The corona pandemic and its unprecedented global economic dislocation guaranteed it for Nigeria. And even more so because we’ve had an inept and clueless government led by a president who’s permanently holed in his bunker of ignorance, completely disconnected from reality and without the merest acquaintance with the most basic responsibility of leadership. Which is knowing your limitations and bringing in skilled and knowledgeable people to cover up areas of weakness.
But I won’t waste time lamenting the ever-worsening Nigerian condition. As noted earlier, the recession isn’t surprising. Officially, it’s the second in five years. Well, think about this: hasn’t the country been continuously recessed in all vital areas of national life?
What, for me, is more surprising, and even puzzling, is the large army of Trumpians who live here. They’ve joined their American counterparts in wailing about President Donald Trump’s alleged “stolen election”. Their rationalization of their support for the defeated president is just outlandish. It’s, also, extremely bizarre.
They say he’s a Christian and a defender of the Christian faith. Some of them, including pastors, held prayer vigils for his victory that they had claimed had been ordained by God. And they vent their bile on anyone who dares to discredit this esoteric narrative about a man who has no relationship with the faith. Just as he has no relationship with truth and decorum.
On the first Sunday morning after the November 3 election, he wasn’t in church to celebrate his self-proclaimed victory. He was on one of his golf courses near Washington DC playing the game. So he did this past weekend as the virtual meeting of the G20 countries hosted by Saudi Arabia was going on.
After the opening formalities, he abandoned the meeting whose major theme was focused on the global pandemic and how to contain it. He went to play golf at a time his country had just hit 12 million cases of infection and recorded over a quarter of a million deaths.
Before the election, one American fanatic had painted a picture of Jesus Christ holding Trump in His hands. And that picture soon went viral as many swore that he was given a divine mission by God to redeem America and the world at large. Most of his Nigerian followers, including those one would consider rational, subscribe irrationally to this nonsense.
Let’s be clear about this: Trump is not a Christian. He has not been and will never be one. This is despite his vain attempts to portray himself as a believer in the faith of nearly two billion people.
At the height of the mass Black Lives Matter protests, following the brutal murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers, Trump, as theatrical as ever, staged a photo-op in front of a church close to the White House. What did he do? He held the Bible upside down until one of his embarrassed staff stepped forward to correct the position.
This was nothing but an opportunistic sop to his captive base of uncritical supporters and the American Evangelical Right whose hypocrisy is boundless. And to get to the church that day, he ordered his security agents to forcibly clear out peaceful protesters in front of the White House. The protesters were tear-gassed and pepper-sprayed for him.
Not one word of consolation for the grieving Floyd family ever came from him. And none of empathy for the rightful demand of the protesters for equal justice for all and police reforms. Instead he proclaimed himself the ‘Law and Order president’ and dismissed the protesters as left-wing, violent mobs who wanted to destroy America.
At another time, while doing an interview with a reporter, he claimed his favourite book was the Bible. When asked which were his favourite parts of the holy book, he couldn’t recall any. He simply changed the subject.
Let’s give it to Trump. He’s brilliant at motivating his millions of adoring followers in America. Being an unapologetic racist, he has no qualms tapping the nationalistic, racist grievances of a sizable segment of White America. They love him because he keeps validating their racist prejudices especially against African-Americans and other minority groups. Recall his constant dog-whistling, during his campaign rallies, of the blatantly racist claim of minorities destroying prosperous white suburbs by moving in if he wasn’t re-elected.
At many of his campaign rallies, he insulted Vice President-elect, Senator Kamala Harris, and called her a leftist extremist and a monster. He reminded his supporters that Joe Biden was old and infirm. And that if Biden died, as he didn’t expect him to last in office, she would become their president.
It’s typical Trumpian racist dog-whistling, a warning that the ‘foreigner’ who’s also Black and Asian and a woman could be America’s leader. How could they take that so soon after they had had the first Black president in Barack Obama whom he had falsely claimed not to have been born in America?
Meantime, his questioning of Biden’s condition was laughable as the president-elect is, in terms of physical, mental and emotional fitness, miles ahead of him. In his desperation to fend off his impending defeat, he resorted to naked racist appeals to shore up his support.
Having mastered the psychology of his besotted supporters, he ruthlessly exploited their racist fears and blissful ignorance to promote himself as their champion. His “America First” and “Make America Great Again” mantras were effective in rousing the parochial instincts of his base and keeping them glued to his cult. He was so sure, even way back in 2016 when he first ran for president, of his control over them that he had boasted that, “even if I shot someone on Fifth Avenue (New York City), they will still vote for me.”
Trump is such a good Christian that, in that same year while holding a press conference, he cruelly mocked a disabled journalist who had asked him some uncomfortable questions. Not to mention his self-induced spat with Swedish teenage global-climate-change icon, Greta Thunberg. He was jealous of the teenager for being recognized by TIME as its Person of the Year in 2018.
It’s understandable if millions of Americans believe Trump is a Christian and endorse his toxic politics and unrelenting vulgarity. He’s just broken a record of getting the most votes – 74million+ – in America’s presidential election after Joe Biden who’s received over 80 million+ and still counting. But what is our own inside the matter of Uncle Joe Vs Lying Trump [to use a Nigerian vernacular expression]?
They say that he warned Buhari about the killing of Nigerian Christians. Well, after he issued the warning, what did he do? Nothing. And have the killings stopped? In any case, is it only Christians who are being killed every day in Nigeria?
Trump called African and other nations of those he deems as “undesirables” in America “shithole countries.” And he once wondered out loud why his country wasn’t taking immigrants from only white countries like Norway and Sweden. That’s how much he regards us.
His hostility to non-white immigrant Americans ignores the vital contributions they’re making to the country. It’s an undisputed fact that the most educated and one of the most productive immigrant communities are Nigerian-Americans. But that doesn’t matter to him. If you’re not white, then go back to your shithole country.
Trump is nothing but a sour loser, a label he generously pinned on all those who criticize him. By continuously demonstrating his autocratic bent with his offensive words and illegal, cowardly actions, he proves his unfitness for the White House.
He feels entitled to America’s presidency. So he’s no reservation about dismantling the perception of America as the global icon of real democracy, so long as he’s not getting a second term.
Under Biden, America’s foreign policy won’t change much. Yes, the country will be back to the Paris Climate Change Accord and the World Health Organisation, among other things he will do to walk back Trump’s impulsive assaults on the global order. But, for instance, America’s enabling of Israel to endlessly oppress the Palestinians will continue unabated though in a less blatant form.
What Biden will bring is some decency and maturity to the job of president and leadership of the world. So no matter how loud his Nigerian wailers wail about Trump’s loss, his exit January 20 is certainly good riddance to an insufferably bad rubbish.
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