About me.

Andrew M. Mwenda is the founding Managing Editor of The Independent, Uganda’s premier current affairs newsmagazine. One of Foreign Policy magazine 's top 100 Global Thinkers, TED Speaker and Foreign aid Critic

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The good about Donald Trump

Why America needs to own up to her evils that are always hidden behind the cloak of self-righteousness
For the last six months, the American elite establishment has conducted a Taliban-like campaign of vilification against the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump.

He has been accused (and correctly so) of xenophobia, racism, sexism, extremism and every negative ism one can think of. His own party has called out its big names that have accused him of being a fraud and a conman. Every institution in America – political party, civil society group, mass media house, think tank and the professoriate of any heft has thrown the kitchen sink at him.

Trump has said everything that would bring the candidacy of a presidential aspirant to a quick and ignominious end. He has called Mexicans drug dealers and rapists. He has called for a total ban on all Muslims entering America. He has thrown journalists out of his press conferences. He viciously insults and belittles his opponents. He has threatened to punch a heckler. He has boasted about the size of his penis.

He has denigrated women. He has said he will kill families of terrorists and carpet bomb the Middle East. Yet in spite of this (or perhaps precisely because of it) his poll numbers keep going up and up and he keeps winning and winning. How does he manage to annoy the entire American elite establishment and remain on top? How can someone so vilified by America’s powerful weapons of mass propaganda defy all the laws of political gravity? How can someone who has broken every taboo of America’s self acclaimed political culture excite the passions and the imagination of the American public?

Even his enemies in the mass media cannot stop talking about him, thereby helping grow his brand. The American population is rebelling against its self appointed priests of that nation’s political morality who have dominated the scene for far too long largely through deceit and lies.

It seems over the years, the American public has grown wary of the pretense and political correctness of its leaders. And this may have a lot to do with the effect of social media on political conversations in that country. For once, the masses of American people can debate their biases, prejudices and feelings without the intermediation of their corporate controlled traditional media.

In Trump they have found an ally who expresses their feelings without euphemism. Trump’s critics claim that his positions go against “American values” of internationalism, inclusiveness, democracy, freedom, tolerance, color-blindness, etc. However, this is a myth.

The American republic was founded in 1776 with a clear statement of values that “all men are born equal” and promised democracy, liberty and freedom as the nation’s treasured values. However, America has consistently failed to live up to these values. After writing these words, America proceeded to exclude poor whites and women from voting rights, continued to enslave its black population under one of the most cruel slave systems ever known and then went on to commit genocide against native Americans.

It took 90 years to end slavery – and not through America’s much lauded “democratic institutions” – but through a civil war and an Emancipation Proclamation that was passed dictatorially. It took another 100 years for America to finally pass a major civil rights legislation that guaranteed black people the right to vote in 1965.

 In the interim period, however, black people were subjected to an apartheid system of segregation, discrimination and exclusion. It took 100 years for America to give all white men the vote. It took 145 years for America to give the vote to women. Since the 1980s the America republic has continued to oppress black people through a brutal drug war that has led to mass incarceration of millions of black males.
It has continued to discriminate against women through less pay for equal work. It has continued to keep Native Americans in reserves and poverty. It has continued to deny care to its poor. It has consistently invaded and indiscriminately bombed other nations like Vietnam, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Somalia, Laos, Iraq and Yemen.

America has sponsored extremist/terrorists organisations to destabilise Nicaragua, El Salvador, Mozambique, Afghanistan, Angola, etc. It has sponsored coups and assassinated leaders of nations it does not like and propped corrupt dictators that serve her interests. When it fought Japan during WorldWar Two, America criminalised an entire people based on their ethnic identity by interning all Japanese Americans into concentration camps.

After 9/11 in 2001America introduced torture, suspended the writ of habeas corpus, begun kidnapping suspects from their homes and holding others without trial in illegal detention facilities. It has introduced mass surveillance that allows it to eavesdrop on telephone calls, emails and chats of all her citizens, enemies and allies indiscriminately and with impunity. I am aware this is a one sided presentation of America but I am only using America’s style when it is talking about nations it does not like. With that knowledge, I would like to ask American elites who claim Trump is going against “American Values” to explain to us how different he is from the rest. The only difference that I see is that Trump says openly what America does every day.

American politicians on both the right and the left have only been adept at public relations, hiding their deep-seated religious and racial prejudices against Hispanics, Muslims, Blacks and the poor behind high sounding but empty claims to possess values they never uphold.

The other thing is that America has been using what George Orwell called Double Speak. It has been torturing suspects but calling it “enhanced interrogation methods”, kidnaping people from their homes and taking them to illegal detention facilities around the world but calling it “rendition” and indiscriminately bombing and killing innocent civilians but calling it “collateral damage.”

All that Trump has done is to remove the pretense by going “native.” Trump is not going to change the nature of the American state – its violent imperialism, its cruel and sadistic policies against racial minorities, its prejudices against Muslims and people of color, etc. Rather he will remove the disguise of hypocrisy, the mask of double-speak, the veneer of sophistication and the veil of self-righteousness and leave the emperor naked. Trump is a breath of fresh air into the stale political atmosphere of lies and deceit that characterises the American political elite. Trump has laid America bare for the world to see. He has made all see America for what it actually is.

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