Shock. How many felt it that cool November evening in 2016, when an unqualified, offensive person had seized control of the most powerful government in the world?
Shock. A mere seven months later, best-selling author Naomi Klein released a new book addressing a Trump presidency. Sharing that she felt she could not “waste a minute,” she wanted it out before a major external shock happened.
In straightforward Klein style, she narrates us through the first segment, “How we got here,” addressing the “brand” of Trump. The infuriating reality that the behaviour of the “tweeter-in-chief” is part of his brand. She explores the rise of The Apprentice and its Hunger Games quality: “…Trump told the tent team that ‘life’s a bitch,’ so they’d better do everything possible to step over the losers and become a winner like him”, and she surprisingly reveals “…it is hard to overstate Trump’s fascination with wrestling….”
The US Presidency is an extension of this “you too could be Donald Trump” brand, which reassures and bolsters his supporters. Klein notes how our society has accepted that vast amounts of wealth somehow bestow wisdom on people—referring to this notion as a “billionaire saviour complex.” Bill Gates and his activities related to African agriculture and vaccinations, neither of which he has any experience in or education with, is another example.
In exploring the current context (“Where We Are Now”) and, ominously, “How it Could Get Worse,” Klein uses research gleaned from her previous bestsellers, The Shock Doctrine and This Changes Everything, and reminds us of the imminent dangers to democracy. She frankly reveals she is “determined to kill my inner Trump” by overcoming latent biases and prejudices, and she tells us that “this internal work is crucial as we come together in resistance and transformation.”
Ending on a hopeful note, we are reminded of the power of Standing Rock, the rise of Black Lives Matter, and the ongoing “Fight for $15.” Times when no was not enough. She reveals that now is the time to “leap,” including a postscript about The Leap Manifesto, a “rare document…signed by large organizations…as well as truly grassroots movements…” including CUPE, the CLC, Oxfam, Black Lives Matter—Toronto and No One is Illegal.
Shock can be immobilizing, but reframing Michelle Obama’s quote, “When they go low, everyone needs to aim high,” Klein assures us “The Caring Majority is Within Reach”… so