With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility – A Take On Triumph Of Donald Trump

The thematic and often-quoted (including by the Supreme Court of the United States) Spider-Man phrase ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ is widely attributed to Uncle Ben. The origins of the phrase pre-date its use in Spider-Man. In 1906, Winston Churchill said, “Where there is great power there is great responsibility”. In 1817, the member of British parliament, William Lamb, is recorded saying, “the possession of great power necessarily implies great responsibility,” even indicating that it was already a cultural maxim invoked toward government at the time. The sentiment is also attributed to Jesus of Nazareth in the Gospel of Luke, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required.”

So if a large section of both the US and the global population discounted Trump as stupid, arrogant and sexist, there is no reason to believe that as President of the United States, the most powerful nation on earth, he may behave the same way as he did when he was campaigning for the post of President along with Hillary Clinton.

After all, electioneering is about marketing. And like in love and war, everything in marketing is fair. There is after all only one objective. To beat the opponent. And Trump definitely had an edge on Hillary Clinton’s campaign purely in marketing terms. His statements were designed to be provocative. Take ‘Make America Great Again’. People who believed in that campaign line, just loved it. People who made fun of it like Barack Obama made the line even more famous and provocative than before. Obama secretly acknowledged the power of that campaign line by reacting to Trump’s slogan, by insisting “America is already great. America is already strong.” In comparison, Clinton’s ‘Stronger Together’ was one of those forgettable campaign lines, and one would have to struggle to understand what it really meant. If you understood too easily like some of you might have done, then it failed to be provocative, making it a loser anyway.

Controversy wins. People want arguments, not platitudes. After all the entire objective of any electioneering campaign is to get to the post of President or head of state or whatever, it’s not just about what you might do once you get there irrespective of the fact that the public at large might try to hold on to your election promises. But as has been proven through history the public memory is like Alzeimher’s. They both forget easily and forgive too easily. So you can expect that Trump as President of the United States is going to be very different, from Trump the presidential candidate bent on beating Hillary Clinton.

Also, a presidential candidate whatever he or she says is unlikely to affect the lives of the people. But as President of the United States everything you say, every decision you make, every second, is going to affect the lives of millions of people in the United States and billions of people around the world. It is difficult to believe that we will see the same Trump that was a presidential candidate.

There is a strong relationship between ascendancy and obligation. Even Voltaire spoke of it besides other great leaders. In the oeuvre of Voltaire who died in 1778, may have appeared the following passage.

‘The people’s representatives will reach their destination, invested with the highest confidence and unlimited power. They will show great character. They must consider that great responsibility follows inseparably from great power. To their energy, to their courage, and above all to their prudence, they shall owe their success and their glory’.

And finally, the triumph of Donald Trump might well be the triumph of democracy. Of course, Trump’s detractors might want to quote Indro Montenelli when he said, ”Democracy is always by nature and constitution the triumph of mediocrity.” But then democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people. And one can be sure that Donald Trump as President will make sure that the weak will have as much power as the strong in a brand new America. In marketing terms, this might be the much-awaited re-launch of America. A big blow for the propagators of Big Data. And a victory for those who support the superiority of intuition over data. The victory of the right brain over left brain.

Or is it just a part of the wave of the ‘triumph of whiteness’ which has swept the world from Brexit to Donald Trump? My mind goes painfully back to that song with Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin wailing in the Immigrant Song, ‘Always sweep with threshing oar, Our only goal will be the western shore.’

Maybe not anymore! Ah, ah, ah…… ah!




About The Author:

Prabhakar Mundkur is an ad veteran with over 35 years of experience in Advertising and Marketing. He works as an independent consultant and is also Chief Mentor with Percept H. All previous posts of Prabhakar can be found here.