Shot through the Heart

Zara C. Churri can help you understand why a Trumped world is moving backwards instead of forward

Shot through the Heart
Did you guys see that GIF where Donald Trump’s inauguration speech is compared to a dialogue spoken by Bane in The Dark Knight Rises (third installment in the Batman movie series directed by Christopher Nolan)? It’s so ”on point”, right? I honestly still cannot get over the fact that Trump is the 45th President of the United States. He’s such a cartoon. Like, recently, he sent out a tweet gloating about the fact that 31 million people watched his inauguration on television, which is 11 million more than the number of people who tuned in four years ago. I don’t think he realises that his TV ratings are actually a result of people not caring enough to show up at the inauguration in person. I mean, who wants to leave the comfort of their sofa and stand in the freezing cold for a Cheeto? But he makes for great television, as he has proven time and time again, and he really pairs well with Diet Coke and burritos.

Anyway, I’ve been having a tough time understanding how (and why) Donald Trump was elected. I guess one could argue that the US is actually a breeding ground for undercover racists (and xenophobes and homophobes and the works), and that Trump has set these people free from the shackles of political decency. One could also argue that Trump has done a brilliant job in pitting the American population against the government and portraying himself as the heroic citizen who is now going to infiltrate the machine and change the system from within *insert eye roll*. Finally, one could argue that the election of a reality TV star isn’t actually so strange, considering that the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, was an actor before he pivoted towards politics (this by far is the worst argument ever, simply because Reagan was at least a) good looking; b) made good films; and c) super anti-communist). Anyway, the local and global response to the Women’s March on Washington his past week proves that many people simply do not like Trump. So, why was he elected? Why did the world move backwards instead of progressing towards a better future?
Have you guys heard of Arrow's Impossibility Theorem?


“This is our Anam,” Auntie Ghazala stated as Anam walked into the lounge. She then gestured Anam to sit down right opposite a man who was never introduced to her.

Anam stared at the man before her. He looked like the kind of guy who spent most of his time sitting on the couch gaming and eating Doritos.

“So…do you like desi food or Chinese food?” the man asked, slightly hesitant but eager to make conversation.

“I like Italian food,” Anam replied, hoping that this ordeal would soon be over.



Have you guys heard of Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem? Well, it all starts with Marquis de Condorcet’s “paradox of voting”, according to which, when given a choice between three or more alternatives, there is no possible way to construct a social ordering of the alternatives from best to worst (bear with me). Consider that there are three voters, say, Anam, Sanam and Zara, and three candidates, say, Burgers, Pizzas, and Fries. Now, suppose that the voters are asked the rank these candidates based on preference. The following are the ways in which their individual preferences are ordered:

Anam: Burgers, Pizzas, Fries

Sanam: Pizzas, Fries, Burgers

Zara: Fries, Burgers, Pizzas

Now, based on these orders, one can say that Burgers are socially preferred since both Anam and Zara prefer Burgers to Pizzas and therefore win the majority. However, note that both Sanam and Zara prefer Fries to Burgers, and that this creates a tie. What’s the point? When you try to identify the best alterative for the whole group based on individual preferences, you realise that there is no order - it’s more of a loop or a cycle and you will end up where you started (perhaps this is why the world doesn’t seem to be moving forward anymore). Economist Kenneth Arrow basically takes this a step further and notes that one can never know the degree to which an individual prefers one alternative to the other. So, for example, Anam may love Burgers but Zara may simply like Fries. How is all this related to Trump? Well, it gives us an idea as to why most polls failed to predict the election correctly. It also kind of hints at the fact the Trump supporters may have liked him a lot more than Hilary supporters liked Hilary, and that their violent passions may have been the reasons for Trumps success (although, as Arrow suggests, we may never know).


“Okay, Anam, “her mother said as soon as the rishta walas walked out the door. Only the women of the house remained seated in the lounge. “You’ve seen three rishtas this week. Which one do you like best?”

“I think the first one was the best,” Auntie Ghazala butted in. “Yes, he doesn’t have a great education, but he comes from a well-off family and he is decent looking.”

“No, Ghazala,” Massi Naseem interrupted. “She cannot marry someone who wasn’t educated abroad. The girl won’t fit in. I think the second one is better. Yes, he doesn’t come from a very rich family, but he is educated and handsome and he will make enough to keep Anam happy.”

“Whatever you do, just don’t go for this last one,” Anam’s younger sister intruded. “He looks like a total noob.”

Zara C. Churri lives in Lahore