Discerning Trump’s election
Jesuit theologian Gerry O’Hanlon first reaction to the election of Donald Trump as President of the USA was dismay. Then he began a process of discernment, wondering what was really behind his election. In this interview with Pat Coyle of Irish Jesuit Communications, he says there are a large section of people who feel alienated from the establishment – an ‘elite’ – whom they feel are far removed from their position.
He accepts that the responses are often extreme – electing a President with distasteful views or leaving the EU for insular reasons, but says they are pointing to something deeply wrong at the heart of the current system. He says the current economic model is broken and it can only be fixed by “daring, radical and imaginative thinking”. We need people of vision in both secular and Church life who will articulate a new vision for humanity in the 21st century. “Pope Francis is such a person”, he claims. “So is our President, Michael D Higgins.” They speak out about the injustice of the way the world is organised – the economy of inequality and social exclusion, he says.
But we need to find more voices and leaders of vision who are willing to delve deeper and address what is missing in people’s lives. He also looks at the role religion might have to play in finding a new way.