New Thinking with Joe Bartuah

Donald Trump’s American Values

Joe Bartuah

Can anyone still remember the cynical chorus that was being infamously serenaded by stalwarts of the Republican Party that President Obama didn’t appreciate or believe in “American Exceptionalism”? It was a profusely rehearsed and incessantly chanted refrain around here with a racist undertone, that a brown-skin guy occupying the so-called White House was ungrateful to the white American establishment.

Now, let’s fast-forward to a 2016 scenario where pertinent public and private individuals as well as institutions that embody American democratic values and some of its iconic capitalist features are being insidiously attacked and humiliated by the President-elect of the United States, Donald J. Trump. When Donald Trump mocks the president of the United States, because Trumps believes that the authoritarian president of Russian, Vladimir Putin doesn’t “respect” Obama, does it indicate his belief in American exceptionalism? What’s the big deal about an authoritarian ruler “respecting” the world’s foremost champion of democratic values and human rights?

Some might say that there is a partisan context to Trump’s outlandish claims, since the president is also the leader of the Democratic Party while by virtue of his election, Trump now leads the Republican Party. But wait a minute; Trump’s assault against “American Exceptionalism” remains untamed; he’s the only known leader of a major party in this country who openly called for the cyber-invasion by a foreign country of his own country. Besides that, institutions such as the CIA, FBI and other U.S. intelligence apparatus are under fierce assaults from Trump and his cohorts, simply because they’re impartially doing the jobs for which their expenditures are being underwritten by American taxpayers; those intelligence agencies are being maligned by Team Trump because they have made impartial conclusions about Russia’s apparent manipulation of the November 8th presidential election which are not favorable to Trump’s political interest.

Based on the contents of the unsigned press release recently issued by the Trump Team in reaction to the U.S. intelligence apparatus conclusions that the Russian government had hacked the Democratic Party’s data base and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman’s email to purposely help Trump win, it seems that Team Trump would rather vouch conclusion of intelligence gathering by the Russian secret service than those put out by the CIA, FBI and other intelligence institutions in this country. Moreover, Donald Trump has been aggressively attacking Boeing, America’s foremost aviation industry. All of a sudden, a guy who is believed to have eluded income tax payment for at least two decades, is now extremely concerned about taxpayers’ money. Without any technical analysis, he claims that the $4 billion cost for a new fleet of Air Force One is too expensive and therefore, should be cancelled. In a bizarre brandishing of patriotism, Trump has, in effect, given a commercial trump-card to European and Russian aviation industries to vanquish Boeing in the crunch aviation marketplace; his words would most likely to be used by Air Bus and the Russians against Boeing in marketing their aircraft.

What is stunning is that as Donald Trump glaringly displays those idiosyncratic strands of patriotism ominously shrouded in authoritarian antics on the domestic as well as diplomatic fronts, such as extending open invitation to Rodrigo Duterte, the jungle justice president of the Philippines, the self-styled champions of American exceptionalism who had in the past, lambasted President Obama for not believing in American exceptionalism, remain reticent. Where are the Newt Gingriches, Mitch McConnells, Rudy Guilianis and others? Why are all those ostentatious gladiators of American exceptionalism not forcefully speaking out against Trump’s unnecessary attacks against the integrity of non-partisan institutions like the CIA and the FBI, or his apparent disregard for human rights and obsession with despots? Is it because he is a Caucasian brat rather than an intellectually sculpted, characteristically disciplined, diligent black man? Trump seems to be on a smashing spree to psychologically demolish, or better still, demoralize federal institutions such as the CIA and the FBI, which are among the formidable bedrocks of American democracy, ably guarding against hostile foreign intrusion.

Trump and his fanatics ought to know that unleashing outbursts of criticism on reputable public as well as private institutions doesn’t strengthen such institutions. Instead, such unwarranted assaults, especially by an individual with no history of public service, tend to impinge the integrity of career public servants and have the propensity to demoralize hardworking bureaucrats and eventually weaken U.S. democracy. Uncouthly disrespecting fellow compatriots in leadership positions while obsessively showing peculiar reverence for foreign autocrats such as Putin and Duterte does not exemplify any iota of belief in American exceptionalism. Moreover, decrying American business such as Boeing, which is one of the pivotal employers of hardworking Americans is absolutely not emblematic of appreciating American exceptionalism.

When Newt Gingrich and his cohorts were tirading their racially-coded platitudes around here about Obama not believing in American exceptionalism, the president was relentlessly formulating farsighted policies to rescue the three foremost American automobile industries which were already on their death-beds prior to his assumption of office. Because Obama has an unshakable faith in American exceptionalism, he brilliantly carved out policies that effectively bailed out the American banking industry, which is the spine of the U.S. economy.

Today, as a result of his farsighted effort, the excessive economic hemorrhage has been bandaged; a 9.9 percent unemployment rate has been drastically minimized to 4.9 percent, as more than 15 million new jobs have been created in the past eight years while the economy is on an upward trajectory rather than a downward spiral. For me, those are exemplary manifestations of a leader, an individual’s appreciation of American exceptionalism. Instead of limiting such belief to the superficiality of skin pigmentation, the much-talked-about appreciation of American exceptionalism must be translated into innovative policies that will exponentially benefit the vast majority of the American people rather devising crooked means such as filing unwarranted bankruptcy to milk out millions from Uncle Sam.


Joe Bartuah

Filed in: New Thinking

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