By Uche Chris
Mr. Donald J. Trumps’ presidency, climaxing in the invasion of Congress by his supporters on trump up claims of election rigging, would gone down in history as America’s darkest days. It brought to fore and in stark reality the pretentious nature of democracy, the foibles of man and the universality of his limitations. It does not matter his physical level of material development and social achievements, man is hardly different one from the other in his psychological constitution.
America is the oldest democracy in the world; one derived purely from the fertile imaginations of men, who incensed against and disenchanted with the prevailing political order of intolerant monarchies; armed with visions of an ideal democratic society where law and institutions determine political behaviour, set forth a template for modern liberal democracy, which has become the flagship of political development by which all societies are measured and compared.
Coincidentally, this imposed on the nation the self righteous privilege to judge other countries and determine what is supposedly best for them politically or democratically. This, of course, had earned it good name as well as bad. For democratically run countries, U.S. support is cherished and courted; for others, who desire to do it differently, U.S. is a nemesis. And so, the world had been framed and configured in the image of America, and others trying to recreate theirs.
It was this responsibility on America as the ‘policeman’ of the free world that led to its fight against communism, and eventually to the Cold war, before its collapse in the early 1990s. Ever since, America has continued to champion those values and ideals that inspired its founding and generally conduce for democracy and the freedom of man across the world to the envy of some and, anger and frustration of others; until the coming of Trump.
Trump’s election departed markedly from the American way of life, and fell into the cesspool of human idiocy characteristic of less developed and backward societies, such as those in Africa and other third world countries. It was a bad choice ab initio, compelled by deceit, misinformation and political manipulation from within and without. It was a choice of bad or evil over good literally defined.
Mrs. Hillary Clinton, in contemporary American politics, is arguably the most accomplished political figure by right and association. A three time first lady of the state of Arkansas; two term presidential first lady; a senator from New York, the financial capital of the world; secretary of state – the highest non-elective office; and most importantly, a woman of real substance and character. It was a straight choice for the American electorate, who actually voted for her, but their choice was thwarted by the connivance and treachery of a few bigoted and self serving politicians.
So Trump, a controversial man of means but questionable integrity was chosen in the name of politics – of course, aided by foreign media manipulations and institutional conspiracy. It was a choice that went against all the country stood for and is known for: Character, integrity and moral rectitude. Obviously, there are no angels in politics or even in real life, but America has been known to be specially painstaking and meticulous in their choice of president.
But not in the 2016 election of Trump, who against all opinion polls stole the show. It was clear that America has lost its moral bearing. Trump is Trump and will remain also forever; it is who he is, and he did not pretend to be different. Trump came with a message that resonated with most people but only he knew what it meant. His election in the name of democracy was the triumph of evil over good.
But if his election was a mistake, which in fact and truth it was, the failure to impeach him when the opportunity came was a disaster of monumental proportion, and an abdication of moral duty by the Republican controlled senate. At the point, it was obvious, even to the politically un-initiated, that the country had crossed the proverbial red-line – the Rubicon if you will. It was inevitable and a logical sequence and consequence of events that what happened on Wednesday January 6, 2021, was inevitable.
Political evil is not always perpetrated by the so-called bad guys; not at all. Evil usually assumes ascendancy when good people begin to support, excuse, and defend politically bankrupt morally repugnant positions and behaviours. Once a man or group can no longer freely distinguish between good and evil based on expediency, they have sown a seed of social atavism and political ruin. America should count itself lucky to have escaped this inevitable existential danger it would have confronted with a second term Trump presidency.
There are obvious lessons for the world and for us in particular: First, it is now evident that all men are on a learning curve; those ahead of the rest have little or nothing to boast about, because it is not about them but their historical social milieu. Second, no system is perfect; as good as democracy is, it still has its faults which Trump epitomized and orchestrated. Third, democracy is not about the people but law and institutions; without strong political institutions and rule of law democracy is as bad as they come.
Nigerians must take to heart the events in America going forward. Truth and morality are the basic minimum of every viable society and civilization. Once a society no longer accepts truth, and indifferent to moral issues of equity truth, fairness, and integrity it has mortgaged its soul and future.
We made the same historical blunder as the U.S. with the election of this government, and compounded our mistake with his reelection; while the U.S. found the courage and institutional strength to correct its mistake. A reelection of a candidate is an endorsement of performance and general acceptance; well, we have our own definition of performance and reelection. And don’t ask me what such is!