By Yvonne Ridley
I WAS determined not to write about the American president in this column but Donald Trump keeps saying and doing things which make it impossible to ignore, like some needy, spoiled brat that demands the attention of those around him.
With each hour he brings a new low and with each opinion that tumbles forth from his mouth he disrespects and undermines his own position as the leader of the so-called free world.
The many discombobulated pronouncements he makes on Twitter and from the Oval Office raise a huge question mark over his stability and ability.
So far we've had Muslim travel bans, verbal brawls with political allies and old enemies and the threat to annihilate the entire civilian population of North Korea while putting another nation - Iran - "on notice." Can the American people not see how this plays out on the world stage.
Trump has destroyed the global order while killing political satire and virtually silencing the intellectual elite who still cannot quite grasp that a racist, misogynistic buffoon has somehow hijacked the most powerful job in the world.
Now he has offended and insulted the noble people of the African continent and Haitians by describing their countries as "shitholes." However, we cannot really blame Trump. To be brutally frank the frankenstein monster is a man made product, the creation of a large swathe of brassed off American voters, and guess what? This heaving mass of political discontent will do it all again next time around.
The warning signs were there during the campaign trail in the summer of 2016 when Trump did and said things that would've stalled and ended the journey to the White House for even the most consummate of politicians, but we all ignored the runes. However, the hardcore support base that propelled this nightmare into the Oval Office is stronger than ever and this is the real problem. His backers and fans simply don't care about the vile content of his speeches and are determined he will serve a second term as US president.
The Washington Post commissioned with ABC News a poll which concluded: "Roughly two in three Americans say that they think Trump is unqualified to lead the nation; are anxious about the idea of him as president; believe his comments about women, minorities and Muslims show an unfair bias; and consider his attacks on a federal judge because of his Mexican American heritage to be racist."
The poll also revealed that 41 per cent of Republicans acknowledged that Trump is unfairly biased against women and minorities while 42 per cent described his comments about Judge Gonzalo Curiel as racist, and 33 per cent admitted he was unqualified to be president. Despite all of this, they still voted for him.
Furthermore they don't appear to give a damn about the contents of Michael Wolff's shocking book, Fire and Fury, which reveals that even his White House aides regard Trump as a "child" who needs "immediate gratification". The book is based on about 200 interviews, and despite Trump's claims that it is "phony" it has become an overnight sensation and best seller.
Trump tried to stop the publication of the book which also hints that the president's mental health is failing and he could possibly be bordering on insanity. The contents are damning, so you'd think Trump would now pull out all the stops to portray himself as a tenacious, intellectual, articulate leader on the world stage.
Instead, we now find ourselves grappling with his latest statement: "Why do we want all these people from 'shithole countries' coming here?" It was a question he asked last Thursday in a meeting with a senators and House members on immigration. His "shithole countries" was in reference to the fact that immigrants from places like El Salvador, Haiti and Africa are protected in a potential bipartisan deal to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme and secure funding for border security.
The reaction of White House staff was even more revealing when not one tried to deny it and his media team even appeared to defend the statement. White House spokesman Raj Shah said: "Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people."
It is clear in televised segments from Washington that Trump has the verbal dexterity of an intoxicated clown in a circus jalopy. He has little or no grasp on international issues or diplomacy, and at times hasn't a clue of what he is even talking about. He is a man who has a long distance relationship with hard facts and cold truths, and such a poor memory he often contradicts himself in subsequent sentences.
One of the biggest mysteries is why Muslims in America continue to defend Trump and yet they do. Is it because some are from countries run by crackpot dictators and unhinged rulers? Don't they notice that in virtually every photo opportunity he surrounds himself by a white men in suits? The fact he has few black and/or female advisers in his gatherings does not appear to trouble him at all.
Anyone tuning in from another planet might think America is a predominantly white, patriarchal society. Either that or they're watching a sequel to Margaret Atwood's grim, dystopian story, The Handmaid's Tale.
Meanwhile his largely racist support base cheers him on from the sidelines and they will continue to do so despite the lies, the fake news and his inability to do the job. They simply do not care because they have been seduced by the evangelical calling of Trumpism; it's the brand new faith founded by pale, stale, white men using the bricks of patriarchy and white supremacy for foundations.
Trumpism was summed up perfectly recently by New York Times columnist and author Charles M Blow, who wrote: "It is the belief that even the least qualified man is a better choice than the most qualified woman and a belief that the most vile, anti-intellectual, scandal-plagued simpleton of a white man is sufficient to follow in the presidential footsteps of the best educated, most eloquent, most affable black man."
He was, in essence, resurrecting the words of former US President Lyndon B Johnson who once said: "If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best coloured man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you." In short, white power and white privilege literally 'trumps' all in today's America - this is not a cause for celebration in any Muslim community.
The antics and drama of a madman in the White House might keep us all entertained on this side of the pond but it is the responsibility of US voters to make sure history does not repeat itself by allowing Trump a second term. Using your democratic vote is the only way to stop this madness and insanity.
There has to be another way of reaching out to marginalised, working class communities vulnerable to lies, spin, fake news and evangelical-style saviours as well as populist politicians.
While many of us here in Britain and Europe look over beyond the Atlantic with great sympathy the truth is you got the president you voted for ... and if you didn't use your democratic vote then shame on you. If ever there was a case for getting politically active, Trump is it and remember when voting next time in the US Presidential elections think of us living outside of the USA ... whoever you choose will impact on everyone's lives, such is the nature and importance of the job of POTUS.
-Sister Yvonne Ridley is an author and journalist living in the UK. Her latest books is called TORTURE: Does it work? Interrogation issues and effectiveness in the Global War on Terror. You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.com/Torture-Interrogation-issues-effectiveness-Global-x/dp/1782668306
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