FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

President Donald Trump’s “Magical Realism”

It is possible that President Donald Trump never suspected this, but among his many yet never-acknowledged talents is that of being a novelist. A novelist in the Latin American tradition of magic or “magical realism.”

Magical realism is a style of fiction writing that combines a realistic view of the modern world while also adding some magical elements. Writer and literature professor Matthew Strecher defined magical realism as “what happens when a highly detailed, realistic setting is invaded by something too strange to believe.”

Magical realism has been often associated with Latin American authors such as Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel García Márquez and Isabel Allende. Now President Donald Trump has joined the rank of these illustrious authors. His assertion that there is a serious national crisis at the U.S.’s southern border with Mexico seems to challenge reality, making it too strange to believe.

According to official data, the number of people caught trying to cross the southern border peaked at 1.6 million in 2006 and have been in decline since then. According to the Customs and Border Protection, there were 303,916 apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border for fiscal 2017, the lowest in more than 45 years.

In magical realism, writers reveal the magical element in the real world and the supernatural blends smoothly with the familiar world. This was notably done by Gabriel García Márquez in his seminal work, One Hundred Years of Solitude. When President Trump says that he has already started building the wall in the border with Mexico he is bending reality. So far, Congress has only appropriated money for bollard fencing, replacement fencing, or secondary fencing. What started in California is bollard fencing that had already been planned in 2009.

President Trump has also made false claims relating to suspected terrorists trying to cross the border. According to the Trump administration, 3,755 known or suspected terrorists were blocked by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from entering the United States in fiscal 2017. The problem with this assertion is that it doesn’t say how many among those individuals tried to cross through the U.S.-Mexico border or by airports or by sea.

According to the DHS, terrorist groups seek other means of trying to enter the U.S., mainly by air. Of the 2,554 people on the terrorist watch list who were identified by U.S. officials in 2017, 2,170 had tried to enter through airports and 49 by sea.

Trump has dallied with magical realism in other areas as well. Talking about his capacity as a military strategist Trump declared, “I think I would have been a good general, who knows.” This after his Defense secretary James Mattis resigned in protest for President’s policy on Syria (the first Pentagon chief to resign in protest). And this is coming from a man who, according to The New York Times, was exempt from military service thanks to a fake bone spurs diagnosis that a Queens’s podiatrist wrote as a favor to his father. And who, while American soldiers were dying in Vietnam was busy organizing beauty contests around the world. It is hard to say if Trump’s comments belong to magical realism or to the delusional world of a draft dodger.

The U.S. President’s penchant for making false claims doesn’t seem to have any boundaries. Among the reportedly more than 7,000 false claims (probably a Guinness’s World Record of false claims by presidents) is his statement on January 4, 2019, that some “former” presidents had told him that a wall in the U.S.-Mexico border should have already been built on their watch. However, the four living U.S. presidents (Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barak Obama) strongly denied having made such an assertion.

These are only a few examples of a world of fantasy and unreality created by President Trump that, unlike in fiction, have a very real negative impact on the country and the world. Now one can say that among the illustrious practitioners of magical realism in the Americas, Argentina has Jorge Luis Borges, Chile has Isabel Allende, Colombia has Gabriel García Márquez and the U.S. has Donald J. Trump.

More articles by:

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of the 1979 Overseas Press Club of America award for the article “Missing or Disappeared in Argentina: The Desperate Search for Thousands of Abducted Victims.”

Weekend Edition
February 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Matthew Hoh
Time for Peace in Afghanistan and an End to the Lies
Chris Floyd
Pence and the Benjamins: An Eternity of Anti-Semitism
Rob Urie
The Green New Deal, Capitalism and the State
Jim Kavanagh
The Siege of Venezuela and the Travails of Empire
Paul Street
Someone Needs to Teach These As$#oles a Lesson
Andrew Levine
World Historical Donald: Unwitting and Unwilling Author of The Green New Deal
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Third Rail-Roaded
Eric Draitser
Impacts of Exploding US Oil Production on Climate and Foreign Policy
Ron Jacobs
Maduro, Guaidó and American Exceptionalism
John Laforge
Nuclear Power Can’t Survive, Much Less Slow Climate Disruption
Joyce Nelson
Venezuela & The Mighty Wurlitzer
Jonathan Cook
In Hebron, Israel Removes the Last Restraint on Its Settlers’ Reign of Terror
Ramzy Baroud
Enough Western Meddling and Interventions: Let the Venezuelan People Decide
Robert Fantina
Congress, Israel and the Politics of “Righteous Indignation”
Dave Lindorff
Using Students, Teachers, Journalists and other Professionals as Spies Puts Everyone in Jeopardy
Kathy Kelly
What it Really Takes to Secure Peace in Afghanistan
Brian Cloughley
In Libya, “We Came, We Saw, He Died.” Now, Maduro?
Nicky Reid
The Councils Before Maduro!
Gary Leupp
“It’s All About the Benjamins, Baby”
Jon Rynn
What a Green New Deal Should Look Like: Filling in the Details
David Swanson
Will the U.S. Senate Let the People of Yemen Live?
Dana E. Abizaid
On Candace Owens’s Praise of Hitler
Raouf Halaby
‘Tiz Kosher for Elected Jewish U.S. Officials to Malign
Rev. William Alberts
Trump’s Deceitful God-Talk at the Annual National Prayer Breakfast
W. T. Whitney
Caribbean Crosswinds: Revolutionary Turmoil and Social Change 
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Avoiding Authoritarian Socialism
Howard Lisnoff
Anti-Semitism, Racism, and Anti-immigrant Hate
Ralph Nader
The Realized Temptations of NPR and PBS
Cindy Garcia
Trump Pledged to Protect Families, Then He Deported My Husband
Thomas Knapp
Judicial Secrecy: Where Justice Goes to Die
Louis Proyect
The Revolutionary Films of Raymundo Gleyzer
Sarah Anderson
If You Hate Campaign Season, Blame Money in Politics
Victor Grossman
Contrary Creatures
Tamara Pearson
Children Battling Unhealthy Body Images Need a Different Narrative About Beauty
Peter Knutson
The Salmon Wars in the Pacific Northwest: Banning the Rough Customer
Binoy Kampmark
Means of Control: Russia’s Attempt to Hive Off the Internet
Robert Koehler
The Music That’s in All of Us
Norah Vawter
The Kids Might Save Us
Tracey L. Rogers
Freedom for All Begins With Freedom for the Most Marginalized
Paul Armentano
Marijuana Can Help Fight Opioid Abuse
Tom Clifford
Britain’s Return to the South China Sea
Graham Peebles
Young People Lead the Charge to Change the World
Matthew Stevenson
A Pacific Odyssey: Around General MacArthur’s Manila Stage Set
B. R. Gowani
Starbucks Guy Comes Out to Preserve Billionaire Species
David Yearsley
Bogart Weather
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail