Opinion |

Trump’s Election Marks the End of an Era of Truth and Values

Emilie Moatti
Emilie Moatti
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President-elect Donald Trump gives his acceptance speech during his election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in New York.
President-elect Donald Trump gives his acceptance speech during his election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in New York.Credit: John Locher, AP
Emilie Moatti
Emilie Moatti

Despite the problem of defining the “reasonable person,” the basic assumption is that this is a person who desires to live his life in dignity. To this basic aspiration, the pedagogical systems added values such as of love of one’s fellow man, not harming the weak and acknowledging good.

The world woke up on Wednesday to a morning in which these values have become meaningless; values such as appropriate behavior and respect for one’s fellow man have become putrid leftovers of the old world.

The people of the previous century are painfully supposed to forget everything they’ve learned. There is no standard that a person, not to mention the most powerful man in the world, must abide by. He can harass women, mock the disabled and the weak, threaten ethnic groups with deportation and exclusion, join anti-Semitic movements (better not go near Facebook pages of Jewish American journalists these days, your heart may not bear it), exploit workers and evade taxes. A man can utter falsehoods about everything, and at the same time win the election and stand before the nation a moment later – pacified,embracing and reassuring everyone that it was all for their own good.

In the old world, the one that underwent its somber final chord in the past 24 hours, it was customary that when one candidate loses to another, the winner approaches and shakes his hand. It’s called a winner’s magnanimity. It’s a procedure humanity adopted to convey that at the end of every battle, even the most difficult, we’re all human beings and we all aspire to good. But when Clinton’s campaign chief read the announcement that the loser won’t come to make a speech, the people at Donald Trump’s campaign headquarters booed and roared “lock her up,” repeatedly.

That moment was symbolic of these elections, but also a pretty clear sign of the direction of the free world. It’s moving toward an era in which the weak are no more than a ramming tool, cannon fodder for the strong.

If we once assumed that even the next-door neighbor could go far if he adopted a campaign and style befitting potential leaders, it has now been proven that even an ignorant, malicious man who projects nothing but ignorance and vulgarity can be elected. It no longer matters. Be what you are, even if what you are is Trump.

I know the Marxist dialectic that things have to get much worse before they get better. And the statement attributed to Hanoch Levin, that even when all hope is lost, at the end of days, there’s still one more ending. But this is one ending too many, one that the democracy of democracies tumbled into without blinking.

Because the choice wasn’t between two roads, but of one, which more and more people wanted to ride roughshod over. More than the Republicans wanted to win, they wanted to crush the values their empire was built on.

Some will err in thinking that this is the end of the politically-correct era, as the president-elect argued passionately. But political correctness is only a cover, a style, not the content. A man can speak without being considerate, yet still make sure his words have a basic essence, truth and values. Trump’s election symbolizes the end of the era of content and the end of the era of style.