By Rafique Ali
“I DONALD JOHN TRUMP, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, so help me God”
Signed (Donald J. Trump) – Jan 20th, 2017
Yes Donald Trump wins 2016 election with thin majority, a new era started in United States of America. As President elect repeating 44 words of oath after chief Justice reading out loud, outgoing President Barak Obama with Democratic Party leadership watches with dread of unknown future and Republicans with grudging made-up smile on their faces. Constituency who did not voted for Trump, pretty much half of population were stunned as moment frozen, there was deafening silence in the air with eyes yelling helplessness and extreme fear. A Campaign which took off with the antithesis of political correctness (PC) sawing seeds of anxiety did somehow plagued into majority minds and climaxed with election of most polarizing candidate in Presidential history, a watershed moment. Election of Donald Trump is an evolution of two ongoing phenomena, fantasy and bigotry.
First phenomena, in the year 2000 very first time a new experiment was launched in Television history. It revolutionized approach of television watching, with the beginning of first reality TV show Survivor, whose season-I finale had very high viewership of that time. Then frenzy of reality shows spread like weeds. Reality TV shows are no way close to reality, they sell fantasy in the wrapper of reality. Trump ran his campaign like a reality TV, people thought they were watching reality but he was selling the fantasy. Self-created conflicts, name calling and controversies; every entertainment one can ask for. Fantasy and reality crisscrossed and voters lost ability to distinguish between two.
Second phenomenon is a serious one and of frightening nature, within a year after election of President Barak Obama in 2008; a slogan of ‘Let’s Get Our Country Back’ under the banner of Tea Party Movement started. It was resumption of covert hardcore racial politics which matured in 2016. Candidate Trump unashamedly hijacked this phenomena and threw more oil to reignite an old flame. Original sin of this country was Slavery. From civil war to voting rights act to assassination of Martin Luther king to formal apology to Ray Charles (who sang Georgia on My Mind) by constituents assembly of State of Georgia; this country and its people fought hard to leave behind its troubled past of discrimination and bigotry. Yet still a section of population carried that old bias in their hearts; with the election of first black President the old bigotry rekindled. Trump used racial politics to his advantage. What George Wallace couldn’t achieve in 1963 when he said ‘segregation today, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever’; Donald Trump achieved in 2016.
Thankfully so far it’s all in abstract and futuristic but it may happen, therefore it is important to understand the danger. It’s been said that collective wisdom of populace would never go wrong but I guess we live in unique time period. From July 18-21, 2016, the Republican Party will hold its 41st convention in Cleveland, Ohio to formally and reluctantly crown Donald J. Trump as official party nominee to contest Hillary Rodham Clinton for 45th Presidency of United States. What will happen if majority of American will elect Trump?
In first Republican debate Trump announced Political Correctness (PC) won’t be his lingo, which eventually become a cornerstone of the campaign. He sold the conniving assumption of synonymy between political correction and status quo. Once this message settled into minds of his core constituency, he unleashed charade of outburst against identity politics. It is often argued that Trump doesn’t see people with the color lenses or even people with disabilities and that’s why he carries an ability of objective analysis or criticism. Trump and his surrogates rubbishes self-pity syndrome and zealously relays the message that he isn’t racist at all. I believe it, Trump is not a racist; he is ‘Race Opportunist’ which is more condescending. Under the agenda of fight against status quo, his actions are giving signal to his constituency that he will bring old order back, a status quo which was discarded long time ago due to its spirit of in-equality. ‘Let’s make America Great Again’ is coded messaging to certain section of populace that progressive and demographically diverse America is not acceptable. Whether he can do it or not is different question but what he has done so far is energizing the negativity.
Picking up piece from hypothetical moment when Donald Trump will become 45th President of United States, despite bringing this campaign to the gutters; what will happen then. United States of America is a unique country; its strength isn’t in its continuous adoption of Morale high. Its actual strength is in the ongoing struggle to achieve ethically right thing to do. Even after the civil war, the winning unionists didn’t unleash the revenge over confederates; they released confederate prisoners and preserved the union. So I cannot imagine the citizens of this country who fought hard to make this country a genuine Republic in its true sense will somehow relinquish its system of check and balance. They wouldn’t allow a narcissist tyrant to run this country like what Hugo Chávez did to Venezuela. Though they will accept him as a President but they will not let him ignore his constitutional responsibilities. Congress and Judiciary will play their constitutional roles. Even an ordinary citizen, who did not voted for Trump will call him Mr. President but he/she will participate in the non-violent protest marches and petitions according to the norms of precedence and traditions.
In Pakistan, any elected Prime Minister is unacceptable to certain section of population because overall Pakistani society doesn’t believe in parliamentary system of Government. People lost ability to differentiate between two political parties instead they compare two systems i.e. parliamentary vs. martial law (overt or covert). Prime Minister is a constitutionals portfolio and it’s very much likely that everybody won’t vote for his party. However, once election is over and after majority party forms a government, its constitutional duty of opposition to respect and protect the system and trickle down this message to their constituency. With Trump being a President, citizens who didn’t voted for Trump won’t attack media outlets and house of Congress. Some rogue generals from Pentagon won’t push a politician to start violent agitation; instead they will wait four years to vote out despicable person from office of Presidency. Please don’t wonder why I am comparing Pakistan with USA as America is a mature democracy. They weren’t mature democracy within 20, 30, 40 or 60 years of independence; their history is full of events which brought the system at stake but they rose from the occasion collectively as a nation to save & strengthen The Republic.
Fear is men’s best friend; it would keep us on our toes. Donald Trump taking oath is my worst fear; only way to overcome is to leave home and vote on November 8th, 2016 and make sure that this man would never reach White House. Hope and optimism are even better, therefore let’s not take fear guide us instead allow optimism on the night of Nov 8th, to watch this news.
CNN (11:40 PM) : This CNN election headquarter & I am Wolf Blitzer, CNN is calling race for Hillary Clinton. Ms. Clinton is now a President elect, a first woman and overall 45th President of The United States. Ms. Clinton secured landslide 410 electoral votes out of total 538. Second best after Berry Goldwater defeat by another Democratic President Lyndon Johnson.
The writer can be reached at @GoToMtns on twitter