Civility the glue that can help society during Trump era: Oxford scholar
Former Reginan Chris Kutarna says history can be a guide in uncertain times
Earlier this year, when Oxford University scholar, author and former Regina resident Chris Kutarna was asked if Donald Trump could win the U.S. presidential election, he answered "yes."
Trump was behind in the polls at the time, but Kutarna's reasoning drew parallels from history, including the Renaissance period, to indicate that as divisive a figure as Trump was, a win was possible.
Critics have called Trump a racist xenophobe who disrespects women — accusations he and his supporters have rejected. Other say his rise represents a rejection of political elites as well as anxiety about illegal immigration, terrorism and economic decline in rural areas.
Now, with Trump the president-elect after defeating rival Hillary Clinton earlier this week, Kutarna is using the same approach — taking the long view — to forecast what lies ahead.
In an interview with CBC Radio's Morning Edition host Sheila Coles on Thursday, Kutarna said looking back in history will help people understand what will happen next. Although technology has changed, humanity stays the same.
"If what we want to do is take the lesson from history, it practically screams at us that the right response is to stoke virtue," he said. "This was the whole narrative that millennials like Michelangelo and Da Vinci were speaking in their own time."
Ideally, Kutarna said, the common goal of civility should bring people together.
"Especially in a time like this, when there are all these shock events that threaten to pull us apart ... what brings us together is this sense of civility, that we all respect each other as civilians," he said.
With files from CBC Radio's Morning Edition