As we enjoy, or possibly, grimace, during this caesura of ‘Post-Election’, ‘Pre-Trumpism’, as social media users have coined the time before Trump’s induction, we have a moment in time to pause and reflect – to reflect upon campaign methods, media theory, future implications, etc. Whether this current topic invokes feelings of anger, sadness, joy, relief, or anxiety, one will still find others processing the news and discussing the outcome on various news sources, TV channels and social media platforms. According to the Pew Research Center, the majority of Americans learn of current events and American news from Cable TV.
Seemingly most attractive to millennials, comedians used the outlandish or unusual personality traits of the two main running candidates, Trump and Clinton, as comedic relief for an American audience assailed by dramatic overstatements and frightening accusations. Trump has always served the public as a mockable character, and to an extent, we appreciate him for that quality. Society needs someone to laugh at, to point a finger to, and (with or without good humor), shake our heads and focus again on the small details of our lives. The notorious real estate mogul and reality TV show star first made an appearance on Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show: "Donald Trump Interviews Himself", while Clinton first appeared as a more serious, powerful female on Ellen.
Just as entertainment was used to first announce the running candidates, so it also propelled the absurd, disturbing, and disparaging details during the campaign. Top late night show hosts, such as James Corden, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Conan capitalized specifically upon the loud traits of Donald Trump, in both verbals and nonverbal, which brought the public figure more attention and busy talk. Clinton, due to her more diplomatic speech and expected politician suave, was not as pursued as rigorously on such shows. Jimmy Kimmel spoke on this in a personal interview, stating, “Hillary Clinton is boring”. She was the expected; Trump the unexpected. Clearly, America was tired of the current system.
These exact comedians have since jumped on opportunities to interview and cover the now-President-elect, Donald J. Trump. Political writer Chris Weignet compared such coverage and American attraction to an unusual character, like Trump, to past beloved Ronald Reagan (Huffington Post). Elena Chobanian argues that the use of mass media and such coverage of political figures and events is expected and even necessary in a democratic system, despite its influence on the level of dramatism used in journalism – or more accurately stated, story-telling (AraratOnline). Even during her campaign, Clinton spoke on the tiring length of America’s elections, and thus the resulting drama.
As Christians, it is wearing on the soul to see such discord and cacophonous, disparaging dialogue amongst America’s citizens, not to mention to gradual turn away from its foundation of Biblical principles. Just as Americans today take time to pause and reflect upon this past election and its implications, so are we to read Scripture, seek God’s will, and enact selah – to pause and think of it. The Hebrew word selah is used primarily in the Psalms to emphasize the need of rest and withdrawal. Psalm 4:4 wisely states, “Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.” As we look to the future and ask God how we should engage in it, we are to take the necessary time to rest from such chaos around us.