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Donald Trump and the Destruction of American Credibility

by James West

It comes as no surprise to anyone outside of the United States that leaders of nations allied with the U.S. no longer see it as the leader of the free world. Worse, governments of Europe and elsewhere increasingly move to avoid having to legitimize the dubiously elected president by interacting with him in any way.

Canada, for example, has made no effort to solidify its proferred invitation to come to Canada. At the recent G7 summit, the boorish Trump’s elbowing his way to the front of a group of dignitaries went viral, and is seen as representative of Trump’s childish disposition.

Der Spiegel, the German magazine with weekly readership of 840,000 and billed as the “most read publication of its kind” in Europe, has harnessed the collective contempt most Europeans harbour toward Trump in an article entitled, “It’s Time to Get Rid of Donald Trump”.

Author Klaus Brinkbäumer pulls no punches and vocalizes what many think (myself included) when he calls Trump a “laughingstock”.

“He is a man free of morals. As has been demonstrated hundreds of times, he is a liar, a racist and a cheat. I feel ashamed to use these words, as sharp and loud as they are. But if they apply to anyone, they apply to Trump. And one of the media’s tasks is to continue telling things as they are: Trump has to be removed from the White House. Quickly. He is a danger to the world.”

The world increasingly moves toward a collective sense that Donald Trump needs to be removed from office. Legitimizing pontifications by Republicans fighting for political survival notwithstanding, the ascent of Trump appears to have been an outcome of Russian meddling with the electoral process.

But the effect of Trump’s victory on the human psyche is more damaging to the future of human potential, and its ability to overcome what will surely be the lasting echo of his carnage on societies great and small.

First and foremost, Trump’s ascent has emboldened the ignoramus segment of American society who condone sexism, racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, lying, cheating, bigotry, prejudice, and the worst of humanity’s peccadillos, acceptable, or even desirable. They celebrate the advent of such sinister leadership, and act out accordingly. The actions of Montana’s newly elected governor on the day after he is charged with assault of a journalist are a case in point.

Attacks on minorities in the U.S. are up across the board, and while impossible to articulate a scientifically bulletproof correlation to that  and the election of Trump, an anecdotal correlation is sufficient for most.

Internationally, one must question the extent to which despotic governments such as those of Duterte and Putin are reinforced by the suppression of liberal leaders in favour of the ignorant.

 

Is the U.S. trying to legitimize Trump?

There  several inconsistencies in the entire hand-wringing exercise now underway in the United States as it pertains to whether or not the boundlessly self-enamoured president of the United States was, in fact, colluding with Russia, in hijacking the electoral process during the last election.

Let us consider first the list of alleged crimes the Donald had committed prior to his becoming POTUS, none of which were permitted to receive the same level of attention as Ms. Clinton’s email server.

We have the Donald as barred from raising funds for his charity in the State of New York, as a result of irregularities that constitute, in their entirety, the disqualification of his charitable organization from raising funds in that state as a charity. No criminal charges have been brought.

We have the Donald on a bus with a television personality of dubious talent and merit, bragging about sexual assault against several women, which, despite the media ballyhoo, resulted in no criminal investigation.

We have the Donald reportedly settling, for tens of millions of dollars, lawsuits charging him with defrauding students of Trump University. Again, no criminal investigation has been reported.

Yet despite these mysteriously swept-under-the-carpet de facto cases against Trump, we are instead diverted to the saga of Russia and Russians. How is it that these instances of law breaking were not thrust into the spotlight more forcefully – at least, one would hope, on an equal level with Hillary Clinton’s server – despite abundant evidence?

While all this was happening, the head of the FBI repeatedly caused his pontifications as to the criminal charge-worthiness of Ms. Clinton’s email server to be quoted and published in multiple national media outlets on what has been revealed to be, apparently, non prosecutorial evidence.

As the fact of Russian interference in the U.S. electoral process through the hacking of Hillary’s campaign personnel’s email and sharing it with WikiLeaks is increasingly corroborated by evidence, evidence supporting the concept of collusion remains absent.

Could it be that the United States is, much like its elected leader, in need of a narrative that doesn’t conflict with its own self-image? Are we witnessing the construction of a scenario that lays blame on external forces and leaves the concept of American invincibility unquestioned?

Regardless, one thing is increasingly clear here: America has been had. And in attempting, in oh-so-American style, to make a purse out of a pig’s ear, it has lost the confidence of the global leadership, and some might argue, its leadership role on the global stage.

They’ve fallen for their own puffed-up self-importance and thus rendered the population susceptible to the perception management mechanism called media. The dismal turnouts at the ballot box in America (55% in 2016, up from 1996’s all time low of 49% burt well shy of 1876’s all time high of 81.6%) points to a national apathy toward or contempt for democracy equal to just under half of all voters.

Donald Trump has arced from improbable underdog of the American ignoramus class 6 months ago into today’s almost universally reviled bumbling buffoon who even his own supporters are beginning to distance themselves from in an unprecedented short time span.

During this vortex of contradiction and inability to muster even the most basic of accomplishments in that office, it is beginning to look like the end is nigh. But with Vice President Mike Pence – already compromised as being complicit in some of Trump’s most egregious lies – in line to fill the post, one must wonder: How can the American self-image as leader of democracy and freedom survive this ongoing failure of democratic principles?

What long term damage has been done to the credibility of the office of the President of the United States, and by extension, the American people – and what can anyone do to repair it?

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