I was reading a New York times article this morning and came across a word I did not recognize. Not terribly unusual I grant you but curiosity got the better of me. The word is of Greek etymology and was popularized in the seventeenth century. The word did not receive much usage for the next two hundred years or so but has been in regular usage recently. The word is "kakistocracy" and is similar to more commonly used words like aristocracy, plutocracy meritocracy and democracy. Kakistocracy is defined as a system of government which is run by the worst, least qualified, or most unscrupulous citizens. Is it any wonder why the word has become fashionable again?
It's easy for those of us on the left flank to point to world leaders we don't like and don't agree with and call them out as the "worst" people. I refer to leaders like Erdoğan in Turkey, Duterte in the Philippines and Maduro of Venezuela. While we may not like their politics and may consider them the "worst" people in their societies, let's face it, all of these leaders have political education, previous experience and a certain "standing" to be where they are. The elections over the weekend in Brazil again calls in to question the concept of the word kakistocracy. Mr. Bolsonaro may not align with my politics but he has served in the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies since 1991. He received 46% of the vote in a free and fair election over the weekend and is poised as the leading candidate in the Presidential runoff election in the next few weeks. I think he is a dangerous man but is that not what elections are about? I'm not sure I could point to any of these world leaders as representing a kakistocracy.
Now let's get to the elephant in the room. I think it is fair to say that Donald Trump does indeed represent the word and the concept in the truest form. Trump has had no formal training in the political realm, no history of public service and with what the "free press" in America has uncovered, is proving to be the cheater and con man many of us suspected he was. Trump has appointed many people to positions they were wholly untrained for on a single metric of qualification, loyalty to Donald Trump. His outlook on society is antiquated, and out of step with the majority of the American people and his views can be politely described as misogynistic, xenophobic and he has displayed strong tendencies toward racism. The primary reason Trump was elected was his ability to harness and manipulate the press and his command of mass media to popularize himself instead of any real policies or any particular political ideology.
Politics is a funny business. Many believe that anyone can do it but I often compare it to other professions. As complicated as the political process is these days, it takes certain skills to navigate the landscape. You would not hire an electrician to fix your plumbing so why in the world did we hire an entitled con artist and failed business executive to run our country and when are we going to figure out that the electrician has clogged the pipes? Being President of the United States is the very first "job" Donal Trump has ever held. Since the age of three he has been earning massive amounts of money and never had to go on a job interview in his entire life. His lack of real world life skills should have been enough to disqualify him from the Presidential fray but through his standing as a TV star and frequent talking head about topics he had little knowledge of, he was able to convince enough people to vote for him. Or perhaps, like Fred Trump in his early years, Donald is now beholden to another "father-figure" to help guide him and bail him out of a jam. Perhaps the Mueller probe will reveal who that might be. Stay tuned.