I make the following comments without any air of knowing-it-all; having no political axe to grind; requiring no perfection from others in this imperfect world; but, doing so from a sincere belief that we humans, if only we could see our common humanity, and cooperate with one another, that this camaraderie would create a better world that is more conducive to human well-being and happiness. So with this declaration behind me, I now go on to note and address a few observations about US President Donald Trump. To begin, Anthony Scaramucci, nicknamed The Mooch, an American financier, entrepreneur, and political consultant, served very briefly as the White House director of communications from July 21 to July 31, 2017 (just about 11 days). Trump fired him for his brash style of leadership. However, in a series of recent interviews given by Scaramucci, one of these on FaceTime , he said: “He’s [Trump] doing things every single day that is literally forcibly unravelling his political career, and that is the hidden secret, the underbelly of a narcissist. They have a very full-blown, self-destructive streak in their personalities. He’s got his hand on the self-detonator now.”
Many other observers have noticed a central flaw in Trump’s character. They have remarked about his “illiteracy”. For instance, Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury tells about Trump’s indifference to the printed word — although he has a strong preference for oral communication. Fire and Fury makes this claim about Trump: “He didn’t process information in any conventional sense… He didn’t read. He didn’t really even skim. Some believed that, for all practical purposes, he was no more than semiliterate.”
Even Christianity Today , a magazine founded by the late Rev Billy Graham and revered by evangelicals, its editor, on December 20, 2019, called for President Trump’s removal from office and decried him as “a near-perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused”.
Trump’s response, of course, was derisory, calling the magazine “far left… which has been doing poorly”. But, as you know, Trump is supported by evangelicals, and although recent opinion polls show his support amongst them faltering, still he has a lock-solid grip on them. They deliver the votes to him; he delivers the culture war booties to them; for example, Conservative nominations to the Supreme Court, anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-black, and anti-immigrant policies or laws.
These evangelicals, and some Roman Catholics, ignore Trump’s moral turpitude and cognitive dissonance, saying that although he carries this moral and ethical baggage, they overlook that for the greater good â” the good of the cause. They comfort themselves by saying: “It wasn’t a preacher-in-chief for whom we voted, but a president or chief executive who can get things done. This is code for: Get America back on a sound moral Anglo-White-Christian foundation. His supporters say that, despite his moral regresses, we forgive him; for this is the Christian message: Forgiveness; let him who is without sin cast the first stone. This is how they herald their new gospel.
So, such evangelicals are enablers and even deniers of Trump’s egregiously immoral anti-intellectual and non-cognitive impairments.
Confederate monuments and flags
Now, what about those Nazi and neo-Nazi regalia and Confederate monuments, flags, and other racist symbols? Well, Trump has shown himself to be an avowedly white nationalist. But for him to publicly show his hand this way is weird in a country that is so ethnically and culturally diverse. This diversity is much of what gives America its strength — its much-vaunted exceptionalism, if you like.
But Trump is unaware of that culturally and ethnically rich tapestry of American life; worse, he does not care for it. So that’s why he is in bed with the likes of the nativists and far-right xenophobes.
So, regarding the Confederate monuments and flag, Trump sees these symbols as a rich, vital, indispensable, and necessary part of American history. But I can’t understand why the memo — so to speak — that the Confederate rebels lost the Civil War to maintain slavery, and that black African slavery was a very bad idea, has not reached Trump’s Oval Office desk as yet.
Anyway, some of his important military men are now taking steps to bypass Trump on the question of flying the Confederate flag at American military installations. So, for instance, Defence Secretary Mark T Esper effectively banned displays of the Confederate battle flag on US military installations. He in a recent memo said that the American flag is the “principal flag we are authorised and encouraged to display”. Likewise, General David Berger, the US Marine Corps commandant, ordered an explicit ban on displays of the Confederate flag at all Marine installations worldwide.
In addition, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley — who later saw the error of his ways and admitted it for accompanying Trump on his ‘walk of shame’ to St John’s Episcopal Church, in DC, on June 2, 2020, for a photo-op to brandish a Bible, with Trump’s path made passable by his heavy-handed security apparatus clearing away peaceful protestors. has told The House Armed Services Committee, that: “The Confederacy, the American Civil War, was fought and it was an act of rebellion. It was an act of treason against the Union, against the Stars and Stripes, against the US Constitution. Those officers turned their back on their oath.” At a recent virtual town hall in July 2020, Milley again declared: “…that the oath that everyone in the military takes is paramount. Going back to the oath, going back to the idea, the idea that is America, the idea that every one of us is free and equal. Remember the words of Lincoln, that this is a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men — and I would add all women — are created equal, period, full stop. And that’s what we’re about.”
So Trump is beyond the curve here when it comes to taking decisive action to dismantle the symbols and vestiges of racism.
If America then is to realise and redeem its promises of liberty, equality, happiness, etc, made in its Declaration of Independence document, then, America needs new and enlightened leadership.
Will November 3, 2020 be “D-Day” — deliverance day — for America? We shall see.
George S Garwood is a Jamaican residing in Florida, United States. Send comments to the Jamaica Observer or [email protected] .
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