For someone who has been in favour of progressive politics all my life, it may come as a surprise that I support the shakeup of the establishment initiated by President Donald J. Trump.
Representative democracy is failing worldwide mainly because of entrenched status-quo. Elected representatives of the people come to the corridors of power with high hopes, but find themselves cornered and helpless against the forces of stagnation unleashed by the establishment.
Changing status quo has never been easy: Look at the past American presidents
In the sixties, President John F. Kennedy also got elected on an anti-establishment agenda but found himself cornered. He was assassinated in Texas before the completion of his first term in office. His Vice President, who also hailed from Texas, was inducted as President. In the next Presidential
In the next Presidential election his younger brother Robert Kennedy decided to carry on his brother’s mission. Unfortunately, he too was shot dead by an Arab assailant. Both the murders remain unresolved till today.
President Barrack Hussain Obama was elected on a platform of change. He was the first African-American to occupy the White House. His foreign policy speech at Al-Azhar University was very impressive.
However, the establishment’s person, Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State failed the entire initiative of President Obama. It was during her term that the entire Middle East went into turmoil. In the end, President Obama had to apologise for the mess in Libya. So, when Hillary boasted of her experience, Trump sloganised it during the campaign as ‘bad experience.’
President Trump has promised to restore power to the people of United States. From day one of his campaign, he has gone on a solo flight, even challenging the establishment of his own – the Republican Party. His opponent – Hillary Clinton of the Democratic Party – decided to side with the establishment. Despite being an underdog, he fought well and got elected.
Democracy and change
President Trump has promised to restore power to the people of United States. From day one of his campaign he decided on a solo flight, even challenging the establishment of his own – the Republican Party.
Democracy and change go hand in hand and remain viable options for the future of mankind. The establishment-driven status-quo on the other hand denies growth and equity.
While the 20th was a century of revolution and change, the 21st is confused and stagnation prevails. The rich have become richer and the poor, poorer. The distribution of wealth worldwide has never been as skewed as it is today. The left and right political divide no longer exists – they all seem to have compromised with the all-powerful establishment.
In the recently held US Presidential elections, Senator Bernie Sanders of the Democratic Party raised all the right issues. Despite his public support the party establishment sided with Hillary Clinton.
The only change she represented was the first female President of the country – even though she sounded like a sister of Genghis Khan. Like other parts of the globe, poverty is on the rise in the only superpower of the world. Trump has promised to change this.
Trump is shaking up the established framework
The shake-up has already started. Ambassadors have been recalled, there is a new head of the CIA, the Cabinet has several fresh faces – most of them being billionaires. Trump will have to watch for a conflict of interest as his businesses could be the beneficiary of his decisions. Most institutions have memory while muscles do not – they have to be flexed all the time. In order to drive change, elected representatives have to assert themselves otherwise status-quo prevails.
American voters have voted for change before. In the thirties, during the great depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) defeated the incumbent President Herbert Hoover. FDR had never held a public office before. He introduced several changes with his out of the box solutions. He was elected thrice and died in his third term in office. It’s been since then that the two-term limit has been imposed after which the Presidents have to go home.
Has Pakistan ever experienced change?
Only in established democracies can the electoral process not be manipulated, there is rule of ballot without which no democracy can function. In Pakistan the first and only free and fair election came as a big surprise for the establishment, since then ten electoral exercises have been manipulated for positive results as such no shake-up has taken place, business as usual continues.
The last major shake-up in the country was carried out in the term of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) (1971 to 1977). Since then there has been total stagnation and rule of status-quo.
Any documentation, paperwork is non-existent. After ZAB no one has written a word on the file. Decisions were conveyed under the directions of the competent authority. Only Prime Minister (PM) Jamali insisted on using names on every order/notification – as it should be.
The shake-up has already started. Ambassadors have been recalled, there is a new head of the CIA, the Cabinet has several fresh faces – most of them being billionaires.
Shake-ups challenge institutional memory – that’s why there is always a reaction which must be understood and handled. In Pakistan, ZAB was toppled and then eliminated through the judicial process.
Donald Trump will also make enemies as he fights the establishment for the rights of the common man. He is a businessman and entrepreneur with a track record of success. His work is cut out for him.
His first year in office will set the tone of his presidency. He has promised jobs and economic prosperity which was once a part of the American dream.
Maintaining the status-quo was never an option – nor will it ever be – and the only change is permanent and inevitable. It is mainly due to lack of leadership in our times that status-quo thrives at the cost of public good. As an elected leader of the free
As an elected leader of the free world President Trump can bring real change not only in his own country but the entire world, especially in developing countries, where parasites of the status-quo rule, with the help of western democracies. Democracy and change may finally prevail for the betterment of mankind as it was always meant to.
Dr. Farid A. Malik is Ex-Chairman, Pakistan Science Foundation. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.