Unpredictable Leaders/Rise of Populism by Xavier Henderson

In times past, Western countries have seen the rise of many populist and nationalist political parties. This issue shows the fear of many, which is a return to the fascist ideas from the early twentieth century. Donald Trump (hereinafter Trump) is a prime example of this right-wing quasi-fascism. His push for nationalism, American exceptionalism, fear-based compliance, intolerance of difference, and social isolationism is eerily reminiscent of Mussolini and, to a large extent, Adolf Hitler.  However, Trump should take comfort in the fact that he is not alone in his extreme bigotry and ignorance. For example, the recent referendum held in Great Britain that resulted in the country’s exit from the European Union. This movement was led by a group of people who were severely uninformed of the role the EU played in the broader European context, and of Britain’s role within the EU. They instead were fueled by their xenophobia, nationalism, and exceptionalism.

On the other hand, perhaps the most compelling argument offered by the right is the protection of national interest and security. After the traumatic events of September 11th 2001, it seems like it has been a constant struggle with various terrorist organizations. Western countries feel exceptionally vulnerable to the attacks of terrorist organizations, since most extremist groups specifically target the West. The fear and anxiety of such attacks have driven Westerners to find protection wherever it is available. This was immediately seen after the senseless attacks on Paris in 2015. Many countries, including the US, immediately responded by either closing or significantly restricting their migrant inflow. This was done in order to prevent radical Muslims from compromising their country. While the results of the effectiveness of these policies have not yet been reached, they are certainly not unreasonable.

Finally, many Westerns, particularly Americans, have grown tired of the age-old political regime they are subjected to. Not unduly, many see past and present government corruption as diametrically opposed to the ideals and values espoused by the very officials who are caught in numerous scandals. This betray of public trust has created a platform for political outsiders, like Mr. Trump, to come in and “clean house” by ridding the government of the corruption it has been accustomed to.

It is hard to find a remedy to these types of internal problems that exist, but it is possible. A solution to this problem would be to simply pray for our leaders and those who are in positions of authority. I Timothy 2:1-2 reads, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people —  for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” In addition to praying for our leaders, we should always try to give them respect, although we may not always agree with their policies and procedures. I Peter 2:17 says, “Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, and honor the emperor.” These are essential for helping alleviate some of the problems that occur. Although, there is not much we can do to change what is going on, we can petition our concerns and issues to the Lord and he can assuredly take care of the rest.

Xavier Henderson

Morehouse College

Thank you for taking the time to read, “Unpredictable Leaders/Rise of Populism” by Xavier Henderson. If you enjoyed this article or it has moved you in any way, please consider supporting the Joseph and Evelyn Lowery Institute for Justice & Human Rights at www.loweryinstitute.org. Let us be the change!

Leave a Reply