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  • Ashok Dhillon

A Tarnished Knight Riding a Broken Nag – To the Rescue of the Unbroken (#23)


Yesterday, Donald J. Trump, on becoming President, tried to portray himself as a White Knight in shining armor, astride his great steed, to rescue a captive and abused fair damsel - a ravaged America. Except, the pretense and portrayal was a hoax. The knight instead is woefully and significantly tarnished, the steed that brought him to power - the Electoral College voting system, is flawed as a democratic instrument that did not serve the will of the overwhelming majority of the voting citizens, and hence in ‘steed’ terms is a broken nag. And America is not a ravaged damsel needing rescue, but is a fair damsel that was ravaged, but since then has already been rescued and was being lovingly restored.

Donald Trump rode to power on a wave of falsehoods, and as of January 20th, America needs rescuing from the new President, who cannot help himself from tilting at pretend windmills, to promote himself to the gullible, while his cynical Party grins and looks on.

On January 20th, 2017, ‘a day that will live in infamy’, Donald John Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States. To say that in getting there he churned a roiling, frothing wake of destructive hate and division is to understate it. But somehow, with the help of a quirky anomaly found only in the American version of ‘Democracy’, ‘the Electoral College’, where every American citizen’s vote counts, kind of, but not really, and with some outside assistance from a dear Russian friend, ‘Russian President for life’ Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump managed to win enough of the Electoral College votes necessary to beat his rival and become the next U.S. President.

Exempting his rabid supporters, and the alt-Right radical fringe, and the good people of the ‘rust belt hopefuls’ looking for an economic Messiah, who provided Trump the voting muscle to get him the numbers needed, the rest of America, the significant majority, and most of the World, excluding Russia and other dictatorial regimes of course, went into an allergic Trump-induced anaphylaxis shock, from which recovery may be very difficult and prolonged - because of his propensity to shock again and again, as he did with his intemperate and radical Inauguration speech.

Now, most incoming Presidents after having won a hard fought campaign, usually choose to give a conciliatory speech designed to ‘bury the hatchet’, and give in to feelings of magnanimity towards their opponents for the sake of dignity of the occasion if nothing else. But not Donald Trump. Trump stayed true to form and shocked again by giving an incendiary speech that left no political, or socially polite, ground un-scorched, and no politician, outgoing President and his administration unscathed.

Was it necessary? Only to the Donald as he tried to lower the performance bar for himself by painting a particularly bleak picture of America that is inherently false in its overarching message.

Donald Trump is taking over a significantly stabilized America and one where the economic and social numbers are nudging their recent bests. America was a hapless basket of deplorable conditions both economically and politically when President Obama took over. Donald Trump does not have the strength of character or the decency to acknowledge that fact. His instinctive reflex is first and foremost to attack, and then to ignore his predecessor’s enormous achievements and instead belittle them, in order to make progress made under his administration, if any, seem like a major accomplishment.

It’s on the same plane as his pre-election mantra of “the Election is rigged” hoax, which he perpetrated to prepare his followers for the almost inevitable loss of election (at that time), and to protect him from their disappointment and blame. On inauguration day he did it again. Trump likes these manipulative lies as they mitigate his downside going in to a tough circumstance. If he wins, no issues; but if he loses, he can state that the condition of America was worse than he had warned against, and almost near impossible to correct.

He and his message therefore, at the inauguration, are inherently false.

America at the time of Trump’s inauguration is not perfect by any means, BUT, America is generally in good shape and improving, and almost un-recognizable from the mess that it was at the end of 2008 and early 2009 when President Obama took over from the truly destructive 8 years of the previous Republican administration.

Economic performance is just shy of spectacular, considering where it was 8 years ago. GDP growth rate is approximately 3%, which is almost peak performance for a mature economy struggling with a persistently stagnant globally economy. Employment is near 4.7%, which is pretty much full employment for a major functioning economy, and the highest in decades. Stock and real estate markets not only recovered from their depths in 2008/2009 but are at record setting levels at the time of inauguration.

Additionally, nationally, crime is down over time. It is absolutely indisputable that economic and social conditions in America are at almost the best they have been for a very long time, especially considering the severe challenges of the past 8 years, including the relentless and shameless obstruction of President Obama’s efforts by the Republican Congressmen and Senators.

The challenges facing America currently are ones that almost every major economy is facing today: low global demand, over capacity, deindustrialization of developed economies, industrialization of Emerging Countries for cost advantages, high debt, technological disruption and obsolescence of human labour, the inequality gap, and, certainly not the least, global terror.

These are problems that are being faced by almost all the developed economies, and some emerging once like China, and are not unique to America. America in fact is in better shape than most countries. Business and consumer confidence is high, and interest rates are starting to rise because of the growing strength of the economy. This was a time for a steady hand at the tiller, not for one that likes to lob hand grenades for dramatic effect and shameless self promotion.

But that is the person that America incongruously elected.

An honest President would have acknowledged the better conditions and thanked his predecessor for being a good caretaker of the past 8 years, and would have promised to soberly and methodically work to find long term solutions to long term challenges, in conjunction with his government, his allies and his competitors. But not Donald Trump. He is not honest, and has no need to be. His open and provable dishonesty has not cost him, but instead has paid dividends and got him elected. So unfortunately no change in Donald Trump can be expected. And so he carries on, speaking falsehoods fearlessly, even on the day the World is watching and measuring the new President for his worth.

On the scales of truthfulness, magnanimity, decency and dignity, Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States was found wanting. He is a tarnished knight that keeps losing his dimming luster with his every dishonest word and act. America and the World watched and then went out to protest.

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