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By Owei Lakemfa
The United States has been the focus of world attention since its macabre political dance began with its November 3, 2020 elections. This degenerated to the invasion of its parliament by overfed and over-pampered child-adults and then, to Congress impeachment by 232-197 of President Donald Trump six days to the end of his term. He is also to go on trial in the Senate after the January 20, 2021 inauguration of President–Elect, Joe Biden.
All these have put a lie to some of the myths about America being the champion of ‘The Free World’ and Democracy. These have also produced the irony of the mass media clamping down on a sitting President by withdrawing his Twitter handle and removing him from Facebook and YouTube for fear that he might accidentally press the trigger of conflagration. In denying President Trump use of these media channels, the media is reversing the age-old tradition of governments using state power to repress the press. Isn’t the pen truly mightier than the sword?
The claim that the on-going struggles in America are about democracy is not really correct. They are actually last ditch efforts by the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, WASP, establishment to maintain a power superiority which is slipping through its fingers. Western Democracy in America despite the principle of one person, one vote, is subverted by an ancient tradition in which a man like Trump who loses an election by over 2.8 million votes, is declared the winner and goes to the White House.
What skewed democracy subjects the electoral will of the people to some warped processes of attestation? What electoral system says that after a man like Biden wins an election by seven million votes, he still has to be subjected to some state ‘Electoral College’ and parliamentary certification? Why is the world fighting shy of telling the Americans to throw away their archaic and undemocratic electoral process and simply rely on the ballot?
Apologists try to portray old chap Trump as an exception when American history is replete with cases of losers rejecting results and resorting to violence. The case of Abraham Lincoln in the November 6, 1860 elections which he won, but the losers decided that he will not be President mainly because they do not agree over the issue of slavery, is an interesting one.
When Americans tell us that their present drama on the world stage is “Un-American” because they are the champions of democracy, I ask where? In the Democratic Republic of Congo where they conspired with Britain and Belgium to overthrow and murder a popularly elected Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba? In Ghana where its Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, overthrew democratically elected President Kwame Nkrumah? In Iran where they overthrew Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddegh and imposed a monarchy under Reza Pavlavi? In Guatemala where they violently overthrew popularly elected President Jacobo Arbenz and installed military rule? In Chile where they carried out one of the most violent coups in human history which included using aircraft to bomb elected President Salvado Allende? Were these the acts of democrats or people who believe in human rights?
The fact is that the US was built on violence, the blood of the indigenous Indian population who were almost wiped out, and that of African Americans who were enslaved for four centuries from 1619. Until today, 402 years after the enslavement of the Black people began in the US, there are still worldwide campaigns to impress it on the American White establishment that ‘Black Lives Matter’. In other words, the 1776 American Declaration of Independence which proclaimed that: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal …” was a blatant lie told against itself. In fact, many of those who wrote that Declaration were slave owners. The simple truth is that the Black people were not recognised or accepted as human beings. So this declaration did not apply to them.
Also, the Declaration screamed that American “Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”. It was false as the Black people were not allowed to vote freely. In fact, until The Voting Rights Act of 1965, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, various laws, policies and legal barriers prevented African Americans from exercising their right to vote. In contrast, Nigerians as a people under British colonialism, began exercising the right to vote from the general elections of September 20, 1923. That is 42 years before African Americans got the voting right.
Also, under colonialism, Nigerians were not subjected to lynching as African Americans were in ‘the land of freedom’. Even after the Statue of Liberty was installed on October 28, 1886, Black people were lynched by the White Supremacist ancestors of Trump for another century. So, is America truly the homeland of democracy and a beacon of freedom?
It is the violent culture on which America is built that largely accounts for that country of 326,474,000 people, owning 393,347,000 private guns. That is 120.5 firearms per 100 persons. In contrast, Afghanistan that has been in violent conflicts for over four decades, has 34,169,000 private guns or 12.5 guns per 100 persons. Russia, America’s greatest military rival with a population of 143,375,000 persons, has 17,620,000 private guns or 12.3 guns per 100 persons. China with the largest world population of 1,388,233,000 persons has 49,737,000 private guns or 3.6 per 100 persons.
How can America claim to be dedicated to world peace when it has been responsible for some of the most horrendous atrocities in world history? In August 1945, the Japanese were in retreat on all fronts and the end of the Second World War was in clear sight. That was when the Americans chose to test the efficacy and effects of their atomic bombs by dropping two on Hiroshima and Nagasaki resulting in 135,000 civilian casualties. Its bombings of Vietnam in a vain attempt to stop that country going socialist, resulted in the death of two million civilians with 5.3 million injured and harvesting 11 million refugees. Additionally, 675,000 Vietnamese soldiers and 47,434 American combatants were killed in that senseless war. These do not include the casualty figures in the American military interventions in Vietnam’s neigbours: Cambodia and Laos.
Given the difficult circumstances of its birth in a strange land by refugee parents mainly fleeing persecution and poverty; its violent weaning from its foster British parents and having to grow up very quickly in a dog-eat-dog world, America grew up to be a street bully trusting in the gun. So, the world has no business ‘Making America Great Again’; rather, it should hold a mirror to help it see its true reflection and reform its ways.