The year of our Lord 2021 is here with us. There is no doubt that Covid-19 has made and continues to grab the limelight for all the wrong reasons. But somewhere on the globe, there is the small matter where one of the greatest institutions ns the world is being put to the ultimate test, by one of the “greatest” nations on earth. Since the November 3rd Presidential elections in America, President Trump (for now) has embarked on an orgy of contests against what personifies the will of the people. But far from seeing this play out as just a spectacle of an adult child in a tantrum, Trump’s behaviour has inexplicably underscored and exposed the fallacy of democracy and underbelly of the American society.
America was founded as a nation that believed in the superiority of one group to the other. America has always toyed with the fallacy that it is a land of equality and freedom. Posing as the High Priest of Democracy, it has spent its entire life span trying to teach the rest of the world, what democracy tastes like; using whatever Machiavellian methods at its disposal to justify its methods. Ranging from coup d’états, espionage, fermenting and sponsoring internal uprisings from far and wide across the globe, America has successfully hoodwinked the rest of the world that it was democratic. America is now facing the true test of democracy.
So, when America elected the first black man as President, not once but twice, the world was unconsciously lulled into the false perception that America has finally arrived. But America’s underbelly did not only see this as an affront to their God-given superiority, but the audacity of an upstart. Many thought that America has done away with the last vestiges of its very foundation; the sense of the superiority of one group to another. Unfortunately, it was this audacity that reignited the dominant inner sanctum of the American psyche, which culminated in the anointing of King Trump. The election of Trump to the highest seat of power in America was not only a reawakening but a demonstration of “white grievance”.
But the white grievance coursing through the veins of the American society was not invented by Donald Trump. He just breathed life into and renormalized it into mainstream American society. All Trump did was bring back racism in vogue; making it a fashion statement and badge of honour. But what exposes the hollowness of American society is its ironically paradoxical relationship with the concept of democracy. With Trump at the helm, the world has been given the opportunity to see first hand, that America has been cheating democracy, during this courtship. Is America filing for divorce from democracy?
Let us even look at America’s version of democracy. Democracy has been widely accepted as the best form of political rule. Democracy is government of the people, by the people and for the people. It is only in America where one can win the popular vote by the people but still lose an election; thanks to a handful of people called the Electoral College. Even that is further subject to a group of people called Congress. What we are witnessing in America today is a spectator blood sports that we are used to seeing in places like Latin America and Africa. What Trump and his Republican lapdogs are promoting in America makes the likes of Mugabe, Emperor Bokassa, and Idi Amin, to name but a few look like political Van Goghs.
As far as the American political system allows, Trump is right to contest the results; but only if he has evidence to show voting malpractices that could have substantially changed the outcome of the election. Trump had banked on his conservative leaning judges to back his delusional escapades. Ironically, Trump used the law of the land, but refuses to obey the same law that threw out all his frivolous lawsuits; on points of law. How can he exercise his right to contest the results under the law but refuse to accept the ruling of the courts, who have the power to interpret the law?
But how did America get to this position in the first place? It is America’s own version of democracy that gave rise to Donald Trump in the first place. What is happening in America today was predicted by H. L. Mencken 100 yeas ago, on July 26, 1920 in The Baltimore Evening Sun Newspaper. Menchen predicted that “As democracy is perfected, the office of the President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron”.
When America elected Barak Obama, the first black President, the world believed that America had perfected democracy. That “great and glorious day” took place on June 16, 2015. In the basement of his Trump Tower building in Manhattan, in front of eight American flags, he declared that “Sadly the American dream is dead, but if I get elected president, I will bring it back,” he said. “Bigger, better and stronger than ever before.” Make America Great Again, America First, bla, bla, bla. The rest is history.
It will be naïve to conclude that Trump’s behaviour is only affecting the American society. But as America waits with bated breath for January 6 and 20, the rippling effects are already felt globally. So where is America going to get the moral high ground to comment on other politically deranged and undemocratic systems across the world? Any wonder why despots are running riot? Any wonder why America has taken the Fifth Amendment on the political gymnastics going on in places like Hong Kong, Belarus, and other places? How can one worry about the speck of dust in your neighbour’s eye, while you have a plank lodged under your pupil?
Under Trump, America relinquished its role to lead the world and filed for a political divorce. Like its cousin across the pond, America withdrew from world leadership and opted for political reclusiveness. And this was inexplicably translated as patriotism- America First. Some called theirs Brexit. Thankfully, Joe Biden will ensure that the decree nisi does not become decree absolute. But it is very easy to conclude that Trump is the architect of all the ills taking place today in America’s political system. This is not true, and Trump is only a product of the system who like the estate developer he was, is just subletting America’s “inner soul” to the” plain folks of the land”; much to “their heart’s desire at last”.
So, rather than deal with the pandemic, Trump has continued to spend his time wrestling with the pandemic for the headlines. He has literally given up any fight he had against the pandemic and turned his attention to fighting for his political life; which is now on the life support machine of his Republican enablers. As his behaviour continues to oscillate between the bizarre, the delusional, and downright ridiculous, you can’t help but wonder why many people are hypocritically so surprised. Trump’s insistence on lying is firmly grounded in the art of creating the illusion of truth. He believes, you “Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth”; which is a law of propaganda often attributed to the Nazi Joseph Goebbels.
In the meantime, many and especially his baseless base will be hoping that Trump will run again in 2024. Trump will not run again. He is currently preparing for life after the White House. He believes that his awkwardness will earn him immortality in American history. He would rather be remembered as the president who took America to the brink of civil war, than a one-time President who was impeached during the world’s latest pandemic. Like it or not, Trump has made history. Can’t wait for a library dedicated to him; as American custom demands.
Biden did not win the elections, Trump lost it. Compared to other elections, does any one remember what policies they contested on? Instead, Trump was busy telling Americans why he should not be given a second chance; hence Biden won relatively effortlessly. Trump let down his base, after assuring them of a win. He needs to keep them on side and will not admit that he failed them. That is why Trump has to demonstrate to his base that he fought to the last; the only redeeming feature left in an otherwise political orgy of delusional proportions.
The New Year has inherited the undesirables from last year. With the Covid vaccines, a Biden Presidency, and Brexit, the world waits to see America’s Democracy face the litmus tests on the 6th & 20th January,2021. The world is watching.
Don’t forget to turn the lights out before you leave the room.