Under a grey sky, I made my way up the steep hill – more like a cliff – to the local Bronze Age cairns. A small sign, planted by a representative of the Directorate of Cultural Heritage, explains that the cairns are about 3000 years old and that most Bronze Age cairns in this country are far from where their builders lived. They are in high, out-of-reach places overlooking the sea.
I clamber up this barely visible track a few times every year, for the view of the river delta below and the mountains beyond followed in the distance by more blue mountains.
What on earth could have induced Bronze Age farmers – for apparently people had turned to farming by then – to lug the dead body of their chieftain up such a steep incline? According to the sign, his body would have been incinerated, placed in a stone cask and covered with stones, most so large that no single man could carry them.
Evolution has not changed us much in 3000 years, I am told. New-born babies today probably look exactly as they did back then, aside from being bigger. Those men – who knows if women followed them up the hill – would have felt awed, as I do every time I get to the top. Maybe they thought that from his sheltered stony bed, the dead man would see what they could not see from down in the valley, and would somehow warn them of impending threats.
At the graveside of somebody who died 3000 years ago, with an entirely different outlook than was his, I gaze at the great river and the tremendous expanses before me, and feel that here and now, I understand everything.
Even under a grey sky, I am bathed in light up here. I realise at last my mistake: It is not so much the ignorance of the Trump-voters that should worry us, as the legitimacy of their anger. True, there is no doubt that Donald Trump is terrifyingly ignorant and reckless. He’s the sort of man who shouldn’t be given a driving licence. But he speaks for a very large number of people, so large a number, that perhaps we should sit back and listen. What are they saying? Why are they so angry?
Moreover, I think he’s right about his opponent’s being an international liability; not more so, albeit, than were previous US presidents.
Trump’s voters claim they have been disinherited. The American dream is no longer theirs. Trump blames immigrants, Obama, women… whatever have you, and the rest of us are appalled. But at the end of the day, the facts are clear: Hillary will not even begin to address the claims of America’s countless dispossessed. She will not redress her country’s past wrongdoings against Latin America, not to mention the Middle East, for which the US of all configurations has so many crimes against humanity to answer for that there will never be forgiveness. She will continue as her predecessors, making havoc of the Middle East and raising the number of dispossessed people in her own country.
Let’s face it: The US is a mess. The country is doing well again, financially, but a large segment of its population is not benefiting from its recovery after the meltdown.
Trump’s voters love him because of his outspoken anger. Finally, somebody dares swear and curse at the establishment. People who have not lost out in the shift from factory to Silicon Valley find him repulsive.
I myself find him repulsive, but I tell myself now: Beware: He is a rebel. Can’t you see his similarity to James Dean?
At this point of my analysis, I am cautiously descending the incline, golden leaves falling slowly around me like great big snow flakes. The birch trees, guarded by stern, unaffected pine sentinels with drooping branches, are preparing for the long winter night, trembling already, discarding their lace underwear.
Pines are like the people who used to inhabit these parts: Unsentimental, unsmiling and unforgiving, like Trump’s voters.