November 3, 2016
In this June 8, 2016 photo, images of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump are seen painted on decorative pumpkins.
Thirty years ago nobody took Donald Trump seriously. Today many people do. Because, in America, the future is no longer what it used to be
“Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” — U.S. President Ronald Reagan, speaking in what was then West Berlin, June 12, 1987.
“There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow.” — Theme song to ‘Carousel of Progress’, the longest running stage show at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. The show started in 1964 and runs to date.
“Future ain’t what it used to be.” — Graffiti at a restaurant in the Ohio countryside.
“Build that wall.” — The most heard slogan at the rallies of Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump.
It is not a coincidence that we get to repeatedly hear about “the last 30 years” in political rhetoric in many parts of the world. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, who lost out on the Democratic presidential nomination to Hillary Clinton, are two prominent critics of America’s involvement in thetrade-driven global capitalist system, and they frame all their arguments in the temporal framework of the last three decades. To cite an example closer home, Prime Minister Narendra Modi repeatedly points out that this is first time in three decades that India has a single party with a parliamentary majority. The three decades in question roughly start with the Reagan speech quoted above and end with the last slogan — the journey of America, from yearning to “tear down that wall” to the war cry of “build that wall”. Understanding what has happened in America in these three decades is essential to understanding what has happened in India, and anticipating what may happen. Because, America remains and will remain in the foreseeable future the global centre of capital, technology and ideas that will influence the rest of the world.