Politics is not a game, Mr Trump

Politics is not a game, Mr Trump

Life should not be too boringly heavy and sombre. Excellent measures of happiness are how much we laugh and how often we smile a smile of amusement. A lighter touch to our existence would sweep away some of the idiocy preventing classes of foreign students from visiting Stratford on Avon to learn about Shakespeare. A smile of fun between President Xi and President Ursula von der Leyen would calm the hissing waters of dissent between Europe and China.  Clowns can become politicians – President Zelenskyy has proved that. He smiles when he can but he realises better than any other boss on earth that politics is not a game. Killing people is not funny. Killing reputations is disgusting. Killing the truth, unforgivable. 

When clowns become politicians they show the extent to which their robust ‘humour discipline’ can adapt to tough management. It is a good lesson in the danger of thinking that unchanging experience is the criterion for filling a job. Clowns have the adaptability to use their skills for political purposes.  Politicians, on the other hand, should not become clowns. Their lack of standards plays to the base, not to the top.  When politicians take up buffoonery, they lose their credibility. Boris Johnson proved the point. Other jokers should note.

Political activity engaged aggressively is the opposite of a game – it is war. Most of us currently fear the East Vs. West potential for wider conflict. Even if we don’t believe that it will happen, the threats of economic stalemate are as serious as needed to precipitate mass starvation plus deprivations harmful enough to create conflict over what we may be and what we are allowed to own. We are right to be concerned about that. Political rhetoric on these subjects has veered so far from reality that an accidental move that appears threatening may trigger a catastrophic response as serious as we can imagine.

Mr Trump needs to examine the situation in Tennessee. Elected politicians have been removed from their posts because they express doubt about the wisdom of every man and his neighbour carrying a loaded rapid-fire gun – and this a few days after six people, three of them children, were shot dead. Politics may be a game in Mar-a-Lago. The Nashville residents think otherwise. So does the rest of the world.

Trump’s claim that previous Presidents of the United States have done ‘much worse’ than him is so specious as to be indictable. It makes me wonder about his mental health. If questionable, is a madman the best person to run for leader of the Republican Party? Maybe the answer is ‘yes’ – they’ve got one in Russia, after all. A world where two (at least) of the major politicians are potentially off their rockers may be a game but if so it is a pretty dangerous one.

The next President of the United States is going to have the toughest Presidency of any so far. His and his country’s responsibility for redefining capitalism, freedom and democracy, for charting the future educational path, for deciding how people can learn to become better parents and for mapping out the role of the State and the place of the Individual for the next hundred years is a daunting one. A lurking civil war is not the environment in which to do it.

Let us pray that it isn’t treated as a game.

Humanity has a way to go before it can sensibly relax totally into entertainment.

Good morning

John Bittleston


10 April 2023