Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Why Donald Trump? US Democracy?

I must apologise for commenting on the politics of another country. I have ended up taking an immense interest in what is happening with Donald Trump and the USA. Normally my interest in USA politics was minimal. I was frequently turned off a lot of American stuff, (T.V. programs, show biz hoopla and sport) so did not take any real interest. I could not understand the processes for selecting a president and the Senate and Congress. I liked President Obama and had a US friend in Dunedin who was a fan, so I took more of an interest in him. But the advent of Trump has drawn me in much more. I have learned about the election process and the Senate and Congress, and know much more now. (But am still pretty ignorant and still picking stuff up.) I check "Trump News" every day. There is a heap about the current situation I do not understand.
I do not understand how Donald Trump got elected!
I take one look at the man and I think he has poor character. In his campaign he said things like, "I know more about ISIS than the Generals", "I know more about the Bible than anybody else." "Nobody knows more about walls (taxes, etc. etc.) than I do." "I know lots of words." - Now people who make such extravagant claims, whoever they are are just displaying their ignorance. They are weird to say such things in public. The average New Zealander would immediately be put off by someone like that. It is impossible to be an expert in so many fields and when somebody spouts like that, how come the average USA citizen doesn't say "What the...?" He cannot take criticism without putting down the questioner with name calling and weird down putting comments. It is bad school yard, childish behaviour, so how come so many USA citizens didn't say "Good Grief, he's not fit to be president?" He cannot answer questions put to him logically. If you look at his answers they are often in half finished sentences, he gets off the subject and evades direct answers. Again "duh?" Why didn't it ring alarm bells? I could go on, but I could not believe, and cannot fathom how such a man got elected. My first look at him, even on "The Apprentice" before any political involvement, had me going "Yuck!" The fearful thing is that in someways he shows in an extreme way the end result of the twisted values we in western society often applaud. He is outgoing, pushy go-get-'em type of person. He is rich! He is powerful. He has gorgeous women, expensive clothing. etc. etc.  He perhaps high lights how weak and superficial our western values are.

I do not understand how respectable, seemingly responsible members of the Republican party are loyal to him?
Donald Trump is a liar? I guess all politicians lie, or are careless with the truth. They exaggerate. They leave facts out. They put a questionable slant on things. But Donald Trump tells endless bald, bad, straight out lies that fact checking can discount. I watched him answering a question about the North Korean leader's involvement in the Otto Warmbier's death. He took time out for self aggrandisement. ("I freed the hostages") but then prattled on about "I don't believe he did", "there are terrible things that happen in jails" etc. etc. I looked at his language, his face, his body language and thought that if one of my children was talking like that in answer to some investigative question, I would immediately assume they were making it up and lying. And I would be correct.  Donald Trump lies his way through life.  He responds in derogatory, down-putting ways in controversy, often name calling. It is not a great example to the children of the nation! It is not very constructive, adult and meaningful interaction. His morals are questionable. He abuses his power. The number of people linked to him who have been charged with criminal activity shows the sort of crowd he mixes with and depends upon.  I could go on. If I was an American citizen (and I am pleased I am not) I would probably be a Democrat. But I have read of and learned about Republicans who seem decent, caring, responsible citizens. As I watched videos of Cohen giving his testimony and the Republicans questioning him, I thought "How can you support Donald Trump so loyally?" I look at Vice President Pence and his loyal support. He is a Christian, meant to be a follower of Jesus, yet he talks of Trump like he is USA's messiah? I see the Republican law makers supporting this awful man, and wonder where their moral compass has gone? Even if the economy was booming, there were heaps of jobs etc etc. this man is just not fit to be the leader of a nation! He is an embarrassment. "Why do you support him?" I want to scream at them. 

America prides itself as a democracy, and yet one man seems to have such power and control?
I look at the New Zealand democracy and the political system here. Our Prime Minister does not have anywhere near the freedom Donald Trump has. If she wants to put a policy in place, she has to argue it before her caucus of elected people. Her political party would probably have a say. Then she has to argue it through three readings in parliament with various inter-party committees looking into it.  The finance minister, Minister of housing, Minister of Foreign affairs, Minister of health etc. etc. are not some personal friend in life that she calls in to have power and influence in running the country. They are drawn from elected members of Parliament who are accountable to the electorate for their actions and decisions. It seems that Donald Trump can make up policy while he watches his TV shows and can action policy. e.g. "Lets pull out of Syria!" The Republican Party has little input into it. He can declare a National Emergency. He can have his daughter, son-in-law and friends, or acquaintances acting in powerful roles in the White House whether they are equipped for the role or not. It feels very undemocratic from our point of view. The President has powers and decision making freedoms that our prime minister would never have. People making important decisions are not accountable to the electorate. If I was an American I would say that "the advent of Donald Trump teaches us that some how our political system needs looked at." The wrong person can be so destructive in power, and is basically unchecked.

Horrible Blasphemy!
I was absolutely repulsed when I watched President Trump winding up a speech and extolling the values he claimed to be promoting. "In God we trust!" he shouted. "Yeah right!" Not my God. He does not in any way exhibit the ways of Jesus! It made me sick to the stomach to see the distortion and cheapening of the way of Christ! 
Sarah Sanders also pontificated that Donald Trump was "God's man". Bullshit! That too is blasphemy. Pat Robertson, the religious right preacher also said the same sort of thing and other evangelical, people with questionable theology and motives are extolling Donald Trump as "of God". They are cheapening Jesus and the way of Jesus and I absolutely reject that and am repulsed by it. 

I hope that in 2020 the United States gets back to some sort of civility and normality. "I believe that evil dies, good lives on, loves on and conquers all." wrote the celebrated English Army Chaplain, G. A. Studdert-Kennedy.  I guess I keep watching Donald Trump news hoping for that victory to happen, because I think he is a sick, evil man!