10 May, 2021

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America Is Punishing Herself For Electing Obama!

By Lankamithra

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

In 2008, amidst a deep economic crisis, when ‘Conservative trickledown’ economic policies of the Bush Administration failed, when the real estate market had become entwined with subprime loans, when Goldman Sachs had to be bailed out whose former CEO was the Secretary of Commerce in the Bush Administration, the American people chose to do the unthinkable. They chose a Black President. Electing a Black President was not even in the wildest dreams among the majority of Americans. But a brilliantly planned and exquisitely executed election campaign delivered the Presidency to Barak Obama in 2008. And they chose to reelect him in 2012. 

Those white folks who dreaded to see a Black family in the White House, those who would never have dreamt of a day when two little Black kids playing on the White House lawn with their dog, those who envied to behold a Black woman as a First Lady of the nation did that unthinkable. Within a matter of eight short years, it seemed as if the United States of America had swayed towards a grand liberal profile.

The election of Donald Trump in 2016 proved otherwise. America has never failed to represent itself as the ‘shining city on the hill’.  Election of Donald Trump reversed the sublime belief embedded in the ‘shining city on the hill’. Trump, in his Presidential Election campaign appealed to the mean base of the Republican Party which is the ‘refugee camp’ for the mean and foolhardy. For them, the American Dream is nothing but a product of individual freedom and total destruction of regulations that governments every now and then introduce and enforce. This cocoon of conservatism is very hard to break into. Although the outer layer may seem brittle and delicate, what resides inside the cocoon is extremely solid and steadfast in its stance. Lack of education of the lower-middle class residents of this layer of society in America, if white in skin-color and social upbringing, tend towards economic populism as a policy on economics and extreme adherence to anti-liberal social standards.

Most of middle-America is rural and conservative. Its core is riveted to yesteryear’s thinking of anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-LGBT and anti- immigrants. However, that anti-gay/LGBT fire is no more flaming. The America of the twenty first century, at least a great majority of this great military power, is distancing itself from that archaic thinking of being parochial about sexual preference of man or woman. To that extent, she has advanced in her outlook of life and society.

But the appeal of populism of a nationalistic genre in the execution of governmental policies, anti-immigrant policy of a ‘wall’ along the Mexico – US border, acceleration of the rate of gainful employment for employable men and women in the country accompanied with a brash, simplistic and downright dishonest and deceitful lying made him a contender to be reckoned with each passing day of the campaign. Donald Trump fit into that mold of a campaigner and he won the American elections. The euphoria that pervaded the country is still lasting at least among his diehard base supporters. Trump, during the campaign, managed to garnish the beauty and ugliness of election lingo that dominated a diverse and polarized electorate. The ‘liberal air’ that the previous administration of Obama generated lost its aura. It was replaced by vitriolic and hateful political branding that was ever to be unleashed on the American political surface. While the Democratic candidate Hilary Clinton was struggling to tiptoe in a delicate dance to explain away the validity or invalidity of a nasty email exposé, Trump branded her as ‘crooked Hillary’.

Once Trump became President, his superficial populism had gained a solid foothold among his diehard defendants. This state of affairs contributed to a serious breakdown in relationships between the White House and the media which Trump calls fake and dishonest.

Trump’s dishonesty and fraudulent claims that have been taken as new reality in Washington DC are a grave new dynamic playing on the minds of the Republican-led Congress, both the House of Representatives and the Senate. But the tragic reality is, Trump as well as the Congress, does not seem to have any hold on the business they need to carry on with for the engagement of the vast American voting public. On the one hand, the Republican Congress is deeply entangled in an ideological mesh, while Trump does not show any loyalty of that sort. Although he tries to depict himself as a realist and a ‘master negotiator’, his accomplishments in the first six months are a meager few. In fact his only major accomplishment is the appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

Ironically, Sri Lanka’s R Premadasa’s is the only politician who could be compared with Donald Trump. Both are wildly popular ‘populists’. Making election promises, which at the time they are uttered on the political stage, look tremendously unrealistic and dishonest but have a magical effect on the ‘have-nots’ of any society, capitalist or socialist. Both Premadasa and Trump have exceedingly inflated egos. They surround themselves only with ‘yes-men’. They value the praise and homage paid unto them by their respective groups of loyal cohorts. The difference between them is as stark as the similarities. Premadasa did not limit his words to high-blown slogans. He delivered. His sense of empathy was unmatched and his pursuit of results sometimes tended to disregard all protocol and established principles of diplomacy and hierarchical demands. Intrinsically, Premadasa was a self-made man who climbed the ‘greasy pole’ in politics the hard and conventional way- he earned it. Premadasa was a brilliant Sinhala mob orator. His demagoguery extended far beyond the mere sloganeering threshold. And his relationship with the media and its men and women were better than excellent. He in fact went out of his way not to make enemies of the ‘Press’.

Donald Trump does not have any of those qualities. His commitment to a subject of a Bill of Congress or foreign policy issue seems superficial and vague. He does not seem to have any knowledge or intellectual obligation of the issues at hand. Of course, the two systems are widely different and the checks and balances that are inherent in the governing premise of the United States are either totally absent or very faintly extant in our governing foundation. Yet Donald Trump’s manifest failure to-date is his inability to arrange the passage of any worthy Bill through a Congress which is controlled by his own Republican Party. That indeed is a great setback. When Trump starts defining his successes in terms of wins and losses, it is quite difficult for the average Congressman or woman to relate to it. It takes the seriousness away from the subject and the burdensome responsibility placed on the members of Congress. When Presidential policies and principles are communicated through tweets in the social media and they are depicted as open and candid Presidential statements, the callousness with which he treats grave matters of national importance is exposed. And that does not represent a serious mind. The following tweet Donald Trump placed in the social media is an example of his superficiality:

North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life? Hard to believe that South Korea….’

In the context of subtle genre of communications among global leaders, this is a reflection of a grossly warped political mind, a mind that is unhesitant to disparage any leader, local or international, with no sense of decency. The great irony in all these tweets and verbal vilifications is the greater sustenance of them by the Republican-controlled Congress and Trump’s base. The candidate Trump has shown that he has not elevated himself to the level of a statesman that all American Presidents are usually held to. The level at which the American media is criticizing their President is unusually high. Yet they too seem to be caught up in the tweet-web Trump has created. The new paradigm is defined in terms of wins and losses, not only in elections, but also in the execution of governmental enactments of Bills and ‘Executive Orders’. This would have been inconceivable five years ago. Barak Obama was held to a totally different standard.  The man who disputed Obama’s right to hold office by questioning his, Obama’s, very birth now has assumed the same office and transformed that office into a juggernaut of distasteful tweet barrages and dishonest statements. It is not only President Trump himself, his surrogates, his Press Secretaries and even some Congressmen do not hesitate to indulge in the same disposition. The four special elections held after Trump came to office, Kentucky, Montana, South Carolina and Georgia, all deep-Republican states, returned Republican congressmen and women.

America that sent the first African-American to the White House seems to be punishing herself for an imaginary sin they committed eight years ago. How far America would go with a President as divisive and uncouth as Donald Trump is yet to be seen. Political power with its entire pervasive enormity is bearing on Trump and America. Yet the institutions that America is beholden to and she is held together, will eventually triumph. Nixon, the other Republican President who abused power said thus of unsuitable men holding power: “a world of little men using large powers incompetently from a combination of suspicion and panic.” Donald Trump fits right into that narrow passage of men who use large powers incompetently with a combine of suspicion and panic.

The writer is available at lankamithra1955@gmail.com

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Latest comments

  • 3
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    The United States experimented with ultra-liberalism in appointing a man who looked dark or “black” but turned out to be more white inside, despite his brilliant academic credentials compared to the cunning businessman that Trump is.

    When the Trump era has faded into history, the US will also one day appoint a woman as president, in the same spirit as Obama was elected.

    These “socio-political” experiments will not change the American psyche of exceptionalism that drives its belligerent course against its opponents on the planet.

    • 4
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      “”dark or “black” but turned out to be more white inside, “”
      He was never white inside but a black muslim inside craving to be white and powerful. Both parents multiple marriages (his half brother writer at china had spoken the truth but media supressed) Go read rising star and account of his girl friend chicago professor anthropologist Dr Sheila Miyoshi Jaher (dutch /korean) Just the kennedy woman broke the ice and stole the show over a thatcher like hillary. Blacks Asians Mexicans all work for Trump the developer.- the truth of developer turning on the waffel, waffel burp arts graduates noses are hitting the ceiling.
      your dislike for the black white phenomena has overwhelmed you.

      • 1
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        What are you? white? You are a dark skinned immigrant South Asian. You are black as they come. We can see racist inward, inbred Indians and Ceylonese acting as if they were better than the negro. Not so fast. We are restoring White Christian Values through Donald Trump. Only immigrants we like are those who look like us. Whether you are rich doctors, or businessmen living in gated communities you are still third world people with poor english accents and you fail to integrate.

  • 3
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    Artist and Acrobats who run the social engineering juggernauts of the world are frothing in their mouths with their noses hitting the ceiling.
    The thieving billionaires like sweatshop owner Amazon, Richest man on earth Mexican Slim, glorified thief Branson (all own American bonds mainly from arms industry) and above all the more shit media tycoons who think their language is the only language when a new way of communication `less is more` has evolved after bill gates changed the way we think.

    The arms industry billionaires have surrounded The Donald and plan to bump him off like JFK if he keeps that one election promise that is to write off the American citizens debt of $18 trillion. The

    American forces won’t let that happen easily as they experience more death in the hands of Hillary and Obama the libtards than Bush Jr the lovable stuttering President.

    You go The Donald we are right behind the tweet!! Your popularity is on the rise after the exposure of ladies man Obama tonics.

  • 4
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    Trumpy is no Pussy Footer unlike Premdasa’s successor Dr Rail, who has been dudded by Hoax Wagon Siva. and several others………And got away with valuable Srilankan Real Estate for nothing……… In contrast , A List Auto makers like BMW/ Real Volkswagon. and TOYOTA are tripping over each other to please Trumpy, and give Americans thousands of assembly jobs…………..Dr Ranil promises , but nothing comes out………..Did the UNP LGBTQ Faction have the same clout under Preme’s watch?……..

    • 3
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      KASmaalam —What do you know about Ranasinghe who helped to revive the fortunes of your much loved dead LTTE and had high regards for your hero VP the psychopath. In fact he had the highest regards for him than any of your govi/radala leadership. Do you know why?

      • 3
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        Idiappan amma’s son?
        he got his commission from valet mohideen and % from lingam plus the 3 lingams minds to store away the malabari foreign policy for nehru of taking over the island. but it is too late to make amends the trust is lost for ever. The brahmins rule once again like after the bhonsle lost india to e.e.i.c.

      • 2
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        Dear Native, You have thrown a Dorothy Dixer here……..Vellala Hero VP wouldn’t have had a bar of the them……..Going by what VP did to his own buddy poor Mahaththaya, VP would have castrated them without even half a dose of Morphine……Or he would have forced them to chew on that Capsule which he awarded them at the Graduation……By the way do your current Heroes, Sampathar and the apprentice , the Vellala Kid have any in the TNA Team ?…….

    • 4
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      “Trumpy is no Pussy Footer” …..

      Of course…He is just a grabber!

      • 0
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        That is mild……i thought you would say an Eater…….

  • 1
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    It is good to know that Sri Lanka is not the only joke going. The mightiest state is also now a joke. But, the more important lesson is to draw is that in both populism has triumphed. In Sri Lanka, continuously. In the US, it is likely to be a passing phase. In Sri Lanka, again, there is a looking to the past. The Sangha wants to keep its hold. Chauvinist politicians are back in the fray. Unlike in India, where Modi rose to power by populism but directed his country to modernism, this is unlikely to happen in Sri Lanka. Keeping the populace in the Mahavamsa mode while the political class remains highly Westernized is the way of power in Sri Lanka. The model has persisted. Until it is broken, there seems to be little by progress that can happen in Sri Lanka. It would be good if V. had extended his excellent essay to draw comparisons with Sri Lankan leaders.

  • 0
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    “a world of little men using large powers incompetently from a combination of suspicion and panic.” Donald Trump fits right in..

    A brilliant description of the Clown who woke up as President of USA.

    A great piece Lankamithra.

    • 3
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      When Saudi, UAE and Bahrain start squeezing the ba**s of 2 american bases Qatar just before the World cup Football to make it another Libya tell us muslims are all brothers and do not have cast but hide the terrorist in a spiders web.
      bloody plague carriers of the world Lanka has the plague and the mahanayakas are right we don’t need a new constitution but must set fire to the plague.
      National Security before Human Rights is the catch word of the western world.

  • 0
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    Lankamithra quotes Abraham Lincoln: “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
    Of course Lincoln seems to have had a GR in mind!

    Donald Trump tweet: “North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life? Hard to believe that South Korea….”
    Neck and neck with MR advice in December 2014: “A known devil is better than an unknown devil”

    Lankamithra’s assessment: “…………Ironically, Sri Lanka’s R Premadasa’s is the only politician who could be compared with Donald Trump………” is totally inappropriate. People who worked for Premadasa say he was very hardworking – he recognized hardworkers. His aims were realistic. Compare with Trump’s Mexican wall.

    Trump is a symptom of an empire in decline. “America Is Punishing Herself For Electing Obama!” was a sign that a graceful exit is possible.

  • 1
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    Overall an ignorant rant written by someone who fails to understand the complex workings of America, especially middle America, and still licking the wounds of the last November elections, wallowing in denial.

    The so called “highly educated” Yale law graduate Hillary ran the most expensive campaign that was financed by Wall street and Hollywood super wealthy and managed by the experts, couldn’t figure out what was really going on in the country and was stone deaf to the issues that mattered. Even her digital analytics team lead by none other than the former Google Chairman and an army of top data scientist got the whole prediction wrong. Never mind the vast left-wing media, including the elite NY Times was blind-sided up until 8 pm on the day of the election. They wasted their efforts on free rock concerts rather than campaigning in critical blue states that they took for granted. Many average democrats voted for Trump and people on the left still don’t get it.

    The “dumb” Trump and his ragtag team of novices out smarted the elite think tanks of the country. No wonder the street smart public with better common sense doesn’t trust the academics and the cone heads who think only they know what’s best for you. Every time the left looses, they play the race card and demonize the opposition, rather than go look in the mirror. This article is an exercise in the same carping vein.

    Obama won the last two elections, because he ran against two weak, politically correct politicians who couldn’t call a spade a spade. Don’t underestimate the judgment of the American people. They always get it right, that’s why they are the most innovative and powerful country in the world.

    • 1
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      Thank you for bit of commonsense world is full of intellectual ideates. Left is in denial and imploding case in point Obama he still think his opinion matter. This is the guy who said “He could see Trump as the president in SNL skit” now he cant get over the humiliation.

  • 1
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    Sir, I predict Trump will win in 2020. Your essay does not hold water in many areas. For example Obama won the mostly white state of Iowa both times. Hillary lost it. Same with so many states; only area that will always be 100% Republican are the Southern Confederate States. I predicted Trump will have an excellent chance of winning in these columns. If he is not found guilty of colluding with the Russians or of obstruction of justice, he will win. Democrats are floundering without a message. Nancy Pelosi with her expensive Armani suits is a perjorative outside her elite circles. She represents a very liberal district in California and she is not representative of the vast majority of people. But it is ridiculous for you to slam everyone who did not vote for the unethical arrogant insider lady Hillary. Mark my word, there is an excellent chance Trump will win in 2020. Forget about him being a thin skinned shallow bully. There is an underrepresented class of people who were angry at Washington DC and angry at all the regulations; add to that the Evangelical Christians who came out in droves to vote for Trump based on controversial social issues. I resented and was angry when Hillary said she will shut down the coal industry(the context did not matter) and my mother in law’s father and grandfather(who migrated from poor part of Italy and even had to depend on welfare for a while) died of black lung disease. How can a extremely rich woman from a privileged Chicago background with tens of millions of dollars look down on the amazing people who worked so hard to make this nation great? I am a lazy man who had a cushy middle class job and a rewarding career as a University lecturer, but even I know to admire the workers who made this nation the most powerful on earth. So many factors outside your diatribe contributed to Trump winning.

  • 1
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    Here is a direct cut and paste quote from a serious article.

    Donald Trump’s surprise victory on Tuesday came largely due to his over-performance of expectations in the Midwest. His populist, anti-trade deal message was tailor-made for this region, but polling hadn’t shown him pulling ahead of rival Hillary Clinton there.

    But on Election Night, it was clear the surveys had missed a massive surge in some places and shifts in others of white, working-class voters in Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania that helped Donald Trump pull off the upset.

    Here is the link
    http://www.npr.org/2016/11/15/502032052/lots-of-people-voted-for-obama-and-trump-heres-where-in-3-charts

    Democrats have no message anymore. They are floundering like a Talapath maaluwa on the bottom of the deck on a multi day trawler that left Negombo and headed to Hambantota.

    1988 Presidential election saw so much violence and seats where normal voter participation rates were in the 80% range in the South were declared with less than 15% voter participation. JVP and UNP unleashed massive amounts of violence. Sad. May that period never be repeated in Sri Lanka. Here is the data for that.
    Go to each seat by seat data or even the national data to get a better picture on that election.
    http://www.slelections.gov.lk/web/images/pdf/past-presidential-election-results/result-of-presidential-election-1988.pdf

  • 1
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    I can also say when Obama said “ISIS is a JV team” that I was so irate about his arrogant clueless approach that was almost as bad as George W Bush’s born again christian belief that his “Higher father told him it was good to invade Iraq”. Clearly his “higher father” had not tweeted or texted the higher fathers of Sunni, Shia and

    Also it was Obama-Hillary-Cameron-Sarkozy who dismembered Libya. As a result, Libya is also now ISIS Central and because of that chaos, about 250,000 refugees flood Mainland Europe via Libya. Gaddaffi was raped and murdered as a result of US intervention. What is the end result? Hillary laughed and said “we came, we saw, he died” barely 2 years after she wanted to strike deals for the US oil companies.

    • 1
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      Dear Mano Ratwatte,

      Thanks for the forecast that for me is gloomy. You get it right so often!

      I’m trying to work out whether you voted for The Donald or for Hillary yourself. In a sense that doesn’t matter. Thanks for educating us.

  • 0
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    What an inappropriate comparison!
    One may disagree with Premadasa or even disapprove of several of his deeds. But he talked responsibly and was a man of action. He was a far better President than his predecessor.
    Trump is a phenomenon that US imperialism richly deserves. He will destroy the US a world power sooner than expected.

  • 1
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    SJ said: “Trump is a phenomenon that US imperialism richly deserves. He will destroy the US a world power sooner than expected.”

    That’s called wishful thinking… I remember when many said the same when Reagan was US President.

    Trump is a clown and often an off-the-wall embarrassment. Don’t let that distract you. That’s exactly what happened to 16 Republican candidates, and finally Hillary and her team. Trump’s win was only an “upset” because the Democrats and the left media was in similar delusion and out of touch with the masses.

    It’s high time the so called academics and people who feel they are the intellectuals, do an honest self assessment of their conclusions, and stop writing nonsense and misleading their readers. Even if your predictions were wrong, you should be able to admit your mistakes after the fact, and stop being in denial. Of course Prof. Mano Ratwatte is an exception this common phenomenon. :)

  • 0
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    Reagan was a clown in a way but was better controlled by the establishment, and was assisted by the decline of the USSR after Brezhnev and a fairly healthy US economy.
    Trump is a law unto himself, and has already surpassed my expectations in foreign affairs.
    *
    If my comment is wishful thinking your utterances are even more so.
    One does not mislead people with one’s opinions but does by uttering falsehoods.

  • 1
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    SJ, the wishful thinking comment is because you said Trump will destroy the US as a world power. What hard evidence do you have of what he is doing that is going to bring it down?

    In spite of his childish antics and round the clock negative “news” or “scandals” the media seems to unearth, the economy is humming into high gear, there is so much renewed optimism, the Wall Street, the housing market, the job market, the currency are all doing very well. So many companies talking of moving manufacturing back to the US etc. There are plenty of hard numbers to back these up. Now I’m not giving him or any other President direct credit. The fact is the country is so diversified, and the Institutions are well established and strong, that no one President can bring it down. There is also many check and balances that keeps it in balance. If you listen to the fear mongers in the media, you will get a wrong opinion, but the ground realities are very different.

    My comparison to Reagan is in this regard. If you read majority of the US or foreign newspapers in the 80s, they were predicting a nuclear disaster, or a economic mealtdown with Reagan’s Star Wars program (it turned out to be a bluff) and the real military build up, but the general public ignored the media and the pundits. Reagan went on to win the 2nd term with a landslide and non of their predictions came true. We also didn’t have reality TV and Social media at that time to counter it, and it looked more civil compared to now.

    Yes, this is my opinion, and it’s formed from my travels and experiences of living and dealing with everyday people in the US for many decades and validating with measurable data put out by various institutions. This does not mean that everything is perfect here, but not bad enough to bring it down.

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