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America’s intriguing tragi-comedy series – starring Donald Trump


Sometime ago I read a book, Under an English Heaven, which was about the revolt in Anguilla in March 1969. The author was a crime comic novelist named Donald Westlake. Sometime after the revolt, the British government decided to send a contingent of ‘bobbies’ – actually, Scotland Yard police officers – to crush the revolt and restore order. On departing from the helicopter with their guns in their hands, they heard a loud explosion and threw themselves on the ground, ready for action. The noise was from a young man revving up his motorbike. They soon realized they were facing a molehill, not a mountain and focused their attention on sun and beach. One of the unforgettable photos was of the bobbies in the sea, naked, but with their police helmets on. That, to the author, best summed up the task. Unfortunately, Westlake is not around to give the US political scene the treatment it deserves.

Comic writers and comedians are, however, having a field day. There is more material than they can handle, because every day becomes more startling. Political satirists/comedians South African Trevor Noah and Bill Maher and comic writer Borowitz are having a glorious time. Then there is Saturday Night Live and a host of other comedians who absolutely love Donald Trump, for with him there is never a dull moment, as he brings out the best in them. Trevor Noah had a classic on this. He told his audience “You know that Donald does not drink.” He repeated it. Imagine getting up and tweeting at 3 a.m. and not being drunk? But what does the content suggest? Remember Trump does not drink! So, what is there?

But there is the tragic part that affects the rest of the world. Is there anyone who does not fear the possibility of a war with North Korea? There are so many blunders coming from the White House that many are recommending psychological and psychiatric help for the president. At first, we thought his constant blundering and ridiculous tweets were the result of incompetence and naivety, but now more are beginning to believe that there is a personality defect and the reaction of someone who realizes that he is completely out of his depth. Calls for his impeachment are growing and the latest public opinion polls show that more persons are favouring impeachment than opposing it.

Perhaps President Trump was needed at this time to get Americans to carefully examine themselves and their society. I found it amusing during the campaign when the Republican top brass was hoping that Trump would begin to look more presidential, as if looking presidential would have changed the nature of the man. What is it about teaching old dogs new tricks! We are now seeing the real man, so we know the ‘Emperor’ has no clothes! Many Republican Congressmen and women are holding on to Trump for dear life, but as his frightening idiosyncrasies continue to reveal themselves and as he flouts more political conventions, many will begin to take cover. Really, what is happening in that country that is considered the leader of the free world, is not only sad, but scary. Leaders in the rest of the world listen intently to any word from the voice of the US president. Now with Donald, what and who are they to believe?

We refer to politicians as political actors. With Trump, however, he plays himself. Stay tuned to see how the drama ends. Bill Maher recently asked one of his guests to imagine what Sir Donald would be wearing in the next few years! Good question!

Dr Adrian Fraser is a social commentator and historian.