By Kunle Jenrola
With a jaunty display of ignorant intelligence…a bloated ego…a tongue that outraces the brain , the portrait of “Roger Ramjet,” the hyperpatriotic American (Classic Cartoon) superhero of the 1980s is alive and well in President Donald Trump.
Indeed, the re-enactment of “the Ramjet reality ” is being played out by Trump, the quintessential Reality Showman in his episodic romance with COVID 19- these last couple of days.
Somehow, the mealy -mouthed, straightfaced, cartoon animation found an expression in Trump’s “America First” mantra pitched against his prosaic “Trump First”, handling of the pandemic and his inevitable contracting of the virus.
Yet, in a typical Realityshow fashion exemplified by the melodramatic confirmation of Trump’s Covid 19 status, his short and risible hospitalization, an indiscretionary “Thank You” drive past to his supporters while on admission and a discharge within 48hours of admission at the Walter Reed Military Hospital, is a mockery of orderly conduct of a responsible leadership.
Worse still, he showed up on the White House balcony yanking off his facemask and boasting about his superhuman invincibility against the virus; heightening the risk of infecting more family members and staffers.
Instead of using the occasion to eat the humble pie and educate the citizens correctly on the devastating effects of the pandemic that has claimed over 200,000 Amercan lives , he chose a dangerous spin that his reckless exposure to the pandemic is a mark of chilvary.
Of course, not many expected a more decorous conduct from someone who has been consistently selling deception and unscientific cocktail of cures to innocent Americans; all as part of a self -centered, desperate re-election stunt.
With a host of credible polls marking him double digits below his Democratic contender, former Vice President Joe Biden , it’s understandable why Trump is behaving worse than a cat on hot bricks.
Leading to these developments is a Trump trail of heavy -handed paternalistic moves and an autocratic disposition that triggered a high turnover of top political appointees, confidants and personal staffers.
It is pertinent to note that before reaching the tipping point of his Covid 19 flip-flopping and his eventual date with the coronavirus, he had, like Roger Ramjet, waged a myopic and selfish battle against the “assorted forces of evil”: setting off trade wars and pulling out of World Health Organization (WHO ).
He made a sport of prosecuting a campaign against such “evils” that made him lose the popular votes to Hillary Clinton and castrated him taking any decisive action against Russian intervention in the American Presidential election that saw him into office.
In pursuit of an illusory greatness, he stifled criticism at home while , employing subtle blackmails on foreign governments. This tactic came to a head in the Ukrainian Aid saga which resulted in his impeachment by the US Congress.
Needless to state that under his orchestration, the country is going into a crucial election more divided along racial and religious lines.
Where ,then, do we go from here with “this Desperado” threatening to get back on the campaign rally to make up for grounds lost through indiscretions.
What with the political optics of the next Presidential debate(s) which could determine where the undecided voters could swing.
The emerging scenario is that after their principal’s impulsive rejection of a vurtual debate, the Trump camp agreed to a face-saving debate on October 22- a week than earlier scheduled due to the “mystery” of Trump’s Covid status. In response, the handlers of VP Joe Biden,the Democratic candidate also seem prepared for another face-off knowing full well that there is need to follow up on the positive portents of the Kamala Harris (VPs Debate) performance and capitalize on his (Biden’s) comfortable lead in the polls.
As events unfold, President Trump is likely to get more paranoid and spread a contagion of fear by levelling unsubstantiated allegations of a rigged election with a view to de-legitimise an outcome unfavourable to him; thereby causing restiveness among his cult- like followership.
These quirks of behaviour tend to put many writers and researchers to work on Trump’s bewildering persona and controversial books, all of which have compelled a deeper prognosis are being published.
But , we may yet gain an insight into Trump’s mind through the philosophical proposition of Friedrich Nietzsche that “a politician divides mankind into two classes: tools and enemies”. Even as Trump may not be a politician, his politics or lack of it seems to fit into that philosophical model as there’s
evidence to show that people are either tools or enemies to Trump.
A peep through another prism also shows that Trump may, unwittingly, be acting out Nietzsche’s Treatise on “Transvaluation of Values”, in which he rejected subscription to traditional moral values of honesty, humility, patience and discipline as Signs of Weakness and evidence of ” Slave- Morality which conflicts with “Master -Morality”.
Sadly, the perverse strong points of Nietzsche’s Master Morality, are totemic of a Trump presidency; his solid evangelical base notwithstanding.
*Kunle Jenrola is a veteran journalist.