Former US President Barack Obama has observed a growing social divide in the USA – and sees the causes for this in his successor Donald Trump, among others. The country is more divided today than when Trump took office four years ago and “certainly more” than during his own presidency from 2008, Obama said in an interview with the British BBC.
Obama also blames the leadership style of the current incumbent for this development. Trump, he says, has “fueled” resentment between different sections of the population because it has supposedly benefited his policies. Obama referred in particular to the relationship of incumbent President Trump to the truth: A way of dealing with the truth has become established, which some people call “truth disintegration”, in which “everything is allowed and facts do not count”. This had contributed enormously to the drifting apart of parts of the population. He referred to the growing lack of understanding between rural and urban America and the great disagreement on issues such as immigration and social justice.
According to Obama, the problem is not a specifically American one, but has parallels all over the world. He sees them where people feel they are losing their footing on the ladder of economic advancement. Then they react by blaming other population groups.
Obama put hope in changes under newly elected President Joe Biden – but put the prospect of a quick recovery into perspective. “It’ll take more than one election to reverse these trends,” he said. Moreover, the fight against unfavorable polarizations within the country cannot be left to politicians alone, he said, but requires structural changes and mutual listening. Agreeing on “common facts” before arguing about what to do about problems is a prerequisite, Obama said. Biden had announced that he wanted to overturn Trump’s policy “from day one”.
On the other hand, there were “crazy conspiracy theories”, which parts of the US population believed. “There are millions of people who believe Joe Biden is a socialist” and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was involved in a pedophile ring, he said. He said that the spread of misinformation by some US media and the “turbocharging” of the dynamic by social services on the Internet were also responsible for this. Many conventional media, on the other hand, have increased their efforts to verify facts in recent years, Obama said.
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