Watching the Republican presidential primaries unfold in the United States is like witnessing a horrific car crash. It’s difficult to identify redeemable human qualities in the Republican field, crowded by hypocritical social conservatives and religious extremists, seemingly completely unaware of their lack of leadership qualities and questionable values.
The current front-runner, Donald Trump’s presidential bid in particular reminds me of The Simpsons episode* in which a spiteful Homer runs for Sanitation Commissioner of Springfield, against a competent, and eminently qualified opponent.
Homer makes crazy promises, and panders to the lowest common denominator in the citizens of Springfield, telling everyone what they want to hear in order to win.
And he does win.
Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, Homer turns out to be an utter disaster as Sanitation Commissioner. Through incompetence and mismanagement Homer destroys the town, as Springfield is filled with garbage.
Homer is promptly fired, and Springfield asks his former opponent to come back and take on the role. He declines, telling them to deal with the mess they have created …
The mayor is forced to evoke an emergency plan, whereby the entire town is moved five miles down the road.
I can’t help but wonder where Americans plan to move the United States once President Donald Trump had finished trashing it?
But more importantly, the President of the United States is an office that doesn’t just affect the people of the United States. The office comes with global gravitas, and the actions of the President have global consequences. The consequences of the ill-conceived actions of the last Republican president are still reverberating around the world and continue to contribute to America’s diminished global reputation.
The United States is a global power, a role it consciously pursued. That leadership role comes with responsibilities.
While the United States is far from perfect, and it has made many grave foreign policy missteps in the past, the world cannot afford a weakened and destabilised America.
The competing ‘wannabe world powers’, such as Russia or China, are simply not credible, or acceptable, alternatives to the United States. Their high levels of corruption, contempt for the rule of law, lack of accountability, deplorable human rights record and political and social failures make them unsuitable for the global leadership role they so desperately seek.
Consequently, the American people have a responsibility to ensure a strong, prosperous and stable America, not just for their own sake, but for the continuing stability of the world.
That responsibility will not be fulfilled by electing a man with the ‘qualities’ of Donald Trump, or anyone else from the current Republican field.
* Trash of the Titans, Episode 22, Season 9