On the Radio Namibia morning show I was asked the question as to what can Africa expect of the Trump presidency. It is a good question and its answer is seemingly critical to the fate and fortunes not only of Africa, but of the planet. In answering we can conveniently conflate the issues of truth, reason and justice, that we have traversed before, with the political perspective even though we/I might not be political experts.
Right off, as Africans with our rich endowment of wild animals, we recognise that the Trump family routinely indulge themselves in the gratuitous blood lust business of killing other creatures (hunting) on this planet for perverse pleasure and enjoyment. This cruelty of the defenceless is, to my mind, a sure indicator of the operational mode and culture of the Trumps towards other inhabitants of the planet. It indicates a culture of selfish dominance instead of empathy.
Is this culture of dominance indicated in Trump’s attitude towards humans? Is it a significant driving force in his personality? Do we see it as being a driver of his political agenda? If so, can it be squared with our need and insistence on truth, reason and justice? Any hard evidence on this question is critical. What is that hard evidence? Fortunately, the evidence is blindingly clear and simple enough to resolve.
Trump has repeatedly called his agenda a “revolution”. It is, just as Adolph Hitler’s was. Hitler named his “Nazism”. Trump does not yet have a name but he does have a slogan; a slogan that is trumpeted loud and clear by him and his delirious supporters. It is “Make America Great Again”. So, the obvious question that arises is – what exactly is meant by this slogan? The answer is very, very revealing on the critical issues of truth, reason and justice.
Obviously, the slogan is a call and commitment to return to an America of the past. In lamenting the real and imagined current socio-economic and political disparities in America that he calls “carnage”, Trump makes no reference to the “Constitution, human rights or social justice”. The glaring absence of such referencing must be of concern to us.
So we ask the question why this absence and we get the answer. America of the past was a reality of systemic race, ethnic and gender inequality. That is why there were the 1965 Selma Marches and the civil rights struggle. That is why Dr Martin Luther King Jnr made his iconic 1963“I Have a Dream” speech. It is return to that America that Trump and his base are committing to, no more, no less.
Dr Martin L King was challenging systemic inequality and injustice. He was pleading for a commitment to a road map of courageous empathy. America did respond positively albeit with great difficulty. It took that road and slowly marched forward. To its enormous credit, it reached a stage where it twice elected a “black” American, Barrack Obama, as its President.
Trump’s “Make America Great Again” is an express commitment to reverse all that. It is a clarion call, central to the Trump political ideology, to restore the previous America of White male dominated race, ethnic and gender inequality.
This proposition obviously includes a charge of racism on Trump’s part. Does the evidence support such a charge? Undoubtedly it does. You see to brand ALL Muslims as terrorists because SOME are, is racist bigotry. To reference ALL Mexicans as rapists, drug dealers and criminally deviant is racist bigotry. To contend that a Judge is biased simply because he is of Mexican extraction is racist bigotry. It is all too clear that Trump is aping Hitler who made Jews and the Polish the scapegoats for real and imagined German problems. Trump targets the Mexicans, Muslims and all non-Americans, especially the Chinese who he repeatedly attacks and insults. He has taken the stance that Americans are being cheated and under threat of attack by everybody and anybody.
All this is the very antithesis of the American Constitution and the Universal Declaration of human Rights. All this is an express repudiation of the fundamental insistence in these sacred tomes that a culture of equality and mutual human acceptance must reign supreme. With Trump it is about dominance by his grouping.
For us Africans we have no option but to have regard to the fact that there is no Black grouping … no credible Black leader(s) that support Trump. The reason for this is that the only meaningful interaction he has had with Black folk is when he was sued for active discrimination against Blacks as regards housing. In addition it should be noted that of the 24 or so members of his nominated Cabinet there is just one Black male, Ben Carson and just 4 women. The audio tape on which he admits criminal sexual assault on women, as a matter of habit, confirms the level of his contempt for women.
In a nutshell, Donald J Trump espouses isolationism, protectionism and nationalism, the very things that have been a scourge in Africa starting with my own home country of Zimbabwe.
Trump’s ideology is nativism. In Africa we call it tribalism.
Trump is of comfort to a megalomaniac like Vladimir Putin but, on the evidence, he has nothing to offer the rest of mankind. There is no ubuntu. There is no humanism.