4 December, 2022


A Lesson For Sri Lanka’s President From The Failed Trump Administration

By Chandra Jayaratne

Chandra Jayaratne

Many in Civil Society are of opinion that the President, in keeping with the commitments of his successful election manifesto accepted by a majority of voting citizens and the pledges he reiterated upon the assumption of office and the inaugural address to the parliament, must ensure that the government led by him, including his cabinet and the key decision making executives, desist from knowingly uttering falsehoods, presenting non-transparent information or engaging in deceptive acts; and further ensure that they collectively commit to uphold the truth and present the reality at all times, however unpalatable it may be.

It is verily believed that there are many instances in governance seen over the past year, where key members of the government have failed to meet the core value of upholding the truth. Some of the instances pointed out include:

* The effective application of the principle ‘One country, One law’ for all in society

* The Controversy surrounding the burial of dead bodies of covid patients

* The denial of potential high risks attaching to external debt settlements

* Non transparency of the Budget 2021 tagged by a professional as “Playing ostrich or parading in the Emperor’s new clothes?”

* Non transparent deals connected with highway contracts , Privatization of the ECT and sale and lease of state lands

* Expecting high level FDI of USD 2.5 billion in 2021; whilst preventing forex forward contracting and commercial banks from declaring cash dividends

* Promoting Modern Monetary Theory and promising Infrastructure Project Investments of Rs. 5 Trillion,  within an already stretched budget with high fiscal deficits 

* Non transparent withdrawal of pending court cases and pardoning previously convicted persons

* Covid patients declared as originating from defined limited number of clusters; with no community spread

* All Mahara prison rioters who died, none had died from shooting but by attacks of fellow prisoners

* The denial of purported scams involving oil and sugar imports, and non-transparent imports of antigen test kits and coal

* Sand mining and deforestation rackets continuing on a massive scale

Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican, was America’s President during an eight year term from 1901 to 1909. The popular quote “In the Long Run the Most Unpleasant Truth Is a Safer Companion than a Pleasant Falsehood– is attributed to President Theodore Roosevelt. This valuable lesson appears to have been ignored by the Republican one term President, Donald J Trump, who relinquished office last week. Al Jazeera’s Website trumps his falsehoods at the end term, with a headline “Donald Trump’s farewell falsehoods: Fact check”. What a way to end a presidency and have recorded in history that headline as the end quote. The publication goes on to record that “US president claims credit for things he did not do and twists his record on the coronavirus pandemic, veterans, taxes, economy, capitol insurrection, China, and ISIS” .

His successor in office, President Joe Biden in his inaugural address, inter alia stated the following: “This is democracy’s day.  A day of history and hope. Of renewal and resolve. ……The right of dissent peaceably, within the guard rails of our Republic, is perhaps our nation’s greatest strength……….What are the common objects we love that define us as Americans? I think I know. Opportunity, Security, Liberty, Dignity, Respect, Honour and yes, the truth. Recent weeks and months have taught us a painful lesson. There is truth and there are lies. Lies told for power and for profit. And each of us has a duty and responsibility as citizens, as Americans, and especially as leaders – leaders who have pledged to honour our Constitution and protect our nation- to defend the truth and to defeat the lies. …….. That democracy and hope, truth and justice, did not die on our watch but thrived.”

I am sure as a former American citizen, a disciplined and trained soldier ingrained with core values developed at the alma mater, the quotes of Teddy Roosevelt and Joe Biden above and the lessons from  how Donald Trump was headlined by the Al Jazeera post his one term in office will resonate in the mind of our President and embed in his mind the path he must tread, recollecting the famous Robert Frost Poem The Road Not Taken:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

May our Buddhist leaders, who bless the leaders in governance regularly with “Raja Bhavatu Dhammiko”- “May the ruler be just” also stress the lesson from Buddhist philosophy – “Before You Speak let your words pass through three gates; Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 7

    After obtaining success at the Parliamentary election, President should have tried to run the country without favouritism; without targeting the minorities; without releasing the criminals ; without sending law abiding citizens to prisons; without hurting anymore those civilians who were affected in the past; without using the security forces in performing civilian duties; without causing any FURTHER Human Rights violations ;without giving jobs to unsuitable candidates; without considering merits for job appointments;without creating FEAR in the minds of all Sri Lankan’s; without creating uncertainty to the diaspora—->Please change your COURSE ASAP

    • 3

      Most of those are just irrelevant to those who voted for Gota in 2019 and 2020. Gota only needs them to win again.

      Remember minorities did not vote for Gota. So he has nothing to lose from them.

      What matters is the relative economic share of Gota’s voters and scrapping 13A. If Gota can scrap 13A before the 2024 election, he is going to win big. The SJB/UNP Opposition cannot match this.

      • 2

        I agree with you that most of those are irrelevant to Gota or Mahinda or SLPP as well. Of course scrapping 13A or cremating Muslims dead bodies, or destroying Hindu temples and replacing with Buddha’s statues or massacring Muslims and Tamils will give a win in election even if Buddhist Sinhala people are begging for a meal..

        • 1

          Scrapping 13A can save billions which can feed a few hundred thousand.

          Gota only has to look after his voters to win again. But he is failing that. So he will lose unless he scraps 13A just before the election.

          Tamil people are also begging for a meal.

          • 0

            “feed a few hundred thousand”
            That cannot be enough to win the election.

  • 0

    Trump has not failed but just starting the same journey that was done by the FP then in SL in the 70’s when the people started voting them out in Jaffna…to form a new entity and went for separation??? how this turned up in SL is something Trump should take a note of immediately??for his wish list/policies to work/ever be implemented for the greater good of his Nation of People?? Trump does not need a baby brigade trained in neighbouring countries like Canada and Mexico? the confederates are all ready to go and armed and well trained even to one can say seasoned veterans in wars overseas as they fair share of the soldiers/police etc??

    However not sure what we all want the current GOSL to do?? get the armed forces and the police to stand down and see what happens in our Nation tomorrow??

  • 0

    As long as there is 50/50, Federalism/Separatism/unitary state but different formations/I can live amongst you but you can not/I will dictate who else lives in your space but when you try to reclaim a bit of lost land I will cal it settlements/I am few but demand more share in all I inherited from the colonial past/I do not care if your children understand the language or even for that matter the oppressed Tamils understood the language I love English medium/we can loose the uniq language Sinhala that exists in the world but happy to have it lost I dod not care/I need education and all the civil service jobs…is kind of problematic to assimilate a lot of people who do not feel at home amongst all others is it not?? before /during and after the war I live amongst you anyway because you are too nice.

    My way or no way..now I will kill you anyway…….dare you get upset and kill me I will will have you screwed anyway…. has to stop from the ghetto makers for us to here the elected in SL speaks the same as Joe Biden.

    Maybe it is not too late????

    • 0

      It is a good job the UN never asked what the FP/TULF did for the past 70 years as elected Tamil MP’s……….for auditing purposes…..will be the biggest joke ever in the world.

      Job scope definition understanding/action list/progress report/mile stones and difficulties achieving the set goals of serving the people..I wonder what would they say..should be made a Television Program broadcasted to the world…

      Achievements – hate speeches, sold children to foreign ventures..aggravated the affected people of the Nation post colonial period until they resorted to violence periodically……spoke more and more hate speeches and have more people killed to keep my job alive/turned the parliament into a court room drama whilst I practised law privately too…have investments and interest all around the world but am not corrupt..my life style may contradict the low cast Tamils and I live in Colombo most of the time.

      Wow what an achievement……….never been done before in the human history….a uniq event indeed. In fact is an educational event for the UN who may be wondering why some Sinhalese hate us so much.

      • 0

        Then the UN would ask how come such an oppressed people were able to leave their Nation and come and serves teachers, doctors, engineers and serve them around the world as best educated people?? who were building the infrastructure, paying the salaries, training the teachers, giving the Nation of people free education and health care, cooperatives giving people food to survive…no huge starvation seven during the Cold War blunders of the super powers in the region…what a terrible GOSL we must have had then…little do they know the real story of the FP/TULF and the foreign Tamil Nadu gutter politics (nothing to do with the innocent Tamils who were the victims too in India).

        • 0

          Having won the 1977 elections the TULF send a bus load of “children” to educate the loosing candidates (who escaped several attempts on their live by the same earlier) to shout we do not want electricity, water, hospitals, labs, schools, roads, bridges, jobs…..only want self rule…….very many of those children have died killing each other having been trained in various camps in Tamil Nadu.

          Our GOSL should have the same resolve as those patriotic public servants to ensure no party will ever do this to their community/children ever again please….no such elected parties and MP’s never escape the noose please. Then the time came they TNA criminals were sitting in Colombo unfortunate children and the public has to face the tune in 2009 having lost all sense of reality in their life a long time ago for the TNA blunders.

          Everything that was done those public servants all their lives were undone forever….that is exactly what Trumps bizarre actions after the elections try to do… use the proud boys for their end??

          • 0

            Assam; My Country, My Home 101 east

            Welcome to FP/TULF blunder and the GOSL journey that no US can educate us..let alone our own refugees created by someone else do not even have a place they can call home in Tamil Nadu.

            • 0

              Even the Indians Tamils came to UK as “refugees from Sri Lanka” have the British Passport some 30-40 years ago.

  • 1

    Wrong lessons.

    Trump administration failed because it confronted China (with severe and targeted economic impact on pro-Trump US states).

    There is a reason why former US presidents did not mess with China (despite knowing the China threat). Fools dare where angels dire to tread!

    Still Trump could have won the election had he (like most his predecessors) started a new war (with North Korea or Iran).

    Gota certainly failed. But he can still pull through a massive election victory in 2024 and 2025 if he scraps 13A.

    • 0

      (despite knowing the China threat)
      Can you elaborate on this threat?
      Is is worse than the US imperialist threat to any country?

  • 1

    Teddy Roosevelt was a republican. Back in those days no real democracy existed. The country was controlled by the robber Barons Carnegie-Steel, JP Morgan- Banking, Rockefeller-Oil, Vanderbilt – Rail Roads. The shop foreman would summons all the factory workers on election day which still is not a holiday and instruct them to vote for the republican running for president. If they did not do as instructed names were taken down and in a few days the disobidient worker was fired. There were no Unions. The newspapers were bought and paid off. Teddy Roosevelt railed against al these injustices while still being republican. This was embarassing for the Party so in order to shut him up they made him the vice presidential candidate to William McInley. Of course the Republican won and and Teddy became VP. Then something totally shocking happened. A disgruntled worker shot McInley dead. Teddy becomes president to the horror of the Robber Barons. He lead the charge to break up corruption and wipe out the monopolies of Oil, Steel, Banking and Rail Roads. The very first efforts at environmental conservation were also lead by Teddy. When you oppress and decieve people so badly, all your scheming devious plans can go wrong resulting in surprising changes.

  • 1

    I think a better title for this article would be “Lying Does Not Pay: A Lesson for Sri Lanka’s President from Trump,” rather than “A Lesson For Sri Lanka’s President From The Failed Trump Administration.” Trump the man and the Trump administration are not necessarily the same thing. Trump the man was a pathological liar, a genuine narcisist and a consummate braggart, which characteristics contributed in good part to his defeat in the last presidential election. A good many of his tweets and public utterances were odious and did not endear himself to many. He WAS a failure so far his public persona was concerned, but undeniably had some accomplishments as president, so the characterisation of his administration as a “failure” is not based on facts. A exhaustive list of Trump accomplishments as posted by the former administration can be found at https://trumpwhitehouse.archives.gov/trump-administration-accomplishments/. A more fact-checked version can be found at https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/11/opinion/fact-check-trump.html. The latter by New York Times, a newspaper by no means friendly to Trump. One omission in the NYT article appears to be Trump’s success in securing the southern border.

  • 2

    Gotabhaya’s “The Road Taken”
    What is politics, I asked the people
    It’s the science of leadership, they said
    Hell, I know nothing about science or art
    Well, slaves had no choice, here I am!
    Easter Attack made me very lucky
    I am the man, they all needed me
    Fear is a very useful emotion
    And animosity goes both ways, right?
    My path was easier than I thought
    Cos’ Sangha knew my buyer personas well
    They preached the public to trust “their choice”
    That was brilliant, I had to do nothing
    I got everything what I wanted
    I have covered up every loophole
    Supreme Court is now openly political
    Proud Generals today sweep my path
    Some Yellow Robes are a lousy lot
    Why can’t they now leave me alone?
    Kewatta Council never criticizes
    Mahanayakas are wise to shut up
    Hundred Thousand Roads and One Million Trees
    One cubic metre is thirty thousand
    Basil is a genius with Kallaru experience
    Don’t be jealous, we are smart
    And, now what with this ECT, man?
    Didn’t I tell you, “India First”?
    Next is Delft and Nainativu to US
    MCC is to return, hence the reforms
    Wahabis, Boras, Kolas, Moors
    They are all mine, have to treat them well
    I am now Rajah to “Brothers” and “Saints”
    “Dhammiko Cult” can go to hell!

    • 2

      Hundred Thousand Roads and “Ten Million” Trees
      One cubic metre is thirty thousand
      Basil is a genius with Kallaru experience
      Don’t be jealous, we are smart

      (1km X approx. 100 trees)
      After Sinharaja, Kurunegala and various other numerous places, the latest crime of the Rajapaksas to the environment is in Sri Pada and Rumassala hillsides.

      With the forest cover gone due to government sponsored EXCESSIVE deforestation, very soon Sri Lanka will experience severe landslides, holes on hillsides, floods, mudslides and even undersea hill-slides and holes in the beach due to excessive sand dredging in the sea.
      Rishad Bathiudeen was asked to pay for the reforestation of the Kallaru Forest Reserve in Wilpattu. (Interestingly he has stated that it was Basil who cleared the forest!)
      If we calculate the loss;
      Rishad and Basil have cleared 2388 acres in a bio-diverse old growth forest reserve.
      There are approximately 900 trees in 1 acre forest.
      That means, the duo have cut down approximately 2,149,200 trees (2388 x 900) in Wilpattu!!!!
      1 cubic metre of an old growth tree is worth approximately Rs. 30,000.
      That means, the loss is 2,149,200 x 30,000 = Rs. 64,476,000,000!!!!!! This is no joke.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 5 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.