DailyTimes | The Public Sphere: Like Trump, like Imran

 

It was nothing like the past in the US – Donald Trump vs Secretary Hillary Clinton in the presidential debate. As it is nothing like anything in Pakistan – Imran Khan vs all.

I knew that Secretary Hillary Clinton will make it but the way she did swept me off my feet. In the end, Trump was squarely wrong about a woman’s “stamina”. He should think it over again, but without consulting Bill O’Reilly. Honestly, I did not want to see him fall like this.

What Trump is saying, Clinton is doing. He is calling for taking money from the rest of the world, she is doing it – but also saying it. The debate was and is never about the deeds. It is always about how communicative and expressive you are to make a point and to outdo your opponent.

You speak with every part of your body and your looks and posture matter. It is not about speaking the truth. Nah, it is about speaking to be listened to. Trump must have some good points to make about terrorism but he has gone into overdrive all along and had some simplistic notions about defeating IS and ‘Islamic fanatic terrorism’ – his favourite terminology.

He believes in media reports that the world powers are in a war with the aforementioned monsters and if so, why not join hands with Russia? Ask those being beheaded by these terrorists and they will tell you Mr Trump that the reality is otherwise.

Compared to him, Clinton is a strong lady in the habit playing with nerves men, not least when she told Trump that if he is offended by her preparing for the debate, rest assured that she has “prepared to become the president” too. And Trump could not say a single world in response.

Like Trump, Imran Khan also overrates his “stamina”, flaunting about it in public gatherings that he can go on delivering speech upon speech to no end, especially during his D-Chowk dharna. Like Trump, he too is quick to make fun of others for their looks among many other things. But he has, to his benefit, no rival like Hillary.

As sometimes it looks that Trump is the only candidate to run for president in the US, given the volume of coverage media gives him due to his fireworks, it seems Imran is the only politician in Pakistan holding rallies in almost all parts of the country on a higher than saner frequency.  It, however, is another story that some other political parties and leaders do not have the same leverage as he does.

Both Trump and Imran have simplistic solutions to complex problems. Shouting and half-truths are the essence of their arguments. Both pull crowds of the wealthy in urban centres. Both think that all but the two are corrupt and biased.

But there is one single difference in their fates. Trump has a woman as opponent, who can laugh at him and say “OK” when he set off a series of charges against her. A woman with the acumen and courage of admitting that keeping a private email system was a “mistake”. But Imran does not have a woman rival, who can look into his eyes and say, “Hey, I am better than you.”