This summer is turning out to be one of the hottest we have experienced in recent times. Heatwaves in different parts of the world, including Jamaica, are a natural phenomena we have had to contend with. It gives us no comfort whether the heat is related to the natural heating of the planet or man-made behaviour resulting in drastic changes in the climate. It is enough to know that it is darned hot and we need to prepare ourselves to be as healthy as we can.
For one person, Donald J Trump, former president of the United States, twice impeached and now twice indicted, there is more than the heat from nature to contend with. This he can do something about, such as remaining ensconced in one of his luxury properties and resisting the urge to expose himself to the sun by not indulging too much in his favourite pastime, golf. In another sense, with his mounting legal problems, this summer can aptly be described for him personally as the summer of his discontents.
His gargantuan legal problems are not ones he can easily squelch or set aside at will. He has been called to the bar of accountability, no pun intended, having to face two indictments, one state and one federal. It has been strongly suggested that there is more to come from Georgia and perhaps from the federal investigation into the January 6 attempt to thwart the counting of the Electoral College votes and the assault on the Capitol building to further this aim. It seems clear that federal prosecutor Jack Smith is proceeding with great tenacity to conclude these investigations and ostensibly bring charges. It must be noted that a great number of individuals have already been charged in this debacle, some getting substantial prison terms. All fingers seem to be pointing to Trump as a signal figure in this drama.
Apart from the criminal investigations in which the former president is enmeshed, there are myriad civil lawsuits in which he is mired. He is again before the courts for demeaning comments made on a CNN broadcast about Eugene Carrol, a woman who successfully sued him in a sexual assault matter and won a substantial judgement against him for defamation.
For any ordinary person, this would be a summer of great discontent as these depressing forces coalesce against him or her. But Trump gives the impression that he is no ordinary person. At least he presents a public veneer that these mounting legal problems are not matters that he seems to regard with any fear. After all, as a former president, he seems to have convinced himself that he has done nothing wrong, that people who say or write anything against him are only out to get him. According to him, and those who follow him with cultic fealty, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have nothing on him, but they have been weaponised to injure his chances of becoming president for a second term. Never mind that if an ordinary American were accused of even 1/64 of what Trump is accused of, he or she would have ended up in prison 10 times over.
What is amazing is the number of people who seem to believe this malarkey being trumpeted by Trump. Many of those who definitely know better join the bandwagon of DOJ and FBI weaponisation in an effort to aid and abet Trump's most egregious behaviour. The behaviour of the Republicans in Congress, Speaker Kevin McCarthy being the most prominent among them, is particularly galling. There are serious and compelling charges that are being proffered against the former president, and the least that one would expect from those who have sworn to defend the rule of law and the constitution is to allow the judicial process to be engaged. No one should be above the law and everyone, including Trump, is entitled to his innocence unless proven otherwise in a court of law by his peers.
A day of reckoning is dawning on America. In 10 years or less, Trump will no longer be around and perhaps sooner he will be a mere footnote in people's minds. But the legacy of disgusting behaviour that he has managed to carve out in the Republican Party will linger. His debasement of the country's democratic traditions and the elevation of lying to a social principle will be firmly embedded in a party that has lost all sense of reasoning. The Babylonian captivity of the Republican Party now seems complete by one who has promised retribution if he should be returned to the presidency.
Those of us who see it must not relent in pointing out the existential threat that a personality like Trump poses to the USA and the world. For if Trump becomes president a second time, he will not only be a problem to America but to all freedom-loving people in the world. We are living in a dangerous world which will be made more dangerous if Trump should prevail.
Already, he is an existential threat to the country's constitutional order. Only an act of God could prevent the Armageddon that would ensue. Okay, the term Armageddon might be too scary a term to use here, a kind of exaggerated hyperbole which, for some, borders on scaremongering. But I will keep the word for now, however exaggerated it might sound, to drive home the point of the existential crisis in which the world could be thrown under another Trump presidency.
The parochial-minded who write me, curse me, and encourage me to deal with Jamaica's problems just don't get it. Let me say it loudly, a chaotic America of the kind Trump would create is not in Jamaica's best interest. The large and growing Jamaican Diaspora must consider whether it will be part of the solution or exacerbate the problems that already exist, and will get worse, if Trump should have his way.
We are at an inflection point and the problems are deeply existential. There is hardly any point arguing with the hardcore Trumpists. They are who they are, having sold their souls defending the indefensible in service to an ideology which has at its centre the debasement of the core of humanity.
Dr Raulston Nembhard is a priest, social commentator, and author of the books Finding Peace in the Midst of Life's Storms; The Self-esteem Guide to a Better Life; and Beyond Petulance: Republican Politics and the Future of America. Send comments to the Jamaica Observer or email@example.com.