Provocative Conscience: For us in Africa, Trump is our mirror

Trump Donald Walks US Presidential, Donald Trump

Wed, 4 Nov 2020 Source: Frederick K. Kofi Tse

As many in the world watch with keen interest the American political campaigns and elections, the prayer of many around the world is that Donald J Trump, the 45th President of the united states does not become the eventual victor.

Here in Ghana, the usual parallels are being drawn but this time with some caution. Last week the minister of information in a statement said there are no links to be drawn in Ghana’s election 2020 and the elections ongoing in the USA.

For fear of the electoral shock which occurred in the USA against polls, including exit polls by credible pollsters, one does not want to stake a wild wager and get heartbroken.

Largely, Africans are in the bad books of Trump and the reverse is true. He, citing mismanagement by African leaders, is reported to have called out the continent with some unprintable words.

To add insult to injury, he met the Black Lives Matter movement’s protests with force and did not mince words to call them names as he deemed fit. As a result, we in Africa have assumed the place of the Pope, invoking all sorts of moral definitions of who a leader should be, without actually saying anything.

The election is believed to have the potential to transform geopolitics at a time when liberal capitalism and globalization are being contested by nationalist politicians and voters across the world.

It is believed the fall of Trump will trigger the toppling of nationalist governments around the world including Bolsonaro of Brazil and that retaining Trump also consequently will keep the rise of nationalists in full momentum. Indeed, a loss for Trump will bring a sigh of relief to most American allies including NATO members.

Despite haven been caricatured as a reckless leader whose bombastic nature offends an overly politically correct but heavily hypocritical world, he remains a force to reckon with. Trump may be tough-talking but his Foreign Policy despite being quite confrontational has not been aggressive military-wise. For this, his consistency sure deserves some praise.

Biden who is believed to be an even-handed candidate is preferred by the world despite the fact that he holds no magic wand to the American economy and sounds indecisive.

This only points to what is conventional: that no one wants to work with a leader who doesn’t care about what is being said about him but cares only about what benefits come to him and his people. This is exactly what Trump represents. Trump is the one person who comes to upset the applecart and topple the world political establishment and ideologies with very simple arguments: to liberate the American people. His message has been set so clear since 2016-Make America Great Again.

To be sure, Trump’s straight-talking nature has been laid bare in his best-selling books way before his ascending the presidency.

He is today everything he promised in 2016 to do if elected. Among his promises was to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan and Syria, crush or weaken the strength of IS, reduce trade imbalances between the US and China in order to bring manufacturing jobs back to America. He may not excel on all these policies, but no one can deny the fact that he’s chalked marked successes in these and many others.

Trump’s administration achieved the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years. Low-income wages in America saw growth of about 5%.

A Bloomberg analysis of Trump’s aggressive trade policy with China portrayed that, in the long run, America rather than China is the ultimate beneficiary. Flourishing stock markets have been consistent under Trump except in a few times in the COVID-19 period.

Thus, his biggest trump card is his performance on the economy. That is why he’s hinged his campaign message on Bill Clinton’s 1992 slogan, “it’s the economy stupid”.

No one has the right to insult the other without any provocation. But among Ewes there is the saying that mirrors can be insulting.

This happens when the mirror is dirty or broken, giving off an irregular image. For us in African, the image Trump shows us is who we are.

Trump is our mirror and mirrors are not destroyed because they don’t make us look good. So, Africans should redirect their anger to their leaders who continue to govern us as if we are less humans.

We cannot be respected unless we build an admirable continent.

Columnist: Frederick K. Kofi Tse