I always dreamt of an American dream, in fact, people from my country (Pakistan) thought so much of it to label me a “CIA” agent. My crime: espoused American values and ideals of freedom in every sense, expression, faith or none, human rights, compassion to the extent that most migrants from Asia, Africa, South America, and Pacific belt feel more secure, valued and “at home” in America than their own countries. Ask any of them to go back to their homelands and they’ll tell you to take a hike. Because America treats them with dignity and equality.
Americans almost always had fine leaders, Lincoln, Eisenhower, JFK, even Nixon, Reagan, Ford, Carter, Bush Sr, and Jr. Stop right here. GW Bush Jr – the man who inherited 9/11 something most world leaders would leak in their pants if happened to them, even the one’s succeeding GWB till today. I cannot imagine a more difficult time for a leader than one GWB had. The heart of America, the symbol of Capitalism burned to ruins by a rogue group of haters thousands of miles away. Chaos everywhere. If Obama was in his place he’d probably blame America for it and offer compensation to the attackers. If Trump was there he’d probably blame the Left in California for funding the terrorists. Luckily for America there was GWB, while people made fun of him, that man, rock-solid as he was stood his ground, took quick and firm decisions, some paid off, some didn’t – but that’s what leadership is, every roll of the dice don’t get you the jackpot. But you do the best you can. GWB did. He united America under the star-spangled banner, under time tested American values and challenged the haters in unequivocal terms, he reached out to Allies with a clear with us or against us message, he was a strongman needed to fight strongmen. He laid the foundation for the destruction of the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and ISIS.
GWB rocked. And after him, America is just counting rocks thrown at her. Obama, a man from the once marginalized and abused African American community became America’s first African American President. People had high hopes, I’ll be honest I did too! I thought he will now mend the wars and unite humanity. To an extent, he probably intended to but he was simply too inexperienced, he won by votes lost to his own incompetence. He wasn’t ripe for POTUS perhaps if NOW he fought elections I bet he’ll do 80% of what he did differently. For example, not naming an American Healthcare policy after his own name! (Obamacare), not focusing on playing for the Nobel Peace Prize to the world while the American economy, racial tensions were worsening. He not only ignored them but was partisan in his assessment of color based events, which earned him the disdain of the very own voter base that brought him in. Like perhaps focusing on making African Americans competitive? Something he totally ignored, centuries of slavery and marginalization had/has left many African Americans in ghettos, singing rap, doing drugs, binge eating, blaming the “white man” and not really vying to rise out of the vicious circle around them that ironically Obama did himself! If only he’d become a motivational speaker for the Black community of America inspiring them with his example and telling them that if an Asian or African or South American or Chinese or Russian immigrant can “make it big” in America why can’t the homegrown African Americans? This was not to be in 8 years. Obama was the “good guy” talking about the environment and all things lofty and irrelevant to his voters. Frustration rose in America. I was in America in those days, 2015, 2016, and later 2018, most “liberal” pro left Americans brushed off Trump as a “nobody” – Hillary didn’t even start her campaign till much later by the time Trump had ignited enough hate against her and the left. I tried to reason that “I think this guy will make it” and people scoffed at me, my own family in DC or NY “you’re not an American, we’ve lived here for decades, we know how it works.” – famous last words for many I guess!
One man capitalized on it. A charlatan, an ex-Democrat himself, a friend of Clintons and Obamas, a billionaire made on bankruptcies, beauty pageants, Reality Shows. Donald Trump! Trump had only one aim, he was a businessman and he knew aims were important: leadership. No one took him seriously but he took his aim seriously. Obama’s voter bank was bleeding, the Deep South “Bible Belt” was fed up with pro left, pro-abortion, pro LGBTQ overtures of Obama administration. They needed a savior, a born again Christ to show them the way. And they were mobilized using anger by blaming each and everything on Obama and his team, hate became a tool to power. Hillary became Killary, “lock her up” was chanted all along in MAGA caps all across America. Never in the history of this great nation a woman, a political opponent was disgraced to this extent. It was a summary execution ordered before a trial! Obama and his wife were publicly and constantly insulted in the Trump campaign. Making America great again was about pointing out the bad guys who weren’t necessarily bad, but plain incompetent for their jobs (Obama and Hillary) who she handled Benghazi, how Obama handled 8 years with larger than life rhetoric.
Trump knew what he had to do to win, reinvent himself to be someone he wasn’t – a born again Christian Republican! When you’re used to acting it just becomes easier with every passing scene! And so millions of Americans reveled in the hate Trump gave them, my erstwhile best friend in NYC with whom I stayed a while would be constantly attuned to FoxNews and despite him being an intellectual, a very well-read man, an ex Professor of English Literature at NYU, humanitarian par excellence who served America and beyond, this man would utter the foulest and obscene sentences validating the hate channel (Fox) he was in front of for most of his waking hours. Such was the hypnotic appeal of hate, ironically used by Taliban, ISIS, Al Qaeda, RSS/BJP, Anti Ahmedis in Pakistan, and different religions so forth for centuries. Trump simply applied the winning formula of hate with the results it always delivers. Mind control, power, and subservience.
For the first time in American history people from the same family, best friends for decades would not sit on the same dinner table or meetup even. Such was the divisiveness Trump caused, and still causes, America to suffer. His reelection campaign will have more vitriol – what worked in 2016 would repeat itself in 2020.
What’s truly unbelievable is the Democrat vote bank sidelining the only man who could counter all the power and hate-based politics of Trump with PURE goodness that is what America stands for, Bernie Sanders. But the Right had him labeled a “socialist” – in practical terms America and much of the West IS socialist AND capitalistic in the same breath. You have a welfare state and also ample opportunities for entrepreneurs to grow!
I believe 2020 is a test for the entire humanity and especially America. COVID19 has proven to us how mind control can lead to the shutdown of entire nations, where people ignore facts like the majority get well without needing any treatment yet taking the more serious risk of shutting down economies leading to famine, civil wars and ultimately global wars for limited resources. The George Floyd case in America only partially highlighted police weaknesses, no police anywhere in the world is perfect, and I often asked Black Lives Matters organizers in 2016 who blamed the Police for a lot that “would you prefer police from any African country to replace American police and hence treat you with fairness and justice” some of them were speechless others just fumed and blocked me. American Police is fantastic, yes they make mistakes, I do believe Police Training needs to be rethought out and I volunteer if any listening for the task, building empathy and better communication skills, and stress management to avoid disproportionate responses.
Today is the eighth day after George Floyd’s murder, protests have been happening for 5 days. Trump waited for them to get worse and as of last night announced action. Why so late? Why not “strike the iron when it’s hot” – very simple, Trump was trumped at the incident, clearly the protestors had a point against the police, videos were all over the world, not just America. So how could he offend his voter base by agreeing with African Americans? So he had to paint them black, some say the protestors were paid, I say even if they weren’t if you let a man on the loose long enough he would have done the damage, and so it happened. Now Trump has in his order written one line for Floyd and 50 against the protesters, armed with ammunition, their certainly unlawful reactions that were incomprehensibly lawfully allowed! Evidence my friends’ evidence, so future police highhandedness is justified, “these people don’t deserve decent treatment” and some may say “maybe Floyd did something wrong too!” – it will come to that, but before it does a great nation and a great people would have immeasurably and needlessly suffered.
And the irony of it all is that there are millions of Americans out there who are far better persons, leaders and visionaries than the Obamas and Trumps America got, truly the short end of the deal.
The question is: for how long will good Americans take to wake up from this trance?