Wed | Dec 13, 2017

Editorial | Stand up to Trump and his bigots

Published:Saturday | August 19, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Amid the chaos and dysfunction that continue to characterise the Trump administration, the Jamaican Government must find a way to maintain its interests with the United States, as difficult a proposition as that might seem.

But even as Jamaica seeks to do so, the Holness Government should acknowledge the moral and other failings of Washington under the maniacal and erratic leadership of Donald Trump and begin to look beyond his administration.

We had hoped that notwithstanding the ignorance in which he wallowed and the buffoonery which he embraced, the awesomeness of the United States presidency would have had a sobering influence on his approach to domestic and global affairs.

It had dawned on us that Mr Trump was exploiting xenophobia and nativism for political advantage as he and Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate, duked it out on the campaign. We had assumed that at his inauguration on January 20, Donald Trump would have shed the hybrid

persona of class clown and rabble-rouser and grown into the role of commander-in-chief, taking seriously the responsibility that emanates from the global leadership expected of the United States.

But reason and elevation have had no effect on Donald Trump. If anything, the presidency has had an enervating effect on the White House and caused his ill-thought policy shifts - ranging from immigration, to health care, to bombastic threats of building a border wall and getting the Mexicans to pay for it - to spectacularly implode.

 

MOLLYCODDLED EXTREMISTS

 

Instead of strengthening America's position in the world as a a moral force and a beacon of democracy, Mr Trump has mollycoddled extremists like Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines and genuflected to Russian President Vladimir Putin, hardly an advocate of freedom.

In effect, Donald Trump has ceded leadership to Germany's Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron of France and cheapened America's purchase in global affairs. Even China has become more forward-thinking and cerebral on trade and the environment.

Mr Trump's latest antics in commenting on the attack by neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, which led to one death and multiple injuries, unveil just how dangerous his presidency could become. His attempt last week to create moral equivalency between racist xenophobes and those who were demonstrating against them in Charlottesville amplifies the bankruptcy that has enveloped the Trump presidency.

As a post-slavery society that seeks to reinforce moral and democratic institutions and a civilised polity, Jamaica cannot be indifferent to the apathy of the Trump White House to the corrosive cancer of racism.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness should be bold enough to draw the line with Washington on what is right and decent and ethical. Failure to side with those who champion democracy and its values and who vilify racism emboldens bigots in their march to madness.