The Obscene Presidential Reign of Donald J. Trump
In the old Kingdom of ancient Egypt, the first pharaohs understood the extraordinary power of ideology and of its visual counterpart, iconography, to unite disparate people and bind them in loyalty to them and the state. Ancient Egypt’s earliest kings formulated and harnessed the tools of leadership that are still present with us today, especially under the obscene presidential reign of Donald J. Trump: elaborate trappings of office and carefully choreographed public appearances; pomp and spectacles on grand state occasions, all of these trappings expressed orally and visually to set him apart from the populace and reinforce the bonds of loyalty of his supporters. But, like for Trump today, the pharaohs and their advisers knew equally well that their grip on power could be maintained just as effectively by other less benevolent means: political cunning propaganda, a personal and political ideology of xenophobia, close surveillance of the masses and population mood, brutal repression of any form of dissent.
The ancient Egyptians invented the concept of nation-state that still dominates our planet five thousand years later. The Egyptians’ creation was remarkable, not only for its impact, but also for its longevity: the pharaonic age lasted for three millennia. By comparison, Rome barely managed to rule the world for one millennium, the hegemony of the British Empire lasted only for a few centuries and the American supremacy has yet to survive. A key reason for this remarkable survival is that the philosophical and political framework first developed at the birth of ancient Egypt was so well attuned to the national psyche that it remained the archetypal pattern of government for the next one hundred generations; despite prolonged periods of political fragmentation, decentralization, and unrest, the pharaonic rule remained a powerful ideal.
Other times, other manners. Ancient Egypt was a sparsely populated tribal society, its polytheistic religion, pre-monetary economy, the low rate of literacy, the political ideological dominance of divine kingship, all these defining characteristics of ancient Egypt are utterly alien to most contemporary Western civilization including the United States of America and its constituency. Notwithstanding how devious Donald J. Trump may be, what did work for the ancient Egypt’s rulers may not work for him and help him in his 2020 reelection crusade. The arrogance of Donald J. Trump and his self-confidence contain the seeds of his own destruction and the obliteration of the USA domination and influence around the world.
Michel Ouellette JMD, ll.l., ll.m
Systemic Strategic Planning / Crisis & Reputation Management