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Kakistocracy

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This writer has long considered the United States an oligarchy, where a small group of people – namely the most wealthy – are in control. This, certainly, can’t be denied: wealthy lobbies purchase Congress through generous campaign contributions, which then does the lobbies’ bidding. One example of this is the fact that, while survey after survey shows that most U.S. citizens want sensible gun control laws, Congress, whose members received millions of dollars in campaign contributions from the National Rifle Association (NRA), has not only blocked them, but also made it impossible for citizens to sue gun companies if they happen to be injured by a faulty gun. There are more safety controls on the manufacture of teddy bears than there are on guns. Individuals on the government’s ‘no fly’ list, who are forbidden on commercial airlines because each is, apparently, a ‘terrorist threat’, can purchase any guns they so desire. This is an indication of the strength of the NRA.

Additionally, increasing support of the U.S. citizenry for the human rights struggles of the Palestinian people is drowned in Congress in a sea of Israeli-lobby money. The will of the people is thwarted, as the dictates of the wealthy few are enacted into law.

Both of these examples are detrimental to the ‘common’ man and woman, but fully advantageous to the 1%.

But since the early part of this year, this writer has begun to feel that, if the U.S. government could only be categorized in one way, ‘oligarchy’ might not be the best description. No, with Donald J. Trump as president, and with his bizarre antics during the last six months causing puzzled, stunned amazement around the world, perhaps ‘kakistocracy’ is a better categorization.

Kakistocracy: 1) a state or country run by the worst, least qualified, or most unscrupulous citizens (Wikipedia); 2) Government by the worst persons; a form or government in which the worst persons are in power (Dictionary. Com); 3) Government by the least qualified, most stupid members (amroali.com).

The definitions of ‘kakistocracy’, as shown above, certainly seem to support the idea that the U.S. is, indeed, a kakistocracy. We will look at these definitions in some detail here.

* Worst, least qualified: My Trump has never held elective office. He has demonstrated a tenuous grasp, at best, of history and current affairs.

+ In a speech praising African-American activist Frederick Douglas, who died in 1895, he said this:  “Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who has done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice.” Many listeners felt that this statement indicated that Mr. Trump was not aware that Mr. Douglass had been dead for over one hundred years.

+ During a speech in March, 2017, at the National Republican Congressional Committee Dinner, he said this:  “Most people don’t even know he (Abraham Lincoln) was a Republican.” A Pew research study in 2012 indicated that 55% of people surveyed knew that Mr. Lincoln was a Republican. Only about a quarter of the respondents thought he was a Democrat.

+ After trying unsuccessfully to convince the Chinese government to influence North Korea to cease its nuclear activities, Mr. Trump dropped this pearl of wisdom: “After listening for 10 minutes (to Chinese President Xi Jinping), I realized that it’s not so easy. You know, I felt pretty strongly that they had a tremendous power over North Korea. But it’s not what you would think.” Few people with more than a rudimentary knowledge of the world would think as Mr. Trump did prior to his conversation with the Chinese president.

* Most unscrupulous: Former FBI director James Comey refused, apparently, to put loyalty to Mr. Trump over his own Constitutionally-mandated duties. As a result, he is now unemployed. And he only learned that he had been fired by the president when he saw that most interesting fact reported on the news.

* Most stupid: Although few presidents had the opportunity to govern by Tweet, Mr. Trump has embraced this rather unique method, with less-than-stellar results:

+ He announced his Muslim travel ban via tweet, before anyone else in government was aware of it, causing untold chaos and problems for government agencies and travelers alike.

+ He used the same method to reverse an Obama-era rule that allowed transgender citizens to be part of the U.S. military; Pentagon officials first heard about it when news of his ‘Tweet’ was reported.

So what does this mean for the United States and the world? Well, the results, actually are mixed: some benefit for the world, and none for the U.S. One example: Mr. Trump has insulted Mexicans, beginning during his campaign, calling Mexican immigrants rapists, criminals and bad ‘hombres’, and insisting that he will build a wall between that country and the United States, that Mexico will pay for (the Mexican president has stated categorically that there is no way on God’s green earth that Mexico will ever pay for such a wall). Now Mexico is working with Argentina to import corn and soy to Mexico: in 2015, the U.S. exported $2.3 billion worth of corn to Mexico, and $1.4 billion worth of soy. It is anticipated that those number will decrease dramatically in 2018, thanks to Mr. Trump.

More and more countries are perceiving that the U.S. is surrendering its leadership role on the global stage, which can only be beneficial. As China and Russia ascend, providing more influence in the world, and as Mr. Trump seeks in his own peculiar way to ‘put America first’, governments around the world are beginning to realize that they must look elsewhere for leadership, and such leadership may move the world in a different direction. Shortly after the G20 Summit, Mr. Trump made good his promise to withdraw from the Climate Change Accord; although the U.S. is one of the world’s major causes of climate change, other countries can now take more aggressive positions on this topic. The Russian government apparently influenced Mr. Trump to cease the U.S.’s criminal, murderous and illegal support of terrorist groups in Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin can, perhaps, fill the U.S. void, and work, not for more war, which is always the way the U.S. operates, but to prevent war.

Citizens in the U.S. may lose health care, see prices rise for goods imported, and be able to export fewer products. The out-of-control police force in the U.S. may ratchet up its violence, killing more innocent people with complete impunity. The public school system, already leaving its students far below the achievement level of those of most other industrialized countries, will continue to deteriorate. And, despite the influence of Mr. Putin, more U.S. citizens may be called upon to kill and die for new U.S., corporate-fueled wars.

A world power in decline, like a wounded animal, is always dangerous. It is hoped that the danger that the U.S. has always been to the world, which may now be amplified, will be controlled, to minimize the damage. If the U.S. can only continue its decline in power, as Mr. Trump runs amok domestically, a future president may find a government easier to control, with fewer fingers in international pies. This would be a boon for the country and the world.

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Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).

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