I have recently read an article about how many households in the US are divided because of the difference of political opinion, especially between parents and their children, during Donald Trump’s presidency. The phenomena of the Trump presidency, particularly political division, extreme partisanship, and abuse of power, are not uncommon in many countries around the world. Nonetheless, I think that the world is surprised to see that those things are happening in the US because the US has always presented itself as a democracy with a stable government. What I am trying to say is that what is happening in the US can be surprising for many Americans because they have never been in such political climate. The problems that they are experiencing right now are not uncommon in other countries where there are unconsolidated democracies, illiberal democracies, or authoritarianism.
As a Thai citizen, the talk of political division, extreme partisanship, and the abuse of power is all too common. Thaksin Shinawatra’s government has had a very significant impact on modern Thai politics. Thaksin’s administration caused a significant political divide in Thailand because there were those who agreed and benefited from his policies and there were those who were losing power as a result of the unprecedented support for Thaksin. No matter which side you were on, it was unarguably the most divisive time in modern Thai political history. People were divided by the color of the shirts that they wore. Who knew the color of clothing could matter so much. The stories of how family members would not talk to each other because of the difference of their political opinion were not unusual.
Some of my family members chose their side. What I experienced was not the conflict of opinion but the dominance of one opinion that was perpetuated by the continued consumption of news from just one source, one biased source. There was so much derogatory name calling of those on the other side. At that time I did not really understand what was going on, all I knew was that I was annoyed of all the protests and I was only concerned about being able to go to school and getting home safely. Thailand’s political situation between 2006 and 2008 was one of many reasons that I chose to study political science in university.
The political division since the fall of Thaksin has continued until today. Yingluck Shinawatra, Thaksin’s younger sister, was elected prime minister in 2012. It was clear that there were a lot of people who believed in Thaksin’s policies and ideas and wanted someone to continued his vision. However, her administration ended when the military carried out a coup d’etat to end the political stalemate and Thailand still has a military government.
I agree with Trevor Noah who has comically but rightly described Donald Trump as an African dictator even before Donald Trump became president. Trevor pointed out that Donald Trump’s political style is very similar to that of many African leaders which goes to show that the Trump presidency is not that unusual.
Many outsiders would believe that it was impossible for Donald Trump to be elected president in the first place, let alone the absurd allegations of wrongdoing that has plagued the administration since he took office. I had the perception that the US holds itself to a high standard when it comes to domestic politics because the previous presidents have been competent and have represented the US adequately. It’s a shame that this no longer the case. Many countries around the world might have despised the US for its international political endeavors, now the world’s perception of the US has deteriorated as they can no longer trust the leader of the most powerful country in the world.
In conclusion, the current US government and politics now has the characteristics that are common to many other countries around the world. The current US political climate may come to a surprise of many because it is different from the previous presidencies. However, it is not so different from that of many other countries around the world.