Unfolding Trump lessons for Bermuda
“There are two types of pain you will go through in life: the pain of discipline and the pain of regret. Discipline weighs ounces, while regret weighs tons.”— Jim Rohn
In 2016, in one of the most hotly contested United States presidential elections ever, Donald Trump defeated a powerhouse candidate in Hillary Clinton. The US electoral college system was exploited in a way that resulted in the major contradiction of it electing a leader who lost the popular vote by more than three million.
Trump's appeal to a disgruntled minority turned out to be demographically strategic enough to get him to the White House.
Consequently, the federal leadership of the US appears to be blatantly opposed, with its national interest in favour of its minority base. What the world is witnessing is what happens to a country at the mercy of a leader who appeals to his base against the national interest.
A very similar parallel is occurring in Britain, where a majority base via referendum succeeded in Brexit. As a result, the country's broad national interest is now in significant opposition to the mandate to leave the European Union.
The most noticeable effects that we are witnessing in the US is a big decline in the standards of decency, morality and decorum in the leadership and in the country. The minority base that supports the President doesn't care what he does or says; it will support him.
It doesn't care if he is upstanding, respectable or politically correct. It is very willing to accommodate or even applaud the lowest common denominator of his personality.
His obsession with building a wall, which is a symbol of hatred and contempt towards the people it is meant to keep out, is enough to support him.
It doesn't matter how many lies the President has been proven to have told by daily fact-checking. It doesn't matter whether his politics is diversionary, self-serving or contradictory.
We remember the scandal of him, while a presidential candidate, being taped speaking the utmost vulgarity against women, which did not faze his base at all. He even bragged, while a candidate, that he could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot someone in broad daylight and his supporters would remain steadfast.
So, what does a country do when it is faced with this problem? What valuable lessons can this teach?
What will become of a democracy when most of its people remain silent when the national agenda is hijacked by such leadership? What happens when a people remain apathetic to a vocal, single-minded demographic with blind loyalty to a leader or political party?
It may inspire you to keep in mind that Rome wasn't built in one day. Neither was it destroyed in one day. It occurred over time with a series of corrupt, self-serving leaders that squandered the nation's resources and consistently eroded its national integrity. It occurred with the gradual weakening of the country from within until it succumbed to the forces of economic impoverishment, social decay and political corruption.
In hindsight, the only thing that could have saved Rome was for its upstanding citizens to have actively engaged the Government and to have decisively exerted themselves on the political process before it was too late.
• Vic Ball was a One Bermuda Alliance senator from November 2014 to July 2017
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service