GUEST BLOG: Bryan Bruce – How will we explain Trump to our children?


Four years ago, just before Trump was inaurgurated, I wrote the post I have copied below.

At the time I got quite a lot of heated reactions to it along the lines of “Be fair! Give him a go!” and other comments suggesting I stop writing posts (at least that’s the general drift of what they said 🙂)

As he is about to leave the Whitehouse this week and I’m still here I thought maybe it was worth reposting it.

15 January 2017

How will we explain Trump to our children?

By this time next week Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States.

He got there by lying and belittling people.

Will we tell our children “That’s how you succeed in this world” ?

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Will we tell them that “Money is everything” so avoid paying your taxes and your bills for as long as you can ?

Will we tell them “Wise up kid. The Golden Rule isn’t ‘Do unto others as you would have done unto you’ but..

..”He who has the gold,rules!”

Or will we tell them that having “a successful life” isn’t simply measured in money and that the meaning of life is to be found more in what you do for others – your family,your friends, your neighbours,your colleagues… your country – than what you do for yourself.

Will we tell them that’s why Trump will never be as loved a President as Franklin D.Roosevelt or remembered with as much affection and admiration as Mahatama Gandhi or our own Michael Joseph Savage.

Why? Because these men were self-less..not selfish..They inspired hope, not fear….believed that cooperation achieved more than conflict and championed truth and justice over lies and vendettas.

Will we tell our children that however bad the coming years of Trump’s presidency may become…. it will end.

That tyrants eventually fall….and that Trump will never have what he desires the most…..Respect.

Parenting and Teaching are two of the most important jobs in the world…for what we tell our children today will determine the kind of world we will have tomorrow.

Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.


  1. Hang on a minute , mate… what contemporary’s like to forget is Trump never ushered in a global world war as all the woke newsmedia aka George Soros or Rupert Murdoch said he would, that Trump not only staved off aggression with Kim Jong-Un but ended up in a relationship that was swimmingly good, and that Trump also, – when wining and dining the PM of China, sent a warning shot via a missile to a middle east air base, – and not only THAT, – gave fair warning so that NO Russian or Middle eastern allies personnel were harmed. And at the same time delivered a very direct demonstration to the Chinese PM while doing so.

    And the message was : Don’t f@ck with us.

    He told the NATO forces to pull their own weight, that the USA was NOT going to be their financial and military benefactors and subsidize their affronts and grievances with the Russians,- while maintaining relatively peaceful relations with Putin and Russia, he gave the two fingered salute to the globalists in the Counsel of Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderbergers,- and all that while exposing the Clinton Foundation as a conduit for funneling arms to ISIS via Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia to profit from the American arms industry.

    No wonder Obama was viewed as so impotent in curtailing ISIS. He had too many military industrial billionaires hanging on his coattails via democrats and ‘Killary’ to do anything but sign off every Tuesday for five years for sending drone strikes to kill innocent Iraqi and Afghani civilians, eh?

    As for these latest developments, – at least Trump has kept his shit in his own back yard. I think history will look back kindly on Trump. Give it 100 years and this woke generation to die off and he might be looked more upon as a ‘Stonewall Jackson ‘ or a ‘Ulysses S Grant’. That is if the revisionists haven’t got there first.

    You are not Americans, – most of you know little of American politics, and to comment from afar from lil ole Nu Zild as if you live in New York state or Georgia or Arizona is a bit rich IMO. You know about as much of the grass roots politics and feelings within the USA as you know about the states within Russia, – which is sweet fuck all.

    • 400,000 COVID deaths. Attempted insurrection. Uncountable lies, fraud, tax evasion, sexual harassment. Neglected duties, played golf instead. illiterate, incontinent, addicted to stimulants.

      Trump’s wars were against immigrants, minorities, reality, justice, and democracy itself.

      • And yet, if we were to balanced and look into other historical Presidents , would we not find other faults? JFK was a womanizer,… how does that sit with sexual harassment with the Left and the mental torture of Marilyn Monroe?

        And her eventual and tragic demise?

        And Lyndon B Johnson?… his successor?… A Democrat from Texas, waiting in the wings to take over the Presidency while in an airplane over Texas while the assassination transpired?


        And pretty much the same could be levelled at Johnson… Uncountable lies, fraud, tax evasion,- as for ‘Neglected duties’ ,… the same could be said for escalating the Vietnam war and rescuing the Bell company from dissolution by contracts to provide the war effort with helicopters. In fact many multi billionaires profited by Johnsons gratuitous handing out of contracts to military industrialists.

        We are talking the deep state and their influence on Capitol Hill, here.

        illiterate?… well he sure appealed to more than just the deplorables.

        Incontinent?- lets get a medical opinion and does that really effect the top job ? Seriously? – Oh c’mon.

        Addicted to stimulants?- again just c’mon…

        What exactly? Can you prove it ?, – and if you can?… are you the arbiter of judgement of what constitutes someone fit for governance? Really?!!?

        He made it to the top job of the worlds most powerful nation,- don’t you think he would have been vetted?, – have you been vetted?

    • Hmm well I read the New Yorker daily and have done so for many years.I have visited the States and am aware of the huge contrasts in the country between the people the geography and the culture, and I have studied American literature. The people most negatively affected by Trumpism( racism) have been Black Americans, and the poor generally. Also women, but i won’t go into the loss of abortion services for American women under Trump as it is too much for this comment . It is Black Americans who have organized and done the hard yards to defeat him because that is what it took to throw the vile narcissistic twat out.Black Americans voted in droves twisted the arm of the Democrats on Child Care and Elder Care to revoke Trump’s gutting of Obama Care. Screw the world stage , he is a fascist and a racist and the pandemic sealed his fate. He simply didn’t give a fuck about the American people he was there for himself and his greedy incompetent family and entourage.The most grotesque parade of shills ever assembled.You are entitled to your opinion Wild Katipo , but you missed 90% of the reality of Trump’s reign.

      • OK, but he kept in his own back yard.

        And that’s the democratic will of the American people. I would question the howling mobs who suggested that Trump would be the author of WW3.

        It didn’t happen. Now who spread that about? And who financed and encouraged the riots at the beginning of his presidency? The guy was plagued by continual civil unrest. Who did that? What was the motive? Who stood to gain? Why would you risk the stability of the single most powerful economy and military of the world by internal unrest?

        Was he a threat to people with vested global interests? You bet he was.

        Now I was not one way or the other , but I did note as any thinking person would have,…that much of that opposition was well orchestrated, – and well paid. And that turned me off the B.S because it was so damn obvious.

        Lets not forget that there are many, many ‘racial minorities’ that are multi billionaires in that country. Why were so many so silent? So many of them ‘captains of industry’. I think sometimes that the left, – the woke left,- are so obsessive about ‘race’ that they are equally as bad as their traditional targets, – the middle aged ‘privileged’ white males.

        Americas a big place. There are many ethic groups there. And many of them have risen to economic and political power. Regardless of ethnicity. I think this is more political than racial. As Trump had many , many supporters of diverse ethnic backgrounds. Therefore the race card is invalid.

        So who really stood to gain with getting rid of Trump?

        • When we “talk to our children about Trump”, will we mention the the way the Democratic Party blocked, by fraudulent means, the candidacies of people like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, apparently because, unlike the Democrats themselves, these two were not Wall Street lackies. Trump wanted to “clean the swamp”.

          incidentally, Trump seemed to have more in common with FDR, economically, than many previous presidents, including, as far as I can see, the pair who will be inaugurated in a few days time.

    • Well Wild Katipo, Bryan didn’t mention any of the shit you espouse. Politics aside, Trump is morally corrupt.

      • Well Bert, I reckon they are all morally corrupt.

        I just don’t like folk putting forth a one sided argument without looking at the good someone has achieved for political purposes. Particularly geo political purposes that actually are to our benefit. Trump made a lot of mistakes, but what of the good he has done?

        Is anyone going to have the balls to stand up and balance that?

        Or is it all because he was a Republican and the ‘Left’ traditionally supports the Democrats?

        And BTW , – it was the DEMOCRATS who supported SLAVERY in the American CIVIL WAR.

        Check your history. Its true.

    • @WC.
      Et tu Brutus?
      My observation of trump differs from yours I’m afraid.
      trump is the child of a perfect storm of narcissism, psychopathy, greed and is plainly manipulative and exploitative and he’s not the only one, of course.
      He and his dangerous ilk are in plentiful supply in God Bless America. Land of the brave ! Home of the free! Unless you’re Native American, Latino, Black, Asian etc. Because it was those people he waged a war on. He never had the Balls to go toe to toe with ruhani, putin, jong un or jin ping or at least it was no doubt covertly ensured he couldn’t try. If he had, he’d a had his little orange balls kicked up his fat lazy dull minded orange arsehole.
      He’s only the tough guy showing his characteristic stiff lower lip, more an evil smirk of belittling contempt for those many lessors he’s certain there are when all he has to do to sate his murderously psychopathic inclinations is to execute a mad woman after his [kind] kept her in prison for decades because ‘justice’ an’ that dumbasses.
      The right wing generally are deeply dysfunctional and when in positions or power the become extremely dangerous. They’re unfettered by an even most basic level of empathy while they soar on how awesome they firmly believe they are and as they roar they weave the wide eyed and ignorant up in to their witch-like spells.
      I think trump got one thing right by accident however. He divided America. Yep. That’s a good thing and here’s why I think that.
      Those who’s innocent political malaise was their own undoing are now standing rigid in fear as they peer out through their bedroom curtains on high alert at who else might come along and turn a wonderful country into a dumpster fire as they die where they lie of disease and poverty as a painted psycho goon tries to “grab ’em by the pussy. ”
      History’s going to look back alright but not in the way you think. trump’s done for. Get over it.
      NB. AO/NZ should look very carefully at the lessons the U$A has to teach us. We too have our blustering buffoons and right wing narcissistic psychopaths. Aye boys? You’re watching a dumb fucking boat race in the harbour of a dead city walking as homeless people beg for coins while their are kids in some skanky motel going mad and hungry.
      “Disaster strikes as American Magic capsizes”
      “Social service providers sound warning over toll of emergency housing conditions”

      • Good stuff as always, but nope. I wont follow the trad Left line of thought here, other than that,…I am concurrent with most of what you say. Trump had glaring faults, but I cannot but feel ( and think ) that there was an orchestrated, deliberate, ruthless and dishonoring campaign against him by the likes of George Soros and the Murdoch press.

        And my alarm at that is: who are these people? What do they want. How far will they go and what are their motives? Are these billionaire media moguls really operating from a sense of democracy, free will and human expression?

        I don’t believe them for a minute.

        I believe they have an agenda and that agenda is far more contrived and involved with the deep state and their profit margins than Pres Trump ever was – call it paranoia or call it Trump being thick. The fact is Trump never caused the much publicized WW3 so many of the media prophets of doom gleefully foretold. Nor did he and his crony’s profit by it. And yet they could have.

        In fact he did the opposite.

        And in his parameter of Presidency, he did what he could, and you , I and the peoples of North Korea still live in a state of peace. I am talking geo politics, not national politics here. And for those reasons and others, despite his antagonisms of the ‘ Left’,…I think history will accord him well.

        • I will wait until after inauguration day to pass judgement on how history will treat Trump because geo politics aside, his own backyard as you put it, is a mess he created and could be a blood stained battlefield come Friday.

        • There seems to be a school of economics usually labeled “the America system”, which dates back to he Founding Fathers. Alexander Hamilton seemed to be its main architect, but also found adherents in Abraham Lincoln (assassinated) William McKinlay (assassinated), and Franklin D Roosevelt. The values inherent in this system: isolationism, protectionism and industrialization, were the values that “made America great”. John F Kennedy (also assassinated) was another who may have been an adherent.

          Trump seemed to be much in tune with this sort of philosophy, although one may doubt whether he was a true believer. However, the Democrats seemed very much opposed to the sort of thinking that the American system represented, which is probably why they hated him so much.

        • Deluded and obviously blinded by the buffoonish, charismatic, sunbed tanned bag of autocratic lard. Those who say Trump hasn’t started a war either don’t know or have conveniently ignored the billion dollar arms sales to that criminal in chief of Saudi Arabia, the murderous gangster MBS who is fighting a war against Yemen and killing tens of thousands of innocent civilians and children, now rapidly becoming one of the worst humanitarian crisis of modern times. Yes, Trump didn’t start a new war, so in this respect he will look better in the eyes of history than Dubya, but only marginally…he is still a war criminal, as most of the US Presidents have been, certainly in recent times. Trump is no exception and he certainly has not drained the swamp.

  2. How will we explain Trump to our children? – pretty easy, Neoliberalism has created the perfect storm for crooks and narcissists leading the world. Media owned by profit chasing narcissists helps keep the people focused on the trivial, while education is not longer something precious and important for local people, but a commodity to sell the flakey, bums on seats, courses to the highest punters around the world .

  3. Trump was a protest vote against globalism…. he maybe a crook and a narcissist (which is a reflection on the US legal system for white collar crime) but there may be something to be said for what Wild Kapito has to say. Trump kept his shit local, and the rest of the world might be better off for that.

    In NZ we are so brainwashed by neoliberalism we have allowed our government and media to develop a hate for our own identity so much we refuse to even allow our cultural institutions to be run by Kiwi’s…. “other is better”…

    “Since the first of Auckland Art Gallery’s 11 directors was appointed in the 1950s, only two New Zealanders have held the role – and one was an acting “fix-it” director who stayed less than two years.”

    Our educational institutions are increasingly run by academics coming from outside NZ and imposing their cultural views….

    Not just culture but throughout our educational systems, NZ has the now dubious reputation of the only country in the world where a student body lie undiscovered in a CHCH University hall for weeks and becomes so decayed they can’t even determine cause of death…

    CHCH uni leadership vision is held by another incoming migrant academic for the role, while the CHCH uni hall were run and owned by Australian business interests… Meanwhile Auckland Uni buys a 5 million Parnell mansion for their headhunted OZ chancellor. while closing down specialist libraries and destroying books. It seems tertiary education and academic direction in NZ, is led by people who have no experience living in NZ and commanding large salaries, while educational and moral standards fall… I wonder what is wrong with this picture????

    Trump is the Simpson’s come to life. NZ is similar, but due to our lack of interest in cultural values here, we will probably not see a parody operating culturally to warn us or have much academic dissent.

    Our media’s hack is to buy overseas shows and content and then put in a ‘NZ’ announcer to pretend it is local content or rehash the same tired ‘economic’ views and economists, same with culture and education here…. their advice have failed here for decades, time to change the record.

    • And the same media are now anointing Biden as the saviour for crying out loud? Biden didn’t even know he was going up against Trump a few months back, and has had his snout in the Washington trough for 50 years. And Harris doesn’t know who she is, as she plays a different level of identity politics depending on her audience.

      Yes Trump was terrible but every article has been negative for 4 years, and people are starting to see through their lies…even a broken clock is correct twice a day, and he generally tried to do the things he said was going to do.

    • Well said.
      Many local councils are being overrun by the Afrikaner Broederbond as well, all kiwis seem blind to it. They quickly surround themselves with like minds and then local government is run by the very worst of people kiwis could imagine.
      Corruption like you have never seen before is just around the corner.
      Kiwis are by far the best choice in any organisation I have worked with, yet every new job that is placed is given to a foreigner.
      Their wages in the corporate world don’t seem lower, so why is this happening, unless by design.

  4. Things must have gotten pretty bad for the American people for them to ditch their smooth talking hope and change leader for a game show host

  5. And another thing, whether people want to convolute things,… is Trumps nationalistic inclinations to avoid free trade agreements that lumped the USA into legally binding sub clauses that would in effect, cause the USA to be subject to prosecution from multi corporates if it was deemed any legislation impeded those same multi corporates from exacting profits ,… something with which , our very own Prof Jane Kelsey spoke against. And with which the most of us here were in agreement with Prof Jane Kelsey. Yes there were mitigating circumstances which most of us followed along with, while at the same time managing to rail at Trump. The best of both worlds.

    We as the Left in NZ felt let off the hook and gratified at being able to still sling stones at Trump.

    But Trump was a kind of nationalist, America first. Aka MAGA.

    And yet with all of our so called Left wing politics we managed to vote back in Adern as our Blairite conscience and salve , our bulwark against guilt feelings and our joyous piling in on Trump,…we had the best of both worlds. Our self righteousness, our boosting of our own sense of ‘this is how the world should be run’.

    Do you not think, … that much of this, is a cover up for the refusal to admit that homelessness, poverty in our own back yard, our own brand of racism, our out of control economy favouring the rich, and our COMPLETE AND UTTER FAILURE to turn around the neo liberal rot in this country is nothing more than a cowardly back patting exercise?

    The old adage- ‘look after your own backyard first’ rings true.

  6. Easy, Bill Clinton sent all the jobs to China, and removed Glass–Steagall (partly causing the GFC) then his wife tried to run for President and the American people said.. “we’ll vote for the other guy, at least it’s not a Clinton”.

    Pretty simple really. Hope that helped.

  7. ” what will we tell our grandchildren about trump ”
    I think the next generation will be more concerned of not dying in massive heatwaves , the shortages of food and water, and the power of the kinder face of capitalism that will ensure that only the richest will count and if you are born into a family unit that is already impoverished your chance of survival will be limited at best.
    The next wave of top twenties will be investing in underground dwellings where they are safe from the heat and the climate refugees above and can continue to live in comfort.
    Trump will be forgotten just like all the rest because the need to survive the climate extinction will be he most pressing concern.
    Trump has been a great side show for corporate propagandists who specialise in the absurd as entertainment while the real issues are trivialised.
    Now the next question will Biden complete his term of office or will Harris be POTUS at the next campaign in 2024 ?

  8. This must be straight out of the commie playbook.
    How the hell are we going to explain Obama and Biden, Bush’s and the Clinton’s.

    • Your definition of commie is about as simplistic as Trumps brain. However you have the freedom of choice to leave this wonderful country and live elsewhere whenever you want.

      • I never gave a definition Bert. I merely alluded to the repetition of lies. And yes, ain’t freedom a wonderful thing? Like free speech, self determination etc. Good day to you sir (assumption), enjoy the 6 o’clock news. Orange man bad.

  9. Let’s all just breathe through our noses and wait a few days shall we.
    Don’t forget Trump was selected,he didn’t force his way in.
    And the choice was between him and “her”; she of the “we came,we saw, HE DIED hahaha” remarks. Speaking of a man who was a gentle disciplinarian compared to what followed, horribly killed.
    And Trump ain’t gone yet, is he.
    He may be the ultimate disappointment, a climate change denying narcissistic moron.
    But I read the Marines are coming.
    Let’s just wait and see.

  10. Or will we tell them that having “a successful life” isn’t simply measured in money and that the meaning of life is to be found more in what you do for others – your family,your friends, your neighbours,your colleagues… your country – than what you do for yourself.

    Sound advice, but why anyone would want to use any US President post WW2 as role a model is beyond me.

    The conversation needs to be quite a lot larger than Trump if you really want to have an honest discussion about morally corrupt US Presidents.
    Taking the position of selective moral outrage because it suits someone’s certain political ideology, ain’t going to cut it if your intent on being honest with your kids.

    The overall conclusion reached is that the United States most likely has been responsible since WWII for the deaths of between 20 and 30 million people in wars and conflicts scattered over the world.

    To the families and friends of these victims it makes little difference whether the causes were U.S. military action, proxy military forces, the provision of U.S. military supplies or advisors, or other ways, such as economic pressures applied by our nation. They had to make decisions about other things such as finding lost loved ones, whether to become refugees, and how to survive.

    And the pain and anger is spread even further. Some authorities estimate that there are as many as 10 wounded for each person who dies in wars. Their visible, continued suffering is a continuing reminder to their fellow countrymen.

  11. As an almost boomer, without kids, but nieces and nephews, I would explain the situation to them as “sorry guys we fucked up big time. Most of us ignored the implications of neoliberalism, and when it became all too apparent to those who were in the know, such as me, we thought we could change things by simply warning each other of the dangers, while the proponents spent their money and energy understanding the psychology of the human mind and made sure there was no way we could ever reverse the greed and destruction they were causing.
    We should have got out on the streets and laid our bodies on the line for the future, but you know, we were too comfortable to have to worry about that expenditure of energy.”
    In my simple mind, we accept too much BS from social media and our politicians. Psychology has dictated that anyone not happy with BS is labelled a Karen, oppose the system you are a terrorist.
    The article from Grant Robertson 5 or 6 days ago saying anyone who was not mainstream is someone to be feared shows exactly how close we are to a malevolent takeover by a facist government.
    People need to start threatening a revolution, before it is actually imposed on us.

  12. “what will we tell our Grandchildren about Trump?”
    That he was a loud mouth philandering New Yorker who became President of the US and divided the country,
    OR will it be the man of vision who offered American’s a view of a revival of the “American Dream” by “Making America Great Again”
    Some 73 million Americans who voted for him will see him as the latter, a man of vision, a man who was never fully given the opportunity”to drain the swamp” and restore prosperity particularly to middle America.
    Both views are valid and will have their proponents.
    But a dispassionate view is that he was the first President since FDR to put America first, he saw him self as first and foremost the Patriotic Leader of the US and not as “the Leader of the Free World” which every other President in my life time of 70 years has tried to be.
    That is he chose not to be the worlds policeman and go about “bullying” or supposedly “saving” populations from perceived tyranny here and there around the globe. He did not take the US into any new foreign war that is the biggest break with normality that was Trump!!
    He attempted to return jobs lost from the US to China back to America with some success.
    He was first and foremost a nationalist who believed the US was for Americans not for all comers.
    The liberal promiscuous left will always despise him, the moral conservatives on the right will hail him as a hero.
    Now if Nancy Pelosi and Joe Bidden decide to persecute and pursue Trump, effectively martyr him that will irrevocably divide America and his support will grow from the 73 million to many more to maybe a real independent political movement.
    The significant history is that unfortunately which is already written for Joe Biden, he will go down as the President that finally destroyed the American dream (as proposed by Trump) and dragged divided America back into the swamp! He is the real looser from the reign of Trump
    Time will tell on how Trump is remembered.

  13. Pretty easy. Trump was a narcissistic and egotistical populist leader who was smeared by left-wing pundits and media to make him out as some sort of anti-Christ figure. Most people that didn’t like him is because of his general demeanor and jingoistic rhetoric, as opposed to actual policy – he triggered the woke left in a way that made him an incredibly polarising figure – people despised him and loved him in almost equal measure.
    Trump’s economic and foreign policy provided the US with some of the best growth seen in several decades, while inequality (an inevitable result of capitalism) continued to get worse. While he succeeded in smoothing over relations with Russia and North Korea, he antagonised China and Iran. His inability to battle CoVid combined with a relentless hostile mainstream media ultimately cost him a second term.

  14. Trump’s future is yet to be written.

    He has indicated he will be launching a media empire if he didn’t remain President, and all indications are that he will be more powerful from the end of March 2021 than he was over the last four years.

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