WHEN MIGHT IS RIGHT: THE TRAGEDY OF THE US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION AND LEADERSHIP VACUUM
For anyone who has been following the recent American Presidential election [post-election] debacle and [following the] sad tragedy that it is fast becoming [an assault on democracy and its norms in the United States, he] would be forgiven to conclude that Might is Right. The deafening silence of the developed world and global leaders, even the [official] policeman of the world, United Nations political observers, in what is evidently an assault on the sanctity of the democratic choice of the people of America, is confirmation that those who are powerful can do as they like, unchallenged. [Although a few world leaders have voiced some rumblings of exasperations on the shenanigans of President Donald Trump (the loser), and quite a sizeable number of world leaders have also congratulated President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. (the winner), these have been largely muted as private musings and by the conniving State Department who would not extend its communications services to the President-elect as is normal at these times].
To imagine that the almighty America is dancing naked to the horrific glare of the rest of the world is a painful spectacle that deserves a careful study. If the events in America had been in any country in Africa with their juvenile democratic experiments, the rest of the developed world, led of course by America would have bored down on them with the sanctimonious preaching and hypocritical noise about the superiority of the American democracy and electoral process. America would by now have sent strong signals that they would be considering sanctions against such countries. It was just in July 2019, that the US government issued visa restrictions on Nigerian politicians who, it says, “operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and undermined democratic principles and human rights.” But then, this is the almighty America. The whole world has gone mute! Might appears right after all. [it can be argued that the world is watching to see how firmly the American democratic and civil society structures will hold in the face of this unprecedented assault before chasing the wolves, the same world leaders and America would have been up in arms against an African attempt in the making. And of course, that African country would have long caved in to the dictatorship prone juggernauts].
[Let it be known that] the fact that the “outgoing” President Donald Trump has held America hostage and exposed the inadequacies of their presumed, time-tested, perfect democratic system is down to two major issues, amongst many:
- It is inconceivable to write every rule down but [we tend] to depend on the good conscience and patriotism of high office holders to observe laid down codes of behaviour as it has been for centuries, in this case, the transition of power. The American constitution and its electoral process had not envisaged the occupation of its highest office by some feral underclass that would threaten the fundamentals of its founding. Anyone who has had the audacity to read the highly controversial Social Darwinist book (not for the faint at heart) written in the late Victorian Era, “Might is Right”, would ask in agony, how is it, that men of light and intellect in the Republican party hardly ever call in question the manufactured moral codes under which their once vigorous country is slowly and surely eating out its heart in peaceful inaction and laborious dry-rot. Evil persists when good men keep silent.
A most poignant and apt quote from ‘Might is Right’ in the current American crisis is “although the average man feels in his heart that nearly all political conventionalisms are dynamic deceits, yet [we may ask] how cautiously he avoids any open display of antagonism thereto? He has not the courage of his opinions. He is afraid to say openly what he thinks secretly. In other words, he is living in a state of subjectiveness of vassalage. He allows his brain to be dominated and held bondage by the brain of another. He listens to the most hideous lies being glorified as sublime truths.” The average GOP member in America (especially Republican Senators) is manifestly blind to the corporate harm that President Trump’s intransigence and break from normal presidential protocol is doing to their country’s image internationally. The longer this political fiasco lingers on the world stage and America continues to dance naked, the harder it becomes to launder its damaged electoral system and legitimacy.
- The admission of a complete outsider without political experience and with total disdain for the rules of the game into the highest office in the land is an aberration. Political education comes from active participation in politics and openness to the tutelage of well-known, seasoned, political actors or military discipline which fosters unflinching patriotism and inclusive leadership on officers. President Donald Trump is the first US president never to have held an elected office or served in the military. A complete outsider, and a choice which has now come to haunt not just the Republican Party, but the whole country. Worse still, he did not grow into the job.
In most recent memory, Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush were both one term presidents who had hoped they would have a second term. Though disappointed and almost depressed, as in the case of President Bush, they both had smooth and friendly transfers of power, putting the country above their personal political interests and ambitions. The 2000 American Presidential election was one of the closest and most controversial votes in US history, where the incumbent Democratic Vice-President Al Gore was pitted against the Republican governor of Texas and son of a former US president, George W. Bush. The election came down to one state – Florida – where both candidates were separated by only a few hundred votes. The final margin was 537 votes out of a total of almost six million cast in the state. Mr Gore conceded, saying that while he disagreed with the court’s decision, he accepted it, ]with the words], “I accept the finality of this outcome which will be ratified next Monday in the electoral college. And tonight, for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession”. Those are words of noble and patriotic American leader who put his country above his personal ambition. To properly put this into perspective, it is instructive to note that although Al Gore lost the election, he took 48.38% of the nationwide total vote to George Bush’s 47.87%, [one of the few times the winner of the popular votes had lost the presidency].
What we are seeing playing out in America right now does not bode well for many of Africa’s fledgeling democracies who look at the American system as an exemplar. What moral legitimacy would an American government have, to stop a repeat of the Babangida’s annulment of the 1993 elections in Nigeria? If might were not right, Nigeria could have dispatched former President Goodluck Jonathan, who conceded defeat to President Muhammadu Buhari in a keenly contested election, to go and educate President Donald Trump on the imperativeness of putting country first.
That the whole of the GOP leaders would remain mute spectators in this ignominious saga that promises to erode the last vestige of respect that America still has on the international scene, not to mention the seeming irreparable damage it has done to its democratic institutions just beggars belief. Men of valour and integrity would say that it is better to lose one’s life and save the soul and country, than to be an accomplice to blatant lies and subterfuge. According to the ghostly Ragnar Redbeard in ‘Might is Right’, “Wherever, a lie is built unto itself a throne, let it be assailed without pity and without regret, for under the domination of a falsehood, no nation can permanently prosper”.
Akin’s piece as quoted and amplified above explains the chaotic political scenes in America today. It is only the rule of law that is holding the fabrics together thus far. America and the world are losing thousands of people daily to the cold hands of death from Covid-19. It is inconceivable and unconscionable that the sitting president and the GOP will derail for three weeks the transition of the President-elect in the middle of this pandemic. Great Britain has now rolled out its vaccine for public use, but America is still lagging behind. And so does the rest of the world. It is obvious that the world is moving on without America. However, the superior logistics and financial muscle that America brings in its game will be lacking when America is absent. Yes, the world needs American leadership. And America needs the world too. The masquerade must dance to an audience, lest it will go away unappreciated.