Many things happened in the last month since I wrote my last post. For example, Trump is the leader of the free world now. And he is already proving the oxymoron-like feature of that sentence — with his ban on Muslims from 7 countries to enter US and his rhetoric on Mexico and Brexit.
What is to expect from the future has become increasingly less clear. Democracy has proved to be much more vulnerable than people expected, and now, with an attack on press, the US media is experiencing what media in Azerbaijan, China and other countries has dealt with for a long time.
“We live in the post-factual world”, people say. There is a lot of discussion of “alternative facts”. Truth has become a currency in the hands of politicians (some would say has always been). Media organizations are pressed to dance by the tune of the powerful. It has become acceptable to have an “opinion” on anything — such as “I think that torture works, but it is up to the general to decide the policy”. Looks like the modernity is dead — the modernity where one referred to science, to arguments, to rationality. Opinions now substitute facts, and this is scary.
These recent political developments open up zillion of opportunities for constructivist research, through narratives and framing, as well as studying discourses. But furthermore, it shows that policy is far from an enterprise oriented at rational problem-solving. It has a very strong expressive function — to show to your population and others where your values are. Take the latest policy of Trump on the Muslim ban. It has no logic for problem-solving, will have no positive effect on anti-terror war, but it has a clear goal — to communicate to domestic and foreign audience that a) he is serious about his promises; and b) that he sees Muslims as a threat and signs up for the nativist vision of citizenship in the U.S. Expressive of symbolic politics has taken central stage.
Shortly, Trump is very dangerous, the small countries in the pocket of US already start to emulate the political trends from the other side of the Atlantic. But it also offers opportunities for us to understand how contemporary democracy works and what public policy has to contribute in these uncertain times.