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As idiotic Trump steals liberties, America celebrates its demise

US president Donald Trump.
US president Donald Trump.
Image: Getty Images

From our long excursion to explore the dynamics of China's imperial dilemmas, we now use the wings of the imagination to fly back home, via the US.

Our stop-over in the US forces us to ponder the strange phenomenon that the black people of SA encountered a few years before the people of America: humankind's idiotic capacity for self-destruction.

As we have suggested before, the world is currently witnessing the end of America's subtle global empire.

What had legitimised the US as a global leader are the liberal values exuded by its people domestically and propagated by the country's leaders globally.

The liberal values were combined with a triumphalist display of democracy as the best way to govern people - the idea that the individual is an absolute sovereign.

So powerful has the idea of individual sovereignty been that people living in tyrannies wished they were American.

Those in societies practising arranged marriages envied the American idea of falling in love and kissing the lips of a partner you yourself have chosen, not an ugly husband selected by your parents.

Journalists practising their craft in draconian jurisdictions envied their American counterparts who quizzed a president and went on to have coffee at a street-side café without the risk of being jailed.

Even fashion came into the American liberal story. Jeans became the archetypal symbol of Western self-expression. Women in traditional societies elsewhere could not wait to throw away their culturally imposed, ankle-long skirts and feel the liberation of simple jeans.

Thus American democracy came to embody free human expression at its ideal best. Even the poorest of Negroes spoke proudly of "the American way of life".

All that is gone. And the perplexing thing is that Americans are celebrating their own decline. They have placed at the helm an idiot who has no idea what America stood for. He has no clue of the soft power he is busy squandering.

The American clown-president has joined hands with his British fellow fools to show the world that democracy is a system of mad people who derive pleasure from self-destruction.

Imagine what Vladimir Putin or Xi Jinping think when they watch the democratic mess in America and the UK. "Is that what you want to become?" the two Eastern leaders gleefully ask their respective societies.

Such is the end of American soft power. It is the end of democracy as we have dreamed it. And so we behold the Shakespearean tragedy of Americans celebrating their own regress.

Here in South Africa, we black people have no leg to stand on. For almost a decade we, too, celebrated our very own self-destruction.

In the name of democracy, we elected into office our own clown-president who squandered everything we had worked very hard to demonstrate: that black people can govern a modern state soundly.

The state has collapsed. Parastatals can no longer pay salaries. To hear a minister express his happiness in parliament that salaries at Denel will be paid because a short-term lender has finally been found, is the most embarrassing idiocy unimaginable even in a banana republic.

We all know that public hospitals in rural areas and townships are places for people to die, not to recover. To say schools there are broken is an understatement.

There is no government department in SA today that is in good financial shape. Retrenchments are coming - whether Cosatu likes it or not.

On the economic front, anyone who still believes an ANC politician who promises jobs, having failed to do so for 25 years, needs to have their heads checked.

When we land in SA, back from our long imperial excursion, we are confronted with the question: Why are we humans, with all our power of rationality, so idiotically self-destructive?

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