Donald Trump has become President-elect of the United States of America, defeating a more experienced Hillary Clinton, against all odds.
Donald Trump is the kind of person most parents would raise their kids not to be like. He mocks disabled people, he has been accused of raping a 13-year-old, he’s a misogynist, racist, narcissist, white supremacist, bully, a bigot who openly admitted to not paying taxes.
Somehow, he still managed to get almost half of all the total votes.
While we knew his ideas were dangerous, many didn’t believe they’d catch on. Many of the biggest media companies in the world openly endorsed Hillary Clinton, same with the international community. He still won.
One thing is for sure, his campaign slogan is proof that everything he did, he planned from the beginning.
The “Make America Great Again” slogan evoked something. It evoked a wistful desire and sentimental yearning to a period of time in the past when things were believed to be good;
Nostalgia gives an unparalleled kind of feeling. It makes you long for that Sunday afternoon rice from when you were a kid. Michael Jackson’s ‘Heal The World’ fills you with so much emotion when it comes on. You spend time reading lists like “10 things you can relate to if you went to a Nigerian Secondary School”, or “5 things you’d understand if you’ve ever had a Nigerian mother”.
While it is a time past, it always gives a sense of longing to return, to re-experience.
It is how much of us this feeling can consume that makes it potentially dangerous.
Let’s look at this scenario.
We start in Nigeria.
Picture this. You’re young, intelligent, and Igbo. You were too young to see the war, but you heard your parents say Biafra was a great country that never was. You heard it so much you believe it.
Then one day, someone comes. His name is Nnamdi Kanu and he promises to lead you, and every Igbo person to reclaim a country that God gave you. Even he is fuelled by nostalgia for a time he never even witnessed.
You’ll finally get the respect you deserve. You’ll finally get to prosper without fear that someone will take your property or life away because you’re not of his tribe. It’s hard not to see some reason in what he’s saying. What do you have to lose?
Let’s look at another scenario. This time, we travel to Germany. No, we’re not going to talk about Hitler.
Picture this. You’re a young Muslim, with big dreams for the future. You take your faith quite seriously, so you’ve read history. You read about how a successor system, the Caliphate, was formed after the death of the Prophet. This was 610AD. You read about how the Caliphate expanded, and how Muslims flourished. Then you read about how it was abolished, and the Western Forces that were key in making it happen. You long for a return to this period of glory.
The one day, you see a group, ISIS. They say they are promising a return the Caliphate. You don’t care about the authenticity of their cause, because your nostalgia has blinded you, so you fall in line. What do you have to lose?
IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, seen in 2014, broke a nearly year-long silence to call for attacks against Turkey and, if confirmed, IS’ claim for the attack in Diyarbakir would be its first in the country
Another scenario. This time, we travel to the capital of the free world; the United States of America.
Picture this. You heard stories about how your father got very rich off White privilege. Your country used to be great. It’s so ridiculous that even black people now aspire to be President. There was a time they could only sit at the back of the bus.
Then one day, someone comes along and tells you that he will “Make America Great Again”. His name is Donald Trump. He says he’s going to build a wall America probably can’t afford, he wants to kick all Muslims out. He wants to do so many things you feel will make you better. You don’t care about his faults, because you’ve fallen in love with his offering, so you fall in line. What do you have to lose?
Nostalgia is a weapon.
Nostalgia is an almost foolproof ingredient to make ideas go viral. It is how occult doctrines flourish. Governments spend millions on propaganda trying to fight these dangerous ideas. Sometimes, it works. A lot of the time, it doesn’t.
Only one thing trumps these dangerous ideas; common sense. But you know what they say about common sense; it’s not very common.