Home Columns The Desecration of American Democracy's Holy of Holies: The US Congress on Capitol Hill

The Desecration of American Democracy's Holy of Holies: The US Congress on Capitol Hill

by Olabisi Showole - 15 January 2021 160 Views

The Desecration of American Democracy's Holy of Holies: The US Congress on Capitol Hill

"All's well that ends well". This Play from William Shakespeare would have been a more appropriate and befitting epigram for Mr. Donald Trump's 4 years in the Oval office. This is on account of his superlative economic performance that turned around the world's  greatest economy, the US economy. Unfortunately his politics rubbished everything that would have stood in his favour. Thus the latter end of the 45th President of the greatest democracy on earth was worse than his beginning. By his politics, I am referring, first, to his political misadventures in the unstatesmanly speech that incited insurrection by his misguided and gullible supporters against a co-equal arm of the US government- the US Congress on the Capitol Hill. Mr Trump in the speech, had egged on his mobs as supporters, to go to the Capitol "to stop the steal". They, indeed, stormed the American symbol of an enduring democracy, the Congress on the Capitol Hill, thus demystifying the US as the world's bastion of democratic process, principle and practice. The Trump mobs succeeded in destroying structures but failed to stop the process of certifying the election of Mr Joseph Biden as the 46th President of the United States of America. This is a credit to the representatives of the people who affirmed their allegiances to the US and its constitution by refusing to be intimidated by the mobs and their principal.

How did the US or the sitting President of the United States come to this sordid pass?  It all began on the 3rd of November, 2020. On that day the US Presidential election was held. The contestants were President Donald Trump of the Republican Party (the conservative Grand old Party, GOP), seeking reelection for a second term of four years; the opposite candidate was Mr Joseph Biden of the Democratic Party, the liberal and progressive party in the US. The democratic party candidate was seeking to replace, electorally,  the incumbent President. Election concluded, Mr Joe Biden and his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris won the majority of both the popular and electoral college votes to become the President - elect and Vice President - elect respectively of the US. The defeated President Donald Trump would have none of it; he would not concede his loss, neither would he congratulate the winner. Thus began the second aspect of Trumpian politics, the crude and crooked politicking.

 Before dealing with the Trumpian politics in detail, let us examine why an incumbent President lost the election despite his administration's impressive economic performance. I believe very strongly that his loss was not unconnected with his politics from which his administration's policies flowed. The electoral loss cannot be divorced from the opportunistic deployment of racism. The White Supremacist group was his favorite; he pampered them; he would not condemn the excesses of this group, excesses that include breaking of laws without consequences. The White Supremacists Charlottesville, Virginia bloody engagement comes easily to our recollection. On the other hand, Trump antagonises, discriminates and denigrates African Americans while profiling the Spanish Americans as the drug barons of America. Indeed Trump owes no allegiance to the beauty of America's diversity and its amazing potpourri of cultures. Meanwhile, those at the receiving end of his bombastic display of racism and favoritism were quietly waiting for the payback period. The period came on Tuesday, 3rd of November, 2020. These disadvantaged and benignly neglected citizens of the United States of America, particularly the African Americans, mobilized and voted massively for Mr Joe Biden and Mrs Kamala Harris in almost the seven swing states. The result was Biden and his running mate winning both the popular and electoral college votes to defeat incumbent President Trump.

Read Also: Donald Trump's electoral loss: The reward of revisionism

What the Biden Presidency means for Nigeria and the rest of the world

The second question that is deserving of our response is why would Trump decide not to concede defeat and congratulate Mr. Biden? The answer resides in Trump's personality or psychological profile. His sister called him a liar while he was growing up. His contemporaries in college recalled his difficulty in accepting defeat. These reminiscences on Trump's adolescence provide veritable explanations for his living in denial of his electoral loss to Joe Biden. This denial however, is, willy nilly, supported by his love for McCarthyism and Goebbels' propagandist model. McCarthyism is the propensity of an individual to falsely accuse others of subversion or treason without proofs or substantiation. The term as a byname for defamation of character or reputation by means of widely publicized indiscriminate allegations, especially on the basis of unsubstantiated charges (Britannica). Geobbels propagandist model simply speaks to the art of "repeating a lie often enough and it becomes the truth". Psychologists call it the illusion of truth effect, validity effect, truth effect, or the reiteration effect. Donald Trump employed both McCarthyism and Geobbels propaganda to complement each other in the bid to disprove his loss by repeatedly addressing the democratic party as a far left party- an anti-capitalism or anti-market system party in a predominantly capitalist country- by mouthing or pleading electoral fraud and by claiming that he won the election but his victory was stolen. Yet, he could not provide a scintilla of evidence before all the courts he approached for intervention. Court after court had to dismiss his case or throw it out for lack of evidence.

Donald Trump would not give up; he would continue to live in self denial of his defeat while surreptitiously requesting and pressuring Georgia's Secretary of State to overturn legitimate votes. He did not also fail to try to convince Vice President Pence to prevent the certification of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris votes that would confirm the duo as the next President and Vice President respectively of the United States. The 6th of January, 2021 was the climax of his illegitimate activities or evil machinations to unmake Biden's electoral victory. In the midst of and at the conclusion of his powerful speech that day, President Trump told his White Supremacist mobs to go to the Capitol, the House of the People, "to stop the steal". The mobs did, but the guardians of the House of the People frustrated and prevailed over this dastardly insurrectional bid against the hallowed House. Mike Pence had this to say, "And we will always be grateful for the men and women who stayed at their post to defend this historic place. To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win. Violence never wins. Freedom wins. And this is still the People's House". The mobs did not win as the Congressmen and women went back to work that same day to certify the victory of Mr Joseph Biden as the 46th President of the United States. Nonetheless, the incident had damaged the reputation of the US as the model of democratic practice for the rest of the world. For instance, while reacting to the storming of the Capitol, President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, said the United States has no moral right to sanction any nation for undemocratic actions. 

Meanwhile, our own Nigeria and its ruling party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) have provided an Awada keri keri  dimension to the serious issue of the disregard for the democratic tradition for losers of an election to concede defeat and congratulate the winner. This comic relief, including its comedy of absurdity suggests, rather outlandishly, that Mr Trump should learn the art of conceding election defeat from no other person than our own President Mohammadu Buhari, a man who threatened  to soak monkey and baboon in blood if he lost a presidential election.

Donald Trump seems to be enamored of African political leadership's crude system of rigging themselves into political office and power and of retaining the same political office and power by hook or crook, hence his childish denial of his loss of a free and fair presidential election to Joe Biden and his deployment of illegalities to overturn that election. America is lucky this time, but it might not be fortunate the next time to forestall such illegalities. The antidote for preventing the reenactment of this Trumpian tragedy is the insurance that the likes of Donald Trump and their odious ideology of White supremacy, and their philosophy that America can do it alone without alliances across the globe, should never be allowed the leadership of the world greatest democracy and economy- America. To do so, the civilised democratic world is warned, is to disavow the globally, cherished democratic process, principle, practice and values. 

President Donald Trump is a shame to the civilised democratic world; his name should therefore feature prominently in the America's Hall of Shame. 

Leave a Comment