When I decided to write this piece, my initial thesis was to write why I think Americans should vote for Donald Trump in the Republican Primaries. Yes, I know that sounds crazy coming from me but there’s a method to my madness so please bear with me. Why Trump? Well, I thought it would be fun to watch the GOP completely destroyed by the monster they (unintentionally) created. I think if Trump gets the most votes but not enough to win outright, the establishment, who clearly cannot stand him, will usurp him at the convention. This will in turn further anger (there’s that word again) his supporters enough for them to break away from the party causing irreparable division and handing the elections to the Democrats. This, I thought, would be the perfect reward, and a historic lesson to the GOP for the hard work they did in creating this monster!
What monster and how is the GOP responsible?
In what everyone agrees is the craziest election cycle in the history of the US, one of the common themes I hear as explanation of all the madness is that “the people are angry”. I hear it (more) from the Republicans, the pundits, the media, heck, even the Democrats! With what we’ve seen, it’s impossible to dispute there is anger. However, I had to pause and ask myself “what exactly is the cause of said anger?” I suspect you then want to ask me how I can give credit to the GOP when we’ve had 8 years of a democrat in the White House?
To understand it, we’ll have to rewind a bit to 2008 to compare the states of affairs people say is the cause of anger – mainly national security, foreign policy, the economy.
1.September 11, 2001 had taken place under president George W. Bush’s watch. Several terrorists had entered the country, hijacked US airlines and flown them into buildings killing over 3000 innocent people.
2. Seven years after taking responsibility for the horrors of 9/11, Bin Laden was still running around and releasing videos more frequently than the Kardashians on Snapchat.
3. Five years after the US had been (mis)led into 2 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it was now clear there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and America was losing thousands of lives and resources fighting what would become the longest war in US history.
4. The economy was on the brink of collapse with the great recession. Millions had been lost with the collapse of the housing market and the financial industry and the auto industry needed a bailout by the federal reserve.
If there was ever a time for anger, i thought that would have been a perfect time for it. Why then, was anger not a huge part of the elections/campaign rhetoric in 2008? Instead, Obama and the democrats campaigned on a message of “HOPE and CHANGE” – appealing to the positive human values to aspire to becoming better.
Fast forward to 2016
1. Since 2008, we’ve had the San Bernardino attacker, who was a US citizen and purchased his guns using his(and his US citizen friend’s) 2nd amendment rights, senselessly murder innocent people. I believe that one life lost to terrorism is one too many! However, it’s noteworthy that nobody has entered the country from outside to come execute a successful terrorist plan (at least up to the time of writing).
2. Bin Laden has been killed but Abubakr Al-Baghdadi is running around and his gang of criminals is releasing videos of gruesome murders of innocent people.
3. The number of Americans in combat is significantly reduced but Syrian, Libyan, Iraqi and Afghan lives are being lost daily.
4. The auto industry is back, the banks are back to screwing over the people, the housing market has picked up, job gains have been registered for several consecutive months and unemployment is below 5%.
So how come this election cycle is all about ANGER? How come people are angrier than in 2008 when they had more reasons to be angry? How come people are so angry as to rally behind an egomaniacal, greedy opportunist that leads the Republican party? (Allow me to digress a bit because i think this is important. I did not forget to call him “racist”. I deliberately left it out because i honestly am not sure how racist he is. I think the Orange Man with the tiny hands is more opportunistic than racist. I think, and he has shown, that he will insult anyone and everyone if he thinks it will further his agenda. He does business with China, Hispanics and the Muslims in the Middle East when it serves him, yet on the campaign trail he “hates” them.)
“The chickens coming home to roost”, “those living in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”, “reaping what you sow” etc. – choose your proverb – but “anger” is no coincidence or accident. It’s a direct consequence of that meeting on the night Obama was inaugurated back in 2009 when the leaders of GOP decided (as admitted to by former speaker Newt Gingrich), that their number one priority was not to serve the American people, not to do what was best for the country, but “to make Obama a one-term president”. (See Robert Draper’s “Do Not ask What Good We Do”) With that agenda, the GOP embarked on their “carefully” devised plan of sowing the seeds of division and hate through fear-mongering. The aim was to anger the population just enough that Obama would be booted out by 2012. Unfortunately for them, not only did they fail when Obama was reelected in 2012, but the seeds of anger they had sown had overgrown. The base they pandered to had been angered past reason giving room for an opportunist like Ted Cruz to cultivate the tea party. He took over their tactic of obstruction and shoved it in their faces in congress. Things got so bad, that Speaker John Boehner could not take it any more and he quit when he “found Jesus” after the Pope’s visit. By this time, they had all seen the mess they had created so nobody wanted the prestigious position of House Speaker! They had to beg Paul Ryan (by the way, speaker Ryan was present at that cynical meeting when the obstruction strategy was devised) to accept the position. This was bad enough but the worst was yet to come. Little did the GOP know that the big bad wolf was lurking…and even when they saw him, instead of realizing their mistake, like a drunk asking for an extra bottle, they thought they would cash in some more…just a little bit more. Like a true opportunist, Trump saw the cracks and burst in. He seized on the simmering anger message the GOP had been nursing for 8 years and fertilized it with a brash, unapologetic and deliberate rhetoric of fear mongering, division, xenophobia and hate. Instead of nipping it in the bud, the GOP thought Trump was a clown they would use and dump. They were going to let him verbalize and amplify all the crazy things they had been subtly whispering and implying since 2008 to fire up the anger in their base. This was going to make their preferred candidate (Jeb) appear more moderate and they would dump Trump whenever they wanted. Little did they know that their magic beans had grown into Jack’s beanstalk with Trump the monster at the top. The little smoke they lit in the backyard to scare the neighbors had grown into a full-blown inferno engulfing the entire city! Mocking John McCain for being captured while serving his country, insulting the new party darling Carly Fiorina, being disgusting to their most effective “super-pac”, Fox News star anchor Megyn Kelly, boycotting a debate their main propaganda arm, Fox News – nothing matters to the angry base. The man even had a go at the infallible POPE and his support remains unflinching!!!
Yes, it seems like now they’ve realized it after they’re practically left with what Republican Senator Lindsey Graham accurately called “choosing between shot or poisoned” in a choice between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump that the GOP finally woke up and decided to put out the fire. At this stage, with wins in Florida and Ohio, it seems like all their efforts including former republican nominee Mitt Romney’s statements, the meetings they hold, the ads, the super-pacs, and all the “anybody but Trump” efforts seem like using a teacup to try and put out the inferno that already engulfed the entire neighborhood – too little, too late.
While writing the piece, I realized that by encouraging a vote for Trump in the republican primaries with the hope that it would teach everyone a lesson, I would be guilty of the same cynical motives and methods they’re guilty of. I therefore take back that recommendation and remind myself to ALWAYS do what I honestly believe is best for the good of all and to be sincere in my words and actions.
I conclude with a Wollof saying from West Africa – “Ku yarr sa mbeur, balaa daan ken fayti lah”.
…and tell me this “logic” does not sound like Trump and his troops…