By Des Wilson
January 20, 2017. Donald J. Trump is sworn in as America’s 45th President.
The man whom the media prophets and voodoo politicians had written off as a non-starter in the race for the White House is now the man who calls the shots in Washington – a place much detested by the groggy old man who had fortune thrust upon him by undecided, uncertain and suspicious chauvinistic US society. There is no doubt that the Trump phenomenon was bolstered by some misadventures by the Clinton campaign team and an incredulous public looking for a denouement in the US political drama.
The resurgence of atavistic and base political sentiments in 21st century American politics has given the liberals ideological goose pimples. Now the Klu Klux Klan, white supremacists, Nazis, racists, traditionalists, extreme Rightists, Uprightists in a complex coalition of extremists and men and women of primitive and amoral orientations have found a platform under the Godfather of backward thoughts – Donald Trump.
Mr. Trump broke every record in the history of American politics. Rejected by his party establishment, the outsider (the last one was Roosevelt) came from the blues to win his party’s nomination. Then he went further and broke all the rules of public speech, spewing out verbiage which sent everyone rethinking American politics. Then he weathered the storm in that sexist ‘locker room’ comment about women, and even some women hailed him for it. He slammed minorities and muslims and they still ‘voted’ for him, even after he had claimed that the election had been rigged before election day. That suggestion against the US election culture must have upstaged the Nigerian experience where political candidates often allege their opponents were oiling ‘plans to rig’ and on losing, would actually claim those elections were indeed rigged. Now one may ask, on whose side was the November 8 election rigged since Trump was declared a winner?
In my adult life, this is the very first time Americans have taken to the streets in protest against a winning candidate. What did that portend? In some other clime, that would have been characterised as a Third World proclivity. How did Americans feel seeing their country in the news burning and protesting as in Kano and elsewhere in 2011? It was a spectacle to behold. Indeed, for once I thought America was being degraded by her citizens to a third world status! Then the son of an immigrant, vows to deport recent ‘immigrants’ for not having proper documentation. May be someone should ask how Donald Trump’s father or grandfather got into the US. This threat brings to me a sense of de javu as I think those Nigerians and other Africans and Hispanics who will soon be on their way home or to Libya where they can join the boat people across the Mediterranean should quickly place orders for their GMG bags. This time the bags may be rechristened NMG – Nigerians must Go!
Perhaps, as one of his first natural duties on his first trip to Europe, Mr Trump must be able to lay a wreath on the tomb of Hitler. There never was a man so typical so much like Hitler in character since the Second World War than Mr Trump. All the indicators are there: When Hitler was ruing over the travails of the Germans, he found the Jews their scapegoats.
Ironically, the Israeli leadership has been reported as welcoming the President-Elect as a friend, and their friend is a friend to the philosophy of their Nemesis, Hitler. What an irony!
Trump has shown himself not to be an organisation man! He has called for and begun the process of dismantling every organised system in America, Europe and Asia. He hates the media like sh.t. He accuses journalists of distorting or falsifying news about him and he, in turn, does not have any scruples lying against them. His Press Secretary, on his first day of duty after Trump’s inauguration bombasts the media (or was that a friend fire?) to sore that they too can lie. The thought of this better-forgotten episode reminded me of the Russian Nobel Laureate’s assertion in his greet novel, Gulag Archipelago that ‘lie is the pillar of government.’
I really do not know how far this brinkmanship and showboating will last but I believe Trump has frayed not a few political nerves in his brief display of political infantilism. The world seems to be on edge because with a man like Trump you cannot tell what could unnerve him to the point that in his desperation not to fail the nuclear button could not be far away from his restless fingers! Let us watch and pray.
Des Wilson is a Professor of Mass Communication and former Dean of Arts in the University of Uyo