under the Milosevic’s laissez-faire belligerent regime did know of him. He was loud on local junk private channels selling  cheap thrills while other foreign media were forbidden to the Serbian population. Sanctions were imposed  by the American government in the first place–those who put you in a torch, then sell you the goodies of survival, making profit  out of your misery. That’s how  bad guys make money on politically correct issues. Not that certain governments (not people, however) don’t deserve international community sanctions. On the contrary, we are lucky to have a community nowadays, bodies like UN, decent NGOs etc. But the downside of these measures or the abuse of them is that those who impose the sanctions will be the first ones to make a profit out of the new economic order.  Same goes with wars. Wars are profitable. They make a few individuals rich while most of  the population is miserable or killed, as collateral damage, even though they are the vast majority.

I expected somebody like Trump to   emerge from  the USA cultural and political environment   because of  the  very restrictive rigid and hypocritical political correctness. The rule  of politically correct law    was  imposed and sanctioned legally but even more frequently it was an unwritten  lurking puritan law. At moments  it felt like living in Soviet Union. But people are just persons and  humans.  Laws will not make you a better person, they will only make you an outlaw if you are not a strictly  law abiding citizen.  Even though democracy and laws are the best  we’ ve got  and political correctness is a code against discrimination, no doubt,  the danger is to throw away the baby with the  bathwater. Life is not linear, language is never fully politically correct. It is deeply related to the people who create it by using it everyday. And laws are an instance of regulating interpersonal relationships based on behaviour, language, etc.  However when a gap is created between real life,  everyday language,  beliefs of the living people and the  laws of a state, this vacuum becomes a dangerous playground for populists like Trump, Berlusconi, Milosevic, and, why not, Stalin and Hitler! Manipulative dictators open their dirty hearts stating the politically incorrect opinions present in many people. They act as leaders who speak the unspeakable truths about our imperfect human condition . Because people are often racists, sexists, selfish, violent, and unaware of it.   When asked how does she want to be called,  “gypsy” or  “rom”, my  neighbour answered  wisely: you can call me as you wish, but  I must have the same right  to call you as I wish.

I saw it happen slowly while I was in USA in the past 10 to 15 years in small details of everyday life. My collaborators, family, friends were too much absorbed in their personal virtual lives, personalised diets, abstract political correctness instead of stepping down from their one-person universe and dirtying their hands with the world, with the Other. Wellness and some kind of pretentious self-care made me nervous. But everything was on their side except for the phenomenon Trump, who was hurling like a snowball getting bigger and bigger on the neglected side of the enchanted mountains of the isolated perfectionists. From Silicon Valley geniuses to laid-back hippies  who never bothered to realise that the seventies are over and that holding hands, chanting, praying is not enough. And the money fetish in USA is  a bonding file rouge between the rich and  the poor. The rich because they are rich, the poor because they are poor: they all have excellent reasons to be money obsessed.

If you don’t have money you die in the streets; if you don’t have the money perspective you will have no money and you will die in the streets; if you don’t have the money rhetoric you will have no money perspective, you will have no money and you will die in the streets…

But  you cannot solve the one-percent question/problem, without changing the question, perspective…Is it too much to ask for common sense?

Well, that’s what Trump has, money (or the appearance of it)…and he will not die in the streets, but people will…trying to solve the post-truth riddles old as humankind that are distracting them from their human condition. Be it called truth or post-truth, every day we live in a real world with real issues. And what we believe to be truth, love, etc. Believing in truth is enough to find the truth. But in order to believe things true one must perceive them as such, emotionally, intellectually, scientifically. In order for this to happen, one must be honest with oneself, be active,  get out of bed, look outside the window, work, walk, study, think, emote…Americans, are you ready? To get out of your virtual worlds of gaming thrones… of eating disorders, emotional dependencies on cats and other pets… zombies and vampires. Another troubled non-beautiful world is waiting for you out there, you can reach it if you make an effort or it will reach you without any effort because it is here now.

In 1300, Dante wrote in so-called “vulgar” Italian his Divine Comedy. At the time, Latin was the official language of truths, but Dante challenged the official truths .  He was of course exiled as punishment, but his visionary poem is a masterpiece of his time.

Dante was not politically correct or a man of power or money, just a poet. Same goes with Vaclav Havel, the Czech playwright from the 20th century who from prison made it to the presidency. Living in truth is not comfortable or profitable but healthy and necessary.

About jasminatesanovic

Jasmina Tešanović (Serbian: Јасмина Тешановић) (born March 7, 1954) is a feminist, political activist (Women in Black, Code Pink), translator, publisher and filmmaker. She was one of the organizers of the first Feminist conference in Eastern Europe "Drug-ca Zena" in 1978, in Belgrade. With Slavica Stojanovic, she ran the first feminist publishing house in the Balkans "Feminist 94" for 10 years. She is the author of Diary of a Political Idiot, a war diary written during the 1999 Kosovo War and widely distributed on the Internet. Ever since then she has been publishing all her work, diaries, stories and films on blogs and other Internet media.
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