here’s only one political transformation in the past decade that really matters.
It’s named Donald Trump.
Everything else pales in comparison.
Trump is everybody’s political conversation piece.
In his own inimitable way, Trump’s changed both the conversation and the tone of the conversation. For better and for worse.
People either love him or hate him. Don’t look for common ground between the two. Politics has evolved into a 24/7 spectacle, punctuated by social media chatter, much of which is impulsive, uninformed, and bellicose.
Yet Trump is only one manifestation of the intensification of the polarization that preceded him.
Bipartisanship, unbiased journalism, nation-states, and oligarchs have become passé, while fake news, alt-right, Antifa, and algorithms carry new power.
This past decade began in the throes of the global financial collapse. Investors lost trillions. Average citizens lost homes and jobs. In its wake, two clashing movements arose, on the right and the left, accelerating the slide into two ideological extremes.
The right spawned the Tea Party movement, bent on shrinking government and its suffocating regulations. The left germinated the Occupy Wall Streeters, denouncing capitalism and globalism (and climate change) for all of their ills.
Financial stability has been restored, but the United States 2020 election, like none before, will pit the haves versus the have-nots. It will get nastier and more unruly.
Israel’s bubble has burst too. Formerly a bastion of stability, with just one man serving as prime minister the entire decade, Israel is stuck in a political twilight zone.
Israel lost a great friend when Canadian voters sent Stephen Harper packing after a term in office that almost rivaled Bibi’s.
Britain has been eating Brexit for breakfast every day for the past five years with no reasonable way out, or back in.
It’s not all glum.
There’s the Arab Spring. It didn’t lead to a march toward democracy, and judging by the state of western affairs, that’s a plus. But the road is bending toward normalization between Israel and many Arab states and a fall off the cliff in international support for the Palestinian Authority, a literal thorn in Israel’s side.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 790)
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