Well that didn’t last long did it? When Henry Luce, in a February 1941 Life editorial called for ‘an American Century’, saying the US should ‘exert upon the world the full impact of our influence, for such purposes as we see fit and by such means as we see fit,’ he clearly expected American leadership, however unwillingly received by the rest of the world, to last until the middle of the 21st century. But with Trump, it has already gone. No-one will ever take the United States seriously again. American moral superiority was always a deeply suspect idea to begin with, but it’s over. It lasted about 75 years; a blink of the eye compared to, say, Egypt’s 3,000 years before the Romans, or the Romans’ own roughly 1,000 years. What, I wonder, will America be known for, if at all? My guess would be for the Moon landings and for Hiroshima and Nagasaki: the first – and I surely hope, the only – use of nuclear weapons against civilian targets.
To live in Trump’s America must be like living in German occupied France. Everyone who collaborates in any way with Trump or his administration faces future ostracism, particularly in the arts and music communities and probably within the better academic institutions as well. Good. There should never be any acceptance of his ideas as being in any way legitimate. My hope is that it will cause a groundswell of rebellion and dissent, similar to that of the sixties youth movement against the Vietnam war. In fact, as well as popular opposition, I fully expect a new generation of Weathermen to emerge. Interesting times are here again!