Trudeau, Trump, and the failure of the Manichean myth

December 18, 2016

Remember when the Canadian media called Justin Trudeau a hypocrite for refusing to condemn Donald Trump during the long presidential campaign? Turns out JT was wiser than his naysayers thought.

Then his loudest detractor quipped he would be no match for Trump in negotiations. Cheap bumper-sticker thought, that Bambi-vs-Godzilla line from Kevin O’Leary.

Even Michael Harris’s David-vs-Goliath comparison is a poor analogy, because it still speaks to a cranky, insecure Manichean tradition of the battle to the death between principalities which today is far from the Canadian experience.

The last fresh idea about Canada-U.S. relations (mouse-sleeping-with-a-friendly elephant) came from the elder Trudeau, come to think of it.

From what I’ve seen of Donald Trump so far, the elephant-in-an-orange-toupe idea still retains a good deal of currency.  Justin Trudeau would fit naturally into the role of the rider trapped on this panicked elephant as the United States careens along the road, driven by its fear and natural urges, but unsure of its destination, or even direction at a given moment.

I’ll watch with interest the first public encounter between Trump and Trudeau, but I expect  the rider will continue to calm the behemoth and begin to nudge it away from the more obvious hazards as it burns through its manic energy.


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