“The American president was the quintessential repository of stately virtue, democracy, legitimacy, wealth, elegance, majesty, and freedom! Like the women of Jerusalem who cast down their garments on the highways for Christ’s motorcade, American presidents before Trump enjoyed such audacity of praise that even the angels coveted!”
Since 1788 when the Constitution of the United States of America was adopted (it was the very first formal blueprint of modern democracy), America’s democratic governance, (albeit unfolding in stages) became the city on the hill that inspired all leaders and nation-states. America was the dream everyone wanted to experience.
Through deliberate foreign policy, and working with allies in Europe, Asia, and Africa, America would spend many years of tax payer’s money and the blood of its citizens to defend the ideals of freedom, democracy, justice, equality, and the rule of law in foreign lands. Its mission then was to create a new world order based on equal rights and justice for all.
America was the city on the hill that the oppressed people the world overlooked up to for deliverance. She was our Uncle Sam, the big brother we depended on to ward off the threats of Communism, political illegitimacy, social injustice, economic tyranny, repression and authoritarianism in every form!
In my youthful days, it was a spectacle, indeed an impossible miracle for an American president to visit a residual country. When President Obama or his predecessor, President Bush landed on the shores of Ghana several years ago, they received such thunderous welcome, exaltation and general acclamation preserved only for liberators and saviors of the people!
The American president was the quintessential repository of stately virtue, democracy, legitimacy, wealth, elegance, majesty and freedom! Like the women of Jerusalem who cast down their garments on the highways for Christ’s motorcade, American presidents before Trump enjoyed such audacity of praise that even the angels coveted!
I am not sure about that now! Donald Trump has almost completely obliterated any lofty consideration we used to have for these long queues of immortal American freedom fighters! Suddenly, over two centuries of American democratic idealism seems to be on the verge of extinction under the watchful supervision of Donald Trump! This President has been accused of every vice conceivable by the imagination, including exploiting institutional loopholes to augment his business interests.
But that is not all. After surviving impeachment last year for actively courting foreign interference in American elections to bolster his re-election bid, the President has come under fire for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic which has led to the death of over 200 000 Americans. The President himself, together with a tall list of his most trusted White House Staff have all been torched by the rampaging virus, turning the revered seat of government into a national emergency unit.
Unpopular with the mainstream media, and fearing a possible walloping defeat in the November polls, he has refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power to Joe Biden, if he loses the elections.
His recent criticisms of mail-in voting and his scandalous request to his base to vote twice in the elections is every way and every breath contrary to his obtuse philosophy of making America great again! Indeed, Donald Trump would not condemn the Proud Boys, a far-right, neo-fascist, male-only group that promotes political violence in America and Canada. When asked to openly condemn the organization, he denied he even knew about them!
The visual of heavily armed soldiers loaded in huge military armor vehicles shoving, pushing, and tear-gassing peaceful protesters on the streets of the White House is a relic of dictatorship familiar with oppressive, fascist, communist, and totalitarian regimes. To unleash the National Guards on peaceful protesters is a reminder that no democracy, no matter how perfect, is immune from retrogression!
And yet despite his iniquities (both great and small) Trump still enjoys formidable support among evangelicals who perceive him as the friend of God and enemy to the enemies of God!
So what would become of Ghana and this Republic in the advent of the emergence of a local Trump in our national politics? I shudder at the thought! Ghana has been blessed with some astute politicians who have put love for the country over and above all other parochialisms since the advent of the Fourth republic! But with a profusion of iniquities and a thousand and one loopholes in our 28-year-old Constitution, the emergence of a local Trump could sabotage our democracy.
There is enough fodder in our Constitution to ignite such a vexation! Look to America, my people!