Zuma and Trump reflect voters’ morals

“We idolise leaders who reflect our own value system,” or words to that effect, is something I read on social medial recently.

While the comment was directed at Donald Trump and his followers, it had me thinking about how widely applicable it is, especially with election campaigning heating up.

Politicians are out there visiting voters in the township, having meals with them in their homes, cleaning up their yards and of course kissing their babies.

While those things are perfectly nice displays of humility, it is incumbent on us to ask whether these humans are really that nice all the time.

Since they are asking to represent us, it is only fair that they be like us, if not better.

As they say, “like attracts like.” And that brings me to the crux of the question: What are we saying about ourselves with the leaders that we often vote into power?

In the case of Trump, American voters have said that they identify with him, he reflects their own values and they would do exactly what he has done, if given the opportunities.

Let me spell that out for you.

Campaign trail: Donald Trump eyeing another term as US President. Picture: REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

Millions of Americans are essentially saying: “I support you, because if I had generational wealth, I would also act like the worse possible brat, scam poor people out of their hard-earned money, steal from hard-working entrepreneurs, do shady business deals, break the law, encourage others to break the law, openly objectify women, sleep with a porn star and shamelessly market myself as superior to others in every way.”

It’s a very uncomfortable truth that brings me to Jacob Zuma.

Funny that the last time I wrote about both these two in the same column, it was also around election time.

The prospect of them having such great influence on our daily lives, seemed laughably absurd at the time. And yet here we are again.

Trump is defiantly fighting numerous court battles, while selling autographed bibles to his loyal followers.

The man’s fans are so blinded by his self-important rhetoric, that they accept his casual endorsement of their holy book, which would be considered blasphemous by anyone else.

How narcissistic do you have to be to presume to validate the word of God for money, while eyeing another term in the White House?

Then there’s Zuma; less fatally frail than he led the courts to believe and – fresh from hijacking an entire political party, clearly as shrewd as ever.

How betrayed must Jabulani Khumalo feel in the face of being labelled a lunatic by people he trusted a few short months ago?

He registered the MK Party and thought he would engineer a quick rise to power by co-opting Zuma as it’s public face.

Little did he know that this move would spell the beginning of the end for him, ultimately making him the unwitting architect of his own demise.

It also supports the recent scathing attack on Zuma from no less of a stalwart than Thabo Mbeki, who labelled him “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

While Khumalo is frantically running around trying to discredit the MK Party’s new “leadership” with vitriol and legal action, the ANC has clearly recognised the Zuma threat to its support base, especially in KwaZulu-Natal.

Consequently, it has hauled out the big guns, in the form of Mbeki, Tokyo Sexwale and others.

They are right to be concerned. And confused. Zuma and Trump’s popularity never ceases to amaze and bemuse me.

This despite the ongoing revelations about their own moral conduct.

It’s one of those things that continue to confound even political scholars and observers, especially in America’s “Bible Belt,” where conservative values reign supreme.

Ordinarily even just rumours of a leader having had so much as eye contact with a porn star, would be enough to have him ostracised. Yet Trump remains as politically strong as ever.

Just like those times when we learned that Zuma had slept with the daughters of two of his closest childhood friends, leading to a pregnancy by one and a rape charge from the other.

Both men could be back in seats of power by the end of the year.

And it’s all thanks to voters who obviously feel that these men perfectly reflect their own moral values.

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