A specter is haunting America- the specter of Trumpism. Donald Trump believes he can mobilize disaffected White voters by exploiting their fears and prejudices. Trump’s strategy is to stoke the anger of certain white voters so that they will come out in massive numbers to vote for him and offset the demographic shifts in the United States that have handed Democrats electoral victories in the last two presidential elections. He thinks he can best accomplish that by spreading fear and loathing (Islamophobia) against Muslims and undocumented immigrants (xenophobia) and exploiting the racial fault line. Alemayehu G. Mariam, July 17, 2016.
Democracy is beautiful in theory; in practice it is a fallacy. You in America will see that someday. Benito Mussolini.
Author’s Note: I do not read tea leaves. I do not have a crystal ball to see into the future. I am certainly not a prophet.
But I am a reasonably good student of history, politics and law.
On November 13, 2016, I predicted the election of Donald J. Trump to the Presidency of the United States will usher darkness at noon in America.
I predicted America the beautiful where the sun shines brightly from sea to shining sea will be enveloped in darkness with the election of Donald J. Trump as US President.
Trump has been a total eclipse on the American Sun for the past four years.
Trump in four years has transformed the Shining City Upon the Hill into a Hamburger Hill of culture wars, white supremacy, social strife and needless deaths from a pandemic.
Woe unto the American people and “Hail to the Grief (Chief) to Come!”
Inconsolable grief befell America on January 6, 2021 as the entire world witnessed in shock and horror as darkness enveloped the temple of American representative democracy at high noon.
Donald J. Trump, occupant of the Office of President of the United States, incited an insurrection on the United States Congress and stoked his motley rabble to commit acts of terrorism against “weak” members of Congress.
Donald J. Trump, Jr. joined his father whipping up the emotions of the rabble, “We need to march on the Capitol today. And we need to stand up for this country.”
Eric Trump’s wife, Lara Trump, roused the rabble, “Our family didn’t get in this fight for just four years. We are in this fight to the bitter end.”
Donald J. Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani cried havoc and let loose the dogs of civil war, “Let’s have trial by combat”.
January 6, 2021 was the darkest day in the life of the American Constitution since the American Civil War.
Full video available here.
Full transcript of Trump’s speech here.
America under Donald J. Trump has been a grieving nation.
Over 400 thousand Americans have died of Covd-19 and over 21 million infected.
America under Donald J. Trump is a wounded nation.
Racism, sexism, white nationalist terrorism promoted by Trump have inflicted incalculable damage on the American body politic.
America under Donald J. Trump is a hurting nation. In the first week of 2021, 1.15 million workers filed initial claims for state unemployment benefits.
America under Donald J. Trump is a sicker nation. “The number of uninsured Americans has swelled, his administration has chipped away at the consumer protections guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), costs have risen for Americans with marketplace plans, and the nation is mired in a public health crisis.”
America under Donald J. Trump is a divided nation, half of whom voted for constitutional democracy and the other half voted for fascism in the name of constitutional democracy. Trump left no stone unturned to perpetuate his brand of fascism by crying havoc of a stolen election and unleashing his dogs of civil war.
America has been a nation of law enforcement disorder as Trump cranked out inflammatory rhetoric and racist dog whistles, told governors to “dominate” protestors, threatened to send in the military in the states authorized the use of violence against peaceful protestors outside the White House.
Excerpted and reprinted from my November 13, 2016 commentary available here.
Hail to the Grief (Chief) to Come!?
He was elected by the same rigged system he so vociferously complained about: “I’m afraid the election is going to be rigged, I have to be honest.”
Well, honestly, a rigged election has made Donald Trump president!
On January 20, 2017 at 12 p.m., Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States.
When the clock strikes 12 on January 20, 2017, will it be darkness at noon in America?
Mencken’s prophesy finally came to pass
Mencken, (the “sage of Baltimore”, the “Voltaire of America”) was an iconoclastic commentator with extraordinary insights into the American people and American politics.
In his book Notes on Democracy (1926) [an absolute must read for anyone interested in taking a hard look at American democracy], Mencken warned Americans against the kind of empty-headed demagogue who would preach pseudo-patriotism (“Make America Great Again!”) and become president.
As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. 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 adorned by a downright moron.
Mencken knew American voters and politicians better than most. Sadly, he did not think much about either.
Mencken thought the American political process mainly attracted quacks and charlatans. He lamented for American voters who were easy prey for the demagogue “who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.”
Mencken observed that demagogues in American politics “not only know how to arouse the fears of the mob; they also know how to awaken its envy, its dislike of privilege, its hatred of its betters.” The aim of the demagogues “is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
Mencken had an equally cynical view of the American voter whom he believed had little interest in liberty and “is not actually happy when free; he is uncomfortable, a bit alarmed, and intolerably lonely. He longs for the warm, reassuring smell of the herd, and is willing to take the herdsman with it.”
Exactly 60 years after Mencken died, his prophesy has come to pass!
In Donald Trump, we now have a glimpse into the “inner soul” of some of the people who voted for him because of his racism, xenophobia, misogyny and religious intolerance.
The creature of make-believe reality television who became famous telling actors they are fired and a self-admitted sexual predator who proudly talked about grabbing women by their private parts is now adorning the White House.
We now have a man adorning the White House with no political, diplomatic or military experience.
We now have an apprentice (how ironic!) from a television show playing the real role U.S. President in the West Wing of the White House.
We now have a man whose fingers are trained to shoot off twitter messages holding the nuclear briefcase controlling intercontinental ballistic missiles.
To add insult to injury, we now have in the White House a constitutional ignoramus.
Not long ago, the political pundits said the Republican Party was using Trump “as a clown to attract more voters for GOP.”
Trump was the butt of all jokes. They said, “It is possible to take him seriously and also remember he’s a clown. Yes, he’s a dangerous clown. He’s a clown with a knife, but at the end of the day, he’s still a f–ing clown.”
Seth Meyers at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner said, “Donald Trump said that he was running for president as a Republican. That’s funny because I thought he was running as a joke.”
The same miscalculation and underestimation was made when Nazism was on the rise in the 1920s.
American journalists who met Hitler were saying dismissively, “This guy is a clown. He’s like a caricature of himself.’ And a lot of them went through this whole litany about how even if Hitler got into a position of power, other German politicians would somehow be able to control him. A lot of German politicians believed this themselves.”
I never thought Trump was a “joke” or a “clown”.
As I have argued in my previous commentaries, I have always believed Trump to be a dangerous and demagogic Mencken-style narcissistic moron who preached pseudo-patriotism to get votes.
During his campaign, Trump clothed his racism, sexism, chauvinism and sectarianism with “populism”.
He advanced a veiled neo-fascist agenda. He propagated paranoia about an America in crises and decline and a dystopic America ridden by crime, violence and poverty.
He fed the American public a constant diet (with the active support of the mindless media) of paranoid conspiracy theories, disinformation and misinformation.
He demonized Muslims, criminalized Mexicans, condemned immigrants, dehumanized women, mocked the disabled and scorned the poor.
Trump sought to rise to power from the abyss of American despair riding the white horse of the Apocalypse “out to win many battles and gain the victory”.
Trump’s vision of making America great is by increased militarism globally to vindicate America’s lost honor and glory and restoring American imperial power, cracking down on racial, ethnic and religious minorities and immigrants and flouting civil liberties and constitutional principles.
Oh! What have the American people done?
Over the past few days, I have been asked by many overseas, “What have the American people done? What were they thinking?”
I cannot explain what has happened.
But Mencken had an explanation why American voters would one day elect a moron to the White House. “The mistake that is made always runs the other way. Because the plain people are able to speak and understand, and even, in many cases, to read and write, it is assumed that they have ideas in their heads, and an appetite for more. This assumption is a folly.”
In the end, even Mencken gave up trying to figure out the American voter. He registered his frustration: “No one in this world, so far as I know — and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me — has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.”
In other words, “no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.”
Donald Trump became president because some of us underestimated the intelligence of some of the American people, and now we have gone broke.
Pro nobis, ut Deus. (May God help us!)
Is it darkness at noon in America? Is America AmeriKKKa now that Trump is president?
I don’t see how America can win this race to the bottom.
I cannot imagine how a man who lacks basic civility and humanity can serve as a role model for American citizens, particularly young people.
What is equally concerning to me is how the American president is perceived throughout the world. Whether Americans like it or not, America sets the standard for music, culture, science, technology and even politics. The huddled masses throughout the world believe that America is a land of opportunity and a bastion of democracy. Billions of people watched the elections throughout the world than in America.
At the risk of sounding nostalgic, Ronald Reagan said, “America is a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere.”
Will darkness now descend on the shining city upon the hill as Trump rises?
It is easy to declare that at exactly 12 p.m. on January 20, 2017, there will be darkness at noon in America.
It is easy to imagine the Trump years will be horrific. It is easy to proclaim that in the Trump years the poor will become even poorer; the homeless population will increase; the sick will spend days waiting to get care in the emergency rooms and the environment being destroyed and the world will be a dystopia.
That would be giving into fears.
It would also denigrate the strength of American democracy and disregard the resilience of the American people.
America has undergone trials and tribulations before. But America is still here.
As a scholar and a gentleman, it is my obligation to see not only the darkness but also the light behind the darkness.
I subscribe strongly to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. prescription: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Trump’s situation reminds me of a character in Ayn Rand’s book “Atlas Shrugged”.
It is a book that depicts a dystopian and collapsing United States in which many of society’s most prominent and successful industrialists abandon their fortunes and even the nation, in response to oppressive government regulations.
In a conversation between the two leading characters in Rand’s book, d’Anconia asks:
If you saw Atlas — the giant who holds the world on his shoulders — If you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling, but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength. And the greater his effort, the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders, what would you tell him to do?”
The other character unable to answer flips the question back to d’Anconia who answers: “To shrug!”
Donald Trump to me is Atlas Donald now. He must carry the entire world on his shoulders.
So, in the end Atlas Trump, unable to bear the woes and burdens of the world might, might simply shrug it off.
Let it all go to hell in a handbasket!
That is my greatest fear.
But I ain’t afraid of no darkness!
In less than 24 hours, AmeriKKKA will become America to millions of Americans. Darkness will be driven out of the White House!