View from the Trail

I’m in my 3rd week of international travel, and I have to admit it’s embarrassing to be an American right now. The people I talk to in other countries are absolutely appalled over the state of US politics, and I can only agree with them.

Little do we realize that despite America’s many tragic mistakes, such as the Iraq war and proliferation of weapons throughout the planet, much of the rest of the world still holds us in high regard as a voice of reason and a leader of the developed world. 

That view is rapidly changing.

It’s not just that Donald Trump is who he is. There have always been demagogues traipsing through politics, and foreigners realize he’s just another one. 

television headNo, the real embarrassment is that there are so many people supporting him. It is here that the Europeans and Canadians I talk to are losing respect for Americans, shaking their head in disbelief.

How can this possibly be, they ask me? How could this happen in a land so sophisticated and educated?  Have we completely lost our minds?

Trump is a media phenomenon. His outrageousness makes a good story. The media needs eyeballs to make money, and the Donald rivets attention, like nothing else going on. When I scan newspapers or online news sources, a disproportionate number of articles are about Trump.  I even confess to reading them. I am guilty of writing one now.

We are a media driven society. We love a good story. The more outrageous it is, the more it goes viral. Is that because we don’t have any center of truth from which to stand? Where is our moral outrage?

If Trump gets the nomination, and heaven forbid the highest responsibility in the land, it will be our collective addiction to media and to sensationalism that will be at fault.

Media made Trump a frontrunner. Media can take him down. But we all must be a part of it, in a world where for the first time, the average person has a voice, whether it’s through Facebook, Twitter, or any of the many other forms in our collective grasp. We must wake America from this dangerous trance. We must awaken ourselves.

And who do the other countries respect most and hope will win?  Hillary, hands down.

Like it or not, that’s my report.

Anodea Judith