Democracy, Decency and Trump
If there was such a thing as the rational voter then Donald Trump shouldn’t be a few days away with the chance (no matter how small) from being elected as the president of the United States.
So they call him the comeback kid for losing $1billion dollars in a year; a genius for tax avoidance; a patriot for threatening to ban Muslims and build a wall. This is a man who tried to delegitimise the first African American president on a falsehood and has made countless misogynistic comments.
Check out the alternative scenario: if Barack Obama avoided paying taxes, he would have been labelled “unpatriotic”and “unAmerican”; or even a “community organiser” if he had lost $1 billion in a year; an “African dictator” if he had threatened a wall and a ban a religion; or a “substance-abusing rap music lover” if he had made a fraction of Trump’s misogynistic comments.
In other words, the things that would have made Barack Obama unelectable are what is driving Trump’s rise. The proffered justification is that Trump is an anti-establishment straight-talker who has the back of the angry poor White working class.
Such sham! With a name like Barack Obama and his heritage, who could have been more anti-establishment. And the last time he tried standing up for the working class, he was branded a socialist. What about the angrier Black voters who bear the brunt and live in what even Trump describes as hell.
Some also point to Hillary Clinton as untrustworthy, an establishment figure in bed with Wall Street. They will of course cite her email server, her husband’s philandering and Benghazi. And yes! they do have a point in her lack of judgement in some instances and lack of subsequent mea culpa over her emails. But one thing for certain is that she wouldn’t call on the leader of Russia – of all countries – to hack into email account of a fellow American.
Despite her flaws, Hillary Clinton is a decent human being who may have miscalculated on certain occasions, has been a victim of infidelity and did all she could to preserve her marriage and I’m sure many married women can relate to that.
The difference between the two is stark; Hillary Clinton is constrained by a higher sense of morality and limits – a position consistent with America’s role in the world. That is why Trump represents a threat to all of us. The man has no limits: and the list keeps growing including his bizarre 3am tweets and his sense of entitlement over women.
You see, the rise of Trump amongst his supporters is due to something more visceral despite the differences in his lifestyle and values with many of them. At its core, America is a deeply divided nation despite the collective strength of its diversity and the emollient characterisations by Progressives.
The irony is that while these diversities are essential for the different roles required for the growth of the nation, they create divisions and tensions between perceived winners and losers and require good policies to raise the welfare of all citizens: demonstrating that all lives matter.
Loyalty is good as is obvious in the display in the support of football teams, political parties or personalities. However this should not be at the expense of decency, morality and accountability. Regrettably, many don’t see past team colours, party colours or skin colour.
Past failures in stemming inequalities has created a society that has become too partisan, too unequal, too racial and too suspicious. The middle ground has shrunk and the rational voter has become an endangered species. Perhaps, that could explain the descent into personal attacks rather than the focus on policy differences. As it stands, I doubt if any of us watching from the sidelines understand the policy impact either choice will have on the rest of the world.
Like the Big Bother reality TV show, this has become a vote on personalities that gets even more bizarre with each passing day. Since when did it become acceptable to mock anyone’s health, hair, looks or dick size. Playground monikers like “Lying Ted” and “Crooked Hilary” have become substitutes for policy positions and frenzied chants of “lock her up” have reduced this serious business into gratuitous mindlessness – reality TV indeed!
But we cannot afford such crassness and gamble in these testing times when the world is undergoing serious challenges on globalisation, climate, religious intolerance and migration. We need a measured hand from America; not a groping hand.
So this is a plea from Africa to you all American voters, we are not asking you to elect the pope. However, preserving America’s greatness starts from home. Elect a decent human being who will be the face of freedom and respect. America’s greatness is based on partnerships with other countries and in projecting its values and influence. It’s not through building walls, incitements and pulling p*****s.
Restore our faith at least in decency and democracy and vote with your conscience. If nothing else, Angela Merkel, Theresa May, Christine Lagarde, Queen Elizabeth and all female leaders and wives of world leaders need your protection from this groper.
By Frank Oye