The Silver Lining of Trump

Donald Trump announcing his candidacy for President

Donald Trump announcing his candidacy for President

By Peter Wynn

I would like to start this off (mainly for my own and my family’s safety) by saying that I do not support Donald Trump. I’m not going to vote for him in an election, and despite being compelled by his grand persona at times, ultimately I think that he is a poor reflection of the American people. However, he hasn’t been all bad. Trump is quite possibly one of the better things to happen to politics in a long time for one reason.

Love him or hate him, you have to admit that he makes for awesome 15 second Instagram videos, soundbites, Vines, and GIFs. You name it. And for a generation who literally spends half their waking hours with their noses buried in their phones, that means something. The things he says, whether they get you fired up, breaking out in laughter, or totally enraged, are always quotable and notable. As we all know that stuff spreads like the plague. His hair, his wife, his edgy and extreme policies; The internet eats that junk up! There’s one big reason that Trump’s sensationalism is bringing politics to the forefront of the youth’s attention in a way that hasn’t been seen since the Vietnam War. Instead of kids having to actively scroll down the New York Times app or turn on CNN (I know, God forbid so much work) Donald Trump appears on social media feeds as often as fight videos and bikini pictures.

Although he may put things in a rather black and white manner, he does address controversial issues that warrant debate. When he says that we need a to build a wall with Mexico and make them pay for it is something we’ve all heard a thousand times. While most people around this area won’t take him seriously or necessarily agree with this strategy, it inspires debate over immigration reform which is undoubtedly one of the country’s hot button issues and one that has multiple approaches and solutions. It is hard to say that Trump’s tactics aren’t hurting the overall quality of politics. It is pretty obvious that he is playing to the lowest common denominator and often goes for cheap hits on his opponents, and that does turn politics into a sort of reality show. While this isn’t ideal, at least it draws some sort of interest from a generation who has shown none to this point. And I really do have faith in humanity’s intelligence. While Trump may be appealing to the cheap seats, I do feel like that it translates into more discussions. Even if people disagree with some of Trump’s brash blanket statements, such as, “We need to stop muslims from entering the US,” it may prompt an intellectual and thoughtful discussion on the best way to combat the growing threat of ISIS and our overall foreign policy in the middle east.

For the first time, I can go to a high school party and expect to hear at least some political chatter, and it isn’t the doing of Hillary Clinton (there is a good bit of help from Bernie Sanders, but that’s another conversation). If you were to ask any Tam student what Donald Trump’s views are, I would put money on the fact that they would be able to tell you his take. In the past, I’ve been very harsh in criticizing our generation for being disinterested in the world of Washington DC, but it just seems like everything is changing now. He has turned policy debates into gladiator fights, and while this isn’t great for actual politics, he would be the first one to tell you it is a great business model. More and more people just keep flooding in to see the fight. The bottom line is this: Kids don’t have to go to Trump, Trump comes to them, and it has this young generation more hyped and outraged than ever. Ultimately, this outrage is turning into political engagement or interest at the very least, engagement that will help craft and inspire the next generation of Americans.