Lessons from last kicks of a disgraced Trump

Monday, January 11th, 2021 00:00 |
Donald Trump.

Despicable as it was, the insurrection at the US Capitol Hill pronounced the superpower as what we have all along known: a society where the colour of your skin determines the treatment meted on you by the criminal justice system.

You are either seen as a threat to be met with brute force that has over the years led to deaths of many African Americans or as an entitled bloke who is entertained at the expense of State security. 

A lot has been said about this insurrection, but three key aspects emerge. First, we note that the face of the violent protestors was not youthful, or rather cannot be framed as youths like we normally see in Kenya. 

They are a group of, sorry to say, predominantly white middle aged, fairly ignorant folks.

In fact, they announced to the whole world that even in a country that has been flaunted as the beacon of democracy, there exist an “elite” group of very ignorant voters who have very little understanding of the society they live in. 

They have this sense of entitlement and some misplaced far right mentality, that America is theirs.

This group that was easily mobilised by President Trump’s  tweets did not have the presence of mind to realise that they were damned if Trump won or clung to power and equally damned now that he is going home.

The good, old President has not even thrown them under the bus, he has crushed them with a trailer by calling them despicable and has asked for the full force of the law to be rightly meted on them.

This is a man who was celebrating with close aides and family as the bunch of these ignoratis were making their forceful way into the Capitol.

Assuming that he survived his weird attempt to cling to power, definitely, he was not gonna serve these ignoratis interests.

The would be beneficiaries were in that room with him celebrating a would have been constitutional ‘coup’ in the US. 

Fundamental lesson

The second aspect is a fundamental lesson for us voters in Kenya. Twenty four years ago Albert Arnold Al Gore, as the outgoing Vice President of President Bill Clinton was the president of the senate and he chaired the joint senate and congress sitting just like Mike Pence did last week.

His supporters were contesting the vote count in Florida and they made solid arguments on the floor of the Senate in support of his cause. But he chose fidelity to the rule of law. 

It is instructive to note that only five Vice Presidents in the US history have had the pleasure of receiving the tally of electoral college votes from the States and declaring themselves validly elected, the last one being George H. W. Bush. 

But Al Gore and Mike Pence are worth our while because they demonstrated leadership.

Al Gore declared Bush the validly elected President of the US, after a protracted legal battle in a tradition of constitutionalism.

That tradition of constitutionalism is the same pathway Pence followed when, at the expense of his own privileged position, a position he would have continued to enjoy for the next four years, he chose fidelity to the rule of law.

He safeguarded a long held tradition even at the expense of his boss and his small click of hangers on, who were busy celebrating an affront to the US seat of power and democracy because it offered them a small glimmer of selfish hope. 

Al Gore and Pence are not institutions and the US institutions without distinguished men and women like Pence and Al Gore would be meaningless.

They both demonstrated the American spirit of constitutionalism, which is the only safety valve any society has for legally limiting the excesses of those in power. This spirit transcends institutions and calls for leadership. 

Finally, and as St Paul told the Philippians, in looking at the US elections; and our very own political processes in the lead up to 2022, we need not emulate or talk about what is good, but think.

Think about leaders who will inculcate a tradition of legally limiting authority and power.  [email protected]

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