“America First” was one of Donald Trump’s catchphrases during the Campaign, from which he emerged as America’s 45th President. This refrain continued into his Presidency and so has it epitomized his first month in office.
Clearly Donald Trump envisages a different America from the one of the 21th Century. It is the America that used to be; one with a large territory [seized from the Red Indians] divided among a few Whites, a booming economy [built on African slave labor] for the rich to get richer, and [male] prestige; like without the United States, the war against Axis fascism would have been lost.
Donald Trump covets that day when America was beyond reproach or comparison with any other. There was no China or N. Korea being reckless, unfettered [with no consequences]. Moreover after the Cold war, it became even more apparent – the brain and the brawn in the whole universe was singularly the United States.
Upon this background Donald Trump gets elected, and the first chance he gets, he resolves; some past should be resuscitated – nationalism as the 1800s knew it. He sanctions a wall to be built over Mexico. Proposes a 10% ($54bn) military budget hike. And of whether Muslims should mix with Americans… he is pondering…
But as he ponders [how to (explicably) abolish] mosques in America, he stops refugees from entering his country. And there’s an alibi – immigrants could be terrorists. Really?
President Trump’s “American Dream” seems to lie in the conviction that America’s facade of friendliness with all People around the world and symbiotic relationship with which, tails off the “right” of the “Emperor” to rap over the knuckles of his “Colonies”. This makes America not great, as any Billionaire Boss would interpret great.
It’s why he’d have to be “tough” – although now there’s a snag – the media. It is the only obstacle in his way; he thinks they are an enemy to the concept of America First. So, if they won’t help justify his radicalism, well, they should shut up. He is gagging them and they [media] fear suffocation could be precarious.
These longtime PR firms of the United States fear for what they have achieved until now and will not be standing idly by as their President brings years worth of propaganda to naught – The New York Times, BBC, BuzzFeed News, CNN, Politico, The Los Angeles Times and The Huffington Post, NBC, among others.
Internationally acclaimed journalist, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour weighed in this week, quoting the New York Times: “The unrelenting attacks on the news media damage American democracy. They appear to be part of a deliberate strategy to undermine public confidence and trust by sowing confusion and uncertainty about what is true. But they do even greater damage outside the United States, where America’s standing as a global beacon of press freedom is being drastically eroded.”
Key Republican political figures like Senator John McCain have decried Trump’s beef with the media, calling it despotic, before the former President, George W. Bush came out as well and spoke up, augmenting the need for Press Freedom.
But Is Even This Really Sticking Out For The Growing Democracies Around The World? Or Is It Posturing!
This is the paradox. Americans [Democrats and Republicans] have this thing with chauvinism. They call it Exceptionalism. For as they begrudge Mr. Trump’s radicalism [as affecting other people’s democracy], you can’t help but wonder whether they ever have pondered also how their evidently controversial rendition of pragmatism [democracy] has been suffocating Africa for years? One good thing about President Trump Is That at least he’s Honest About What America Has Always Been!
American Exceptionalism Has Simply Menaced All African Political Sanity And Serenity.
Now, I grant it to the Americans who also hang on to their respective successes as their “Exceptionalism”. They are undeniably unique. However, I sternly dissent it when they misunderstand every other civilization to be a second-rate class of humans.
Ironically there’s no better articulation of the sacredness of all humanity than as written in the original text of the United States Declaration of Independence;
“… all men are created equal… they are endowed by the creator…” it read.
This Declaration projected in itself a spirit of prudence – that America could be a world leader not by duress but by its exceptionality of ideals. It is really unfortunate, however, that all was just a man’s reverie – vis-à-vis the mainstay of Americanism – bigotry. When the original copy of the Declaration reached the Congress, for final approval, it met a sharp contradiction between the claim that all men are equal and the existence of slavery – which they never wanted to let go of.
As a result, alterations were made of the transcript and also deleted nearly a fourth of the draft, including a passage critical of slave trade.
Following the Declaration, Slave trade abolitionist, Thomas Day came out and called this an explicit show of hypocrisy. And in his response, he made a very crucial statement that, I think, is still very relevant to the discussion on how USA projects its power around the world even today.
He said: “If there be an object truly ridiculous in nature, it is an American patriot, signing resolutions of independency with the one hand, and the other brandishing a whip over his affrighted slaves.”
I venture to contend that America has never reformed its stance of two-facedness – notwithstanding the voice of reason always therewith but, of course, will never get to sculpt what comes out as policy, let alone foreign policy.
In his earth-shaking speech of 2013, in South Africa, President Barack Obama at the Memorial Service of the great African Statesman, Nelson Mandela said;
“It is hard to eulogize any man… to capture in words not just the facts and the dates that make a life, but the essential truth of a person… their private joys and sorrows; the quiet moments and unique qualities that illuminate someone’s soul. How much harder to do so for a giant of history, who moved a nation toward justice and in the process moved billions around the world…”
And President Obama continued; “Mandela understood the ties that bind the human spirit. There is a word in South Africa – Ubuntu – a word that captures Mandela’s greatest gift: his recognition that we are all bound together in ways that are invisible to the eye; that there is a oneness to humanity…”
Not surprisingly, Africa has always been a broadminded people. However, what is good of all this courtesy, if there’s absolutely no reciprocation of civility, nothing to back up any belief that such as Mr. Obama’s oratory is at all sincere? We cannot so be patronized forever – speeches, speeches and nothing but speeches. For until 2008, Nelson Mandela remained on America’s watch-list of the world’s most notorious terrorists.
Times have changed; we will not allow to continue to be talked about as daft in the private meetings of the oval office because we are being tolerant a second longer. For in as much as we all love USA [whether by conviction or convenience], it is here where we begin to wonder who is counting the cost of its deeds despite its rhetoric.
According to President Obama, “Madiba insisted on sharing with us his doubts and his fears; his miscalculations along with his victories. “I am not a saint,” he said, “unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”
It was precisely because he could admit to imperfection – because he could be so full of good humor, even mischief, despite the heavy burdens he carried – that we loved him so.” Mr. Obama drummed.
In the same spirit; should it not be incumbent upon the “West” to own up to the myriad of mishaps they have caused around the world? Otherwise why else do we love Madiba – if not for the nobility of possessing some remorse? Or is it not a [democracy] thing to demand for audit? Everyone, I think, should be compelled to seek to know where to find any American perpetrators if they’re ever found to be with similar practice as, according to the Americans, the iniquitous Omar el Bashir’s.
For at least we know indignation will not fail to come to us [on this side] who do not adhere to America’s priesthood – On Thursday, May 12, 2016, the American and European diplomats walked out of President Museveni’s Swearing-in Ceremony at Kololo Independence Grounds, since, apparently, they could not breathe the same air as some of the host’s felonious guests – like President Bashir. Fine, but we should also know that the yardstick is universal for all men – whether African or American.
It is strange how almost only Africans are on ICC’s criminals list today, just like Nelson Mandela was, before Mr. Obama and a cloud of citizens of all walks of life swarmed on South Africa – like never seen before, only to celebrate a life of a man who not long ago had been perceived a delinquent.
As irony would have it, an assemblage of world leaders put in an appearance, including a posse of past American presidents, inevitably to pay tribute to this African, who according to President Obama’s signature speech, every human could only learn from – especially about not being too censorious of other people.
It would be prudent for someone from the West to eat a humble pie some time, just as to appreciate that no one has any monopoly of getting it right. Mandela got it right the first time; it literally took the Western bureaucrats years to cope.
Furthermore, allotting a Benefit of Doubt to African leaders would, maybe, go a long way in speaking for the honesty of the West, especially if they are to be freshly perceived as committed towards the progression of the new democracies and good governance.
Our friendly West ought also to appreciate that putting African leaders onto a pedestal, seldom for applause but scrutiny, equally puts them [accusers] under examination – even if just to be sure who is making the jury!
In calling out for prosecution of African leaders, the world seeks to know, for example, if USA has ever considered adjusting its law to allow room [for it] to subject itself to the International Criminal Court, ICC as everybody else. That would be such a superb archetype of leading by example. Until that happens the West is continuously being seen as bullying African leaders – especially by use of the local civil societies they sponsor to lend credibility to the witch-hunt.
Otherwise how does the United States then reconcile its constitutional precepts [of sacredness of the right to liberty, freedom and equality of all men] with skimming through our fledgling democracies all the time and frowning on us two-thirds of that time?
As the fight against radicalism rages on, I think, America ought to revise its approach to Africa’s men. It is hapless to hop on to merely clamorous, topsy-turvy Opposition political groups to oust whatever is perceived as non-compliance to Americanism; it’s only a recipe for anarchy. Syria, Libya, Iraq, Egypt vindicate this claim rather splendidly.
In any case, howling out anecdotes of Democracy is no more a measure of scope or goodwill for rule of law than it is a hand to massage the magnanimous emotions of American [so-called] democrats. And history better informs us on this; it’s not like Idi Amin Dada ascended the throne without the help of overzealous “foreigners”!
If I would advise anything, it would be to our “Developed Westerners” to make a complete overhaul of their policy on Africa – one built on mutual respect – especially in practice. Otherwise favoritism or removal of it; is only swelling a bubble of mistrust and disgust! If this bubble bursts, next generation’s extremism could be of Pan Africanism set against American Jingoism.