The Arena Hildegarde
ZIMBABWE’S 2018 general elections are around the corner, and for the first time in decades some hopefuls are making us look and feel like American politicians who will campaign for two years, raise billions of dollars to sponsor their campaigns and still emerge with winners and losers under a process where they think the rest of the international community are minnows to referee.
Meanwhile, they will not bat an eyelid as they tell you (without invitation), how you should run your elections since they always want their poodles to be in charge. But as the US presidential race is now underway, it is time that we tell the know-it-all umpires of democratic processes that it’s time their electoral process was also umpired by an outsider, and judged free, fair and credible or otherwise.
Apparently, the presidential race is now a free for all, in itself a fulfilment of the American dream, and not necessarily the wish to serve the people. This makes a mockery of democratic processes. While the race for 2016 is underway, rapper Kanye West has already announced his intention to run in 2020. Yes, Kanye West of the Kim Kardashian fame. The same Kanye whose pictures of him wearing a jacket emblazoned with that racist Confederate flag emerged soon after the white supremacist Dylan Roof gunned down nine black worshippers in South Carolina.
I couldn’t help agreeing with Evan Bartlett who wrote in People magazine that “American politics is about to get a whole lot more ridiculous.” It is also becoming more comical and heartless. Kanye West, who once reportedly compared himself to the Lord Jesus Christ, told guests at an event: “Yes, as you probably could’ve guessed by this moment, I have decided, in 2020, to run for president. . . it ain’t about me. It’s about ideas, bro.” Yeah! Kim Kardashian for First Lady in 2020!
Although Hillary Clinton seems to be the strong Democratic contender, she still has serious issues to deal with. What works in her favour is the notion that in as much as Barack Obama became the first black president, she might land the top post, becoming the first woman president in the United States. She also has experience in public affairs matters. Notwithstanding that we do not vote in US elections, the majority in our part of the world feel that woman or no not, Hillary is a warmonger. We remember too well her role in Libya and her remarks after the callous murder of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi by rebels with the help of NATO troops.
Hillary also has to deal with the mess emanating from her use of a private e-mail server when she was Secretary of State, an act that might have compromised national security in any country. If she thinks that it will go away any time soon, wait until she is endorsed as the Democratic Party’s sole candidate. Then there is the 2012 Benghazi incident, which resulted in the killing of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and two members of the Navy Seals by alleged Islamic militants.
Questions are being raised whether some of the classified e-mails on her private server contained sensitive information about Ambassador Stevens’ location in Benghazi. And then there is Monica Lewinsky, that White House intern who almost cost Bill Clinton his presidency. She has decided to make a comeback so that people know that she is still there, and is capable of annoying Hillary once in a while.
But it is the Republican Party that is sending shivers down the spines of most people outside of the US. Apart from having 17 presidential hopefuls, it managed to spring the biggest surprise by having billionaire Donald Trump on its list. His meteoric rise has surprised many who thought that the real estate mogul was just adding some colour in a party whose chances of landing the presidency looked quite slim. But when all is said and done, there is a likely possibility that come November 2016, Trump could actually be declared the President of the United States of America.
It is a frightening prospect for a lot of people. He pulls no punches and shoots from the hip. He has the ability to annoy all and sundry, but still manage to have high ratings, as the parties await their primary elections. When push comes to shove, he has intimated that he can stand as an independent. And it would be folly not to take him seriously, because the guy — maybe because he thinks that his money talks more than he does — is quite serious. So far, he has stepped on everyone’s toes including colleagues in the Republican party. What surprises will he spring up when he starts talking about his foreign policy agenda, considering that it was one of the very first issues that he brought to the fore and has managed to make it a campaign issue? Key issues include immigration and China. For example, he would want to see 11 million immigrants deported and says he can do it because he is a “great manager.”
In an interview recently, Trump said, “We’re going to do it in a very humane fashion. Believe me. I have a bigger heart than you do. We’re going to do it in a very humane fashion. “You know what it’s called? Management. . . I’m a great manager. I know how to manage things. I hire unbelievable people. What we’re doing here will work great. Once I win, you’re gonna see things happen.” To which the interviewer Jorge Ramos stated that: “Trump is a would-be dictator with dangerous ideas.”
He has been on women’s cases, and recently it was black people, where he is now being labelled a chauvinistic white male who uses his financial muscle to downgrade people of colour (Latinos and African-Americans). Listening to his remarks about other people other than himself, it’s evident that he is egocentric and does not care what anyone thinks because he believes that he has what it takes to fix America: “Trump: Make America Great Again.” Despite that, his star continues to rise and some believe his noise and rhetoric contain what the American public wants to hear, but cannot say so openly.
In June, he lashed at immigrants from Latin America, Mexican immigrants in particular saying: “The US has become a dumping ground for everybody’s problems. . . When Mexico sends its people, they are not sending their best. They are sending people that have lots of problems, and they are bringing those problems to us. They’re bringing drugs. They are bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some I assume are good people.”
People were incensed, but he was unfazed as he attacked individuals, groups of people and big countries such as China. When cornered, Trump went on the defensive claiming that he employed hundreds of Latinos, women and black people. Recently, he told black people to go back to Africa. Several reports said while Trump was speaking about the protesters holding up signs saying: “Black Lives Matter” in South Carolina, he was asked what he would do about the protests and the issue of racially-motivated violence.
In the true Trump fashion, he responded: “There’s no such thing as racism anymore. We’ve had a black president, so it’s not a question anymore. Are they saying black lives should matter more than white lives or Asian lives? If black lives matter, then go back to Africa. We’ll see how much they matter there.”
The queen of talk-show Oprah Winfrey could not take it as she lashed out, “The die from that toupee must have seeped into this cracker’s brain and driven him crazy.” The Republican 2016 presidential candidates website sums him up very well: “Trump doesn’t pull any punches, and has explicitly stated that neither he nor the country ‘has time’ to behave in a politically correct fashion. . . His rhetoric is staunchly, unequivocally, unapologetically conservative.”
We have watched as Trump, whose ancestors were also immigrants, trashing everyone, and making himself the best of the pack. We know that he is not yet done. He will find fault with every country because the 11 million immigrants he wants to deport are from all over. His temperament is such that when he is in the White House, he can order that certain countries be attacked, even without provocation, just because he does not like them, or they are not doing his bidding.
On another note, imagine how the United States government would have reacted if this “trumpish” language and attitude that violates other people’s freedoms had been used in countries like Zimbabwe. It would result in more illegal sanctions and even being taken to the United Nations Security Council. But of course, this is the United States. No one anywhere is qualified to raise concerns about Donald Trump, including the United Nations. He is exercising his First Amendment right under the American constitution. My foot!