By Donu Kogbara
I have always known that Donald Trump is, underneath all that wealth, razzmatazz and glamour, a crass, boorish bushman.
Just as some African villagers exude nobility despite being illiterates, some whites exude crudity despite being educated beneficiaries of every advantage the Western World can offer.
I have never regarded ownership of big bucks (especially if ill-gotten!), flashy cars, designer clothes or gold-plated home furnishings as evidence of sophistication or merit; and I have long despised Trump’s uncouth behaviour and unpardonable utterances. A man who has trashed disabled people praised racists and openly boasted about grabbing womens’ private parts is no gentleman. And I once thought that nothing he did or said could surprise me.
But even I am shocked to the marrow by his shameless and deranged refusal to acknowledge defeat since it became obvious last weekend that Joe Biden had beaten him in the American presidential election.
While Americans whose heads are screwed on correctly celebrate, and congratulations for Biden pour in from leaders of other countries – United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, etc – Trump is digging his heels in and carrying on like the badly brought up clown he is.
There are two different levels on which American presidential candidates can be victorious: Either in terms of the straightforward popular vote or in terms of the complicated electoral college system.
In 2016, Trump only triumphed on the electoral college front because Hillary Clinton got 3 million more popular votes than he did. But Clinton still conceded and attended Trump’s inauguration.
In 2020, Trump was conclusively trounced on both counts. But he is still insisting that he is the real winner and directing ridiculous fraud allegations at his political opponents…even though Biden is being immensely magnanimous and has studiously sidestepped the temptation to deliver the stinging insults Trump richly deserves.
Biden has been laudably restrained and well-mannered so far. Instead of threatening to sue Trump for libel and slander, he is talking the seriously statesmanlike talk about the need for unity. Biden’s acceptance speech was a humble, classy, inspirational masterpiece in which he told his global audience that he knew what it was like to lose an election because he himself had lost in the past.
Biden also highlighted the need to heal bitter rifts in his deeply divided nation, his passionate desire to fulfil the dreams of every American including Trump supporters and his determination to hit the ground running and tackle problems like the COVID-19 crisis.
But Biden’s conciliatory oratory is falling on deaf ears because he is dealing with a savage who doesn’t appreciate civilised conduct and is going out of his way to be obstructive and downright obnoxious.
Traditionally, the minute a President-Elect is announced, the incumbent is supposed to activate a transition process; but Trump has banned government officials from cooperating with Biden, Vice-President-Elect, Kamala Harris, and their transition team.
Trump’s petulant legal challenges will undoubtedly fail because there is no evidence whatsoever that Biden rigged. And even if Trump never gets around to accepting the result and fails to graciously attend Biden’s swearing-in ceremony, America is a mature and robust democracy that cannot be malignly manipulated or totally derailed by a deluded megalomaniac; and Trump will still be firmly ejected from the White House – and replaced by Biden – on January 20.
In other words, Trump’s staff need to start searching for new jobs now to avoid becoming unemployment statistics on January 20. But, chronically selfish as ever, Trump the arch narcissist is threatening aides who are caught job-hunting with instant dismissal.
These people have loyally served Trump and his family…and tolerated endless taunts on his behalf. But he doesn’t give a damn about their financial security, as in mortgages, children’s’ school fees, etc. All Trump cares about is himself, and he is poised to viciously punish aides who dare to try to protect their futures before January 20th.
And guess what? Almost every aide is cowering and complying!
Meanwhile, many senior stalwarts of Trump’s Republican Party are privately expressing despair about this exceedingly embarrassing status quo. Some have even privately congratulated Biden and apologised for Trump’s nonsensical posturings.
But few have had the guts to publicly disassociate themselves from Trump’s appalling, anarchical antics. And I don’t understand why these folks who surround Trump are too scared to stand up to him.
In addition to wondering why Trump thinks that he is pursuing his own best interests when he is actually making a big fat fool of himself and further undermining his legacy (which is toxic but could have been partly salvaged if he’d behaved better at this eleventh hour), I am amazed that anyone is obeying his unhinged instructions!
If I was stuck in a leaking ship with my boss and he told me that I’d be fired if I had the audacity to look for a lifeboat, I’d tell him to go to hell, leave him to sink alone and continue my quest for survival!
If I were an influential member of a political party that was headed by a dictator who possesses a warped Messiah complex, I wouldn’t allow him to inflict humiliation on my party, unchallenged. I’d organise a rebellion. I would certainly not go on TV to pretend to agree with Trump…or sheepishly and silently hide in the shadows.
Who knew that Americans – who are famed for their self-confidence and penchant for policing the rest of humanity – could become such quivering, lily-livered cowards at the precise moment when they desperately need to rescue themselves from a dangerous bully?
As a Nigerian friend of mine recently pointed out, the events of the past few days have completely demystified Americans, and proved a) that Americans can easily succumb to tyranny…and b) that we are all, at the end of the day, mere mortals who will not necessarily react heroically when heroism is called for.