US Business mogul Donald J. Trump has defied the gods, turned the political pundits into liars, re-written the prophecies Planet Earth’s wise men made about him, thrown the Republican Party into a state of anarchy and placed himself on a firm path to possibly becoming the USA’s next president.
Another unimpeachable evidence that: “America is a place where all things are possible,” beyond African-American Barack Obama holding that office.
What everyone took for a joke, soon swelled into an unstoppable movement that flouted every political logic you can think of; got everyone thinking “what’s wrong with the American voter?”; and will for a long time become an inflexible study topic academics and political strategists will struggle to crack.
But how did we get here in the first place? Mr. Trump’s game plan had “identity politics” at the center. It was about divide and rule. He kept fanning the “true Americans” versus “them” flame.” A lot of bigotry, racist and prejudiced talk that pitched different societies of America against one other. And in a disenchanted country reeling under fear for the rise of China and the increasing display of might by Russia, people bought into the message, counting on him as the possible saviour.
Virtually every word Mr. Trump uttered throughout this campaign was insulting. Almost every message he tweeted constituted a “verbal abuse” on someone. And there were days he encouraged physical attacks on those who disagreed with him. He accused Mexicans of being criminals, specifically rapists, and thieves. He’s accused Muslims of being terrorists who should be banned from entering America.
He accused Hilary Clinton of using womanhood to rise to the top in the Democratic Party. He’s called his colleague politicians stupid, foolish, dogs, dumb people, clowns, crazy, crooked, and failures. He’s called media practitioners flunky, untalented, low-lives, waste and useless. He’s even questioned whether President Barack Obama is sane.
And how did leaders in the US Republican Party react to one of their own dividing the party and destroying the image of their country abroad as a sure path to the top? Key arms of the party spent millions in negative campaign ads against him which unfortunately didn’t fly. Key figures in the party including the 2012 Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney criticized and openly campaigned against him.
Even after it became clear Trump will be the party’s candidate going into the November elections, Former Republican US presidents George H. W. Bush and his son, George W. Bush have announced publicly they won’t support his candidature. Another senior Republican, the US House of Representatives Speaker, Paul Ryan has taken a similar stance.
That is a working democracy for you. Where leaders lead, even when followers make “wrong choices,” and where politicians place national interest above parochial, political party interest.
But I can bet my lifetime savings on this; that would not happen on this side of the equator. If Donald Trump were a Ghanaian politician, like we would see leaders in his party defending his “shameful” rhetoric and no one would dare criticize him from within.
In fact, if Trump were a member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), his National Organiser and other communicators of the party would have by now re-defined his lose talk as “truth speaking” and evidence of an advancing democracy. The defense they mounted for former Transport Minister Dzifa Ativor’s recent “careless comment” says it all.
Also, if Trump were an NDC man, by now, I’ m sure the party’s propaganda machinery would have succeeded in branding Head of the Roman Catholic Church Pope Benedict and UK Prime Minister David Cameron (both of whom have criticized Trump) as card bearing NPP members, as they have done to Rev Dr. Mensa Otabil and others.
On the other hand, if Trump were a New Patriotic Party (NPP) man, like former President George Bush and his father would have been suspended from the party by now for not backing its presidential candidate. Afterall, for them, anyone who is not for them is against them.
Some argue that if Trump were a Ghanaian, he would never have been able to come this far because our culture unlike that of America frowns on insults. That can’t be true. Someone like Kennedy Agyepong of Assin North has been in parliament for years now even though the venom he spews whenever he speaks on radio gets deadlier by the day. But he keeps winning the mandate of his people… Why? Probably because he has money more than all of his constituents put together.
The NPP’s Vice Presidential candidate, Dr. Mahmoud Bawumia, has equally championed religious politics in this country. http://www.myjoyonline.com/politics/2016/May-2nd/bawumia-is-making-a-case-for-balance-inclusion-akomea-justifies.php. And all his party has done is stand by him. The same NPP people who tore Dzifa Ativor apart like a rug for her ethnocentric comments. The hypocrisy sucks… doesn’t it?
And it’s a problem with all of us, not just the politicians. Because again, if Trump were a Ghanaian politician, I’m sure by now, the youth of his hometown would have formed one bogus association like that and issued a statement alleging all sorts of conspiracy theories about how the bigwigs in the party are scheming one grand plan to ensure indigenes from there never lead the party.
The problem is this: in this part of the world, we count too much on where we come from, the ethnic group we belong to, and the religious denomination we are part of, to determine how far we go in life. America is not free from that, but there is less of it there than in our part of the world.
And that’s one thing we must grow out of. And create a country where people are not only free to speak their minds, but bold and honest enough to tell the truth, regardless of “whose ox is gored.” A country where our politicians do not make politics a life or death game, and hence would defend anything that comes from within even at the peril of their lives, but criticize everything, including the good from the otherside.
A country where politicians do not only know how to win an election but why they should win. Only then would the political party cards we hold mean something more useful than just the papers they are made of. Partisan politics must not be an end in itself, otherwise, its relevance is lost.
God bless our politicians, and may God bless our homeland Ghana.