“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”
Proverbs 16:18 (NIVUK)
Like myself, many concluded four years ago that this con man, Donald Trump, whose name is now approaching that of Judas Iscariot in infamy, would be kicked out of the White House after just a term. Even before the end of his first year, there were whispers that some worried members of his cabinet were meeting secretly to plot his removal by invoking their constitutional rights. Like that man you know, but whose name you must not mention, his behaviour is like that of a madman. A fool remains a fool, at all times, every day. Never fight with a fool as you may become a fool like him. If you fight with a pig, you pull yourself into the mud. This fool dragged millions of others into becoming fools. Dunce Donald turned many wise men into fools as they tried to manage him.
He did not even move into the palace with any dignity to start with. His hat was yellow, his shirt was red, his tie was hunter, his jacket was Monaco, his pant was a parakeet, his wristwatch was mermaid, his pair of stockings was slate, and his shoes came as dandelion. His dress exposed his face, harbour in colour. When he spoke, you see the mauve tongue, and as the mouth reveals itself, you see magenta teeth, and an iris foliage of “mother-in-law tongue.”
Four years, a series of amazing records broken and new ones set within just two weeks to exit in the United States’ 250 years of existence. Impeached twice, setting a new record. There have only been two existing before 2019, Trump’s two means he has equaled the total number of impeachments for POTUS, achieved within a single term. Evicted from Twitter; that does not even happen to a yahoo-yahoo boy! He invaded Capitol Hill to upset democracy; what Robin Hood would not even have tried. He lost a re-election bid and went on a tirade, like Yahya Jammeh, the maniac who once governed the unfortunate people of The Gambia. He set the stage for violence, chaos, and anarchy, like the evil men who created apartheid in South Africa. And in the words of one of his four-year presidency’s collaborators, the Senate President, he “provoked the mob” to overthrow the Congress proceedings. Just for his own sake, he did not even care if they murdered his loyal Vice, Mr Pence, with his family.
The nincompoop, simpleton, became the President of the United States (POTUS) with the highest number of pro-impeachment votes from within his party, with many Republicans equally having had enough of the ninny. Indeed, it was the first time in US history that all members of the majority caucus unanimously voted impeachment for any president.
Accolades! Suffice to say, the biblical Samson must have served as his preface, saving more in death than when alive. Oh, Trump is not dead, but his presidency went into a decrepit abyss. Trump’s presidency, already characterized so, will be remembered as one that badly divided Americans along strict party and racial lines; perhaps, worse than any other in history. However, the last one week has seen a gradual change in the narrative. People put aside party rivalries to conclude that he was not just a wrong choice, but bad enough to prevent anyone like him ever coming close to the public office again.
Let me sermonise, like the fundamentalists who believe in him. For many, perhaps, we have to analyse this as beyond just the physical. Trump’s fall from the highest pinnacle of power in the whole world is nothing but a spiritual event—a profoundly spiritual event that should cause all persons to pause and reconsider their ways. Look at Trump. There is no human being that could have orchestrated the perfect combination of factors that brought him down, leading to his disgrace and shameful exit from the White House as the only US President to be impeached twice.
For the last four years, he was advised; he was warned; he was appealed to; he was cajoled. He was humoured, defied, and was given every benefit of reasonableness to change course and become a true leader. But as one intoxicated, he was blinded by praise, drunk on hubris, deafened by applause, deadened by momentary success, and ultimately, he was brought down by these same things. This is the predictable part—the part that the Bible verse above refers to.
Pride will lead to a big, public fall. Mr Success in Nigeria, Mrs Success in Jamaica, go ahead and abuse everyone you meet on the way. Bravo! Cleverman, assure yourself that you can solve all problems. Congratulations! The rich, maltreat the poor. Success! Professor, you are the best. Oh my God! Egotism has an end, always ending in tears. A homily ends in a warning, the unpredictable part. The ones that must cause every thinking being to pause and reflect and seek spiritual meaning, are the events of the last one year, all of which, like domino pieces, one after the other, led to a cascading collapse of the Trump House of Horrors.
Foremost was the pandemic, so unforeseen, and yet the perfect scythe to cut down Trump’s biggest boast—the economy and jobs. Once the economy nosedived, nothing was left for Trump to boast about. Oh, and that was not all. Believed to be the most secured country in the world by many, Trump could not stop boasting of the US’ military might, resulting in threats, some executed, on nations around the globe. Indeed, while he always seemed to be prepared militarily, he was far from prepared with his common sense. Even when it became inevitable that the US had just been hit with the worst pandemic, his reactions, unintellectual charades, blames, and name-calling ensured he didn’t do what was required to protect the citizens of the US, recording the highest death toll from the pandemic. A clown and a murderer, this is the summary of Trump within the last one year.
Besides the invading force of COVID-19, Trump’s self-caused ¬casus belli for his inevitable fall, his tomfoolery racism. He was sitting atop the apogee of power in a country that has thrived as the most sought-after destination of people from different parts of the world, Africans inclusive. Consequentially, who could have known that the popular event in recent American history—the police killing of an unarmed black man, this time, George Floyd—would successfully galvanise Americans to mobilise intensely, and turn out at the polls like never seen, in unprecedented numbers, to reject a transparently racist president and his equally immoral party. Perhaps arguably, were it not for George Floyd, nominating the first black woman as VP during this election cycle might have remained impossible. Worthy of note is that Harris was not the only nominated black woman, with Stacey Abrams also appointed by Biden himself. The statistical odds have always been against this. And, perhaps, Kamala Harris’ emergence had to do more with her being multiracial in origin—being African-American and Asian-American—thereby appealing to several US citizens.
Unable to cope with defeat, Trump was not ready to leave the White House without his legacy imprinted on American politics. And what could the madman think of? Inciting a racist mob to overrun the US Capitol Hill, maybe to perhaps prevent the Senate ratification of the Biden-Harris fair electoral win. Ever a more stupid clown? And there, Trump left a legacy which without mincing words, was a brazen attack on the US democracy—the pinnacle of democracy around the world. A dirty, oily stain on the White House. Making a comeback is allowed, but Trump sealed his fate with the Republican Party in the mud after his selfish and stupid display of uncouthness and sheer arrogance. Oh! Establishing and registering a new party for 2024 might be a thing. The foolish man is on to a new silly game.
Reflecting upon this chain of events, and it seems only karma, fate, providence, destiny, preordination, and divine intervention of some sort could have planned the last year for Trump. It brings to mind the humiliation of the biblical Nebuchadnezzar, the proud king who at the very height of his kingdom’s dominance, God made to lose his mind and eat grass for seven years like a beast.
‘O Iblis! What is your reason for not being among those who prostrated themselves?’ Iblis said: ‘I am not one to prostrate myself to man, whom Thou didst create from sounding clay, from mud moulded into shape.’ Allah said, ‘Then get thee out from here; for thou are rejected, accursed. And the curse shall be on thee till the Day of Judgement.’Qur’an 15:28.
I will never use my tongue to speak evil!
It all calls for reflection. Sober reflections. Enough said of a colossal disaster making his disgraceful exit already, never to be seen again. Let me rest my head, take my coffee, and of course, go for my morning run, patiently awaiting what the Biden-Harris presidency has to offer us.
Falola is Professor of History, The University of Texas at Austin
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