Those familiar with novels, especially before the advent of the internet, can remember a famous novel recalled in my headline. The book, The Way The Cookie Crumbles, first published in 1965, is one of the ninety or so thrillers written by Rene Lodge Brabazon Raymond, better known as James Hadley Chase.
Ordinarily, a cookie represents many things ranging from the inanimate to the animate but The Way The Cookie Crumbles in Chase’s novel means “how things worked or panned out”. It is a plot in the author’s imaginary millionaire’s playground called Paradise City. A sinister criminal called Ticky Edris was planning the “perfect heist”. It had taken him years planning a bank robbery in broad daylight, with only two accomplices: a smooth conman and a streetsmart, beautiful blonde.
As Ticky’s plan gets put into action, luck is on his side, but as people start dying and disappearing, detective Tom Lepski picks up the trail. Suddenly, Ticky’s plan is in danger, and if there is one thing he didn’t count on, it was the personalities of the very people who are most vital to his plan. At the end of it, his planning came to nought, and the cookie crumbled.
The moral of the story is that good triumphs over evil in the end. That no matter how far the hurricane of falsehood carries the people, the rain of truth would ultimately halt the hurricane’s borrowed time.
But then this is the nature of the world from the beginning of creation. The God that never sleeps makes it so. In the Holy Qur’an 5:100, believers were told “Not equal are evil and the good, although the abundance of evil might impress you.” No matter how impressive or intimidating the toga of wrong looks like, ultimately, like the cookie, it will crumble.
In this, there is a teaching for humanity – both leaders and the led – to ponder upon. The led must think good and live nobly and see each other as brothers and sisters from different parents. He must wish no one bad, and he should be his brother’s keeper. The leader must lead based on justice, equity and fairness. A leader of a people is like a father in a household. Just as the father should not be unjust to his children, a leader must shun unfairness to those he leads.
It is bad leadership for a leader to treat particular people better than another or love another more than the other and show it clearly. It is wrong leadership for a leader to exult over pains of the led or treat those in his class as humans, and take others for granted. It is the leader’s responsibility to make his people feel and have a sense of belonging. How he leads can encourage followers to live his dreams: if noble, a nation is built and if evil, a country is destroyed.
The founder of the Sokoto Caliphate, Sheikh Usman Dan Fodio, spoke of this. In his book, Bayan Wujub ul-Hijrah alal Mukallafi, he wrote: “a kingdom (nation) can endure with unbelief, but it cannot endure with injustice”. Frederick Douglass, an American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman, also spoke in a similar vein. He said: “Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organised conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe”.
Any leader who governs tangentially to the above truism has no escape route than to come a cropper. The Holy Bible in Revelation 12.9 says, “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him”.
Donald Trump’s fall from grace is a lesson for not only leaders but humanity in general. Unwarranted hate based on religion or skin colour will not be left unpunished by the Creator of the man of colour.
However, some people may not know that Trump’s ascendancy is traceable to the 1850s split of the Whig Party (precursor of the Republican Party). It had a progressive side that elected Abraham Lincoln four years after that split, trouncing a regressive pro-slavery side. The beaten side seemed to have resurfaced with his Phoenix-like rise with his band of ‘rednecks’ to the presidency.
Therefore, it is not surprising he appeals to the slave masters’ sentiments, those who think they are the best of creation and have to take their country back from non-whites who, to them, are no more than slaves. Supremacists are shallow in thinking. That is why Trump and his mob forget that America is the land of the Red Indians which their fugitive grandparents plundered from them by the bullet. No wonder some of the Capitol invaders dressed like Vikings that pillaged the coasts of Europe between the 8th and 10th centuries. No wonder the police department described the attack as ‘medieval.’
Blacks are scum and Africa a s**t hole to his supremacist ego. South Americans are criminals, and a wall is needed to stop them from entering America. Highly resourceful Asians are predators to be pauperised, and he must make fiercely independent Iranians, Cubans, Venezuelans and North Koreans bend. Because of his hatred for the Black race, he got consumed with destroying his more successful predecessor, Barak Obama. Were it in his hands, he would have obliterated Obama, the Black man, from the face of the earth and his legacies and memory wiped from the minds of mortals.
It was this unbridled hatred that made him issue the battle cry to like-minded Americans to “fight like hell”, warning them that if they did not “you are not gonna have a country anymore”. The problem with any form of tribalism is that when the proponents are allowed to be, they turn on themselves.
But tribalism is frowned upon by the Creator of tribes. Unlike even religion that takes one to Elysium or the netherworld, no one can choose or change his tribe. You are what God wants you to be, so why fight over what was not even your choice but done by the Most Wise for a purpose? In chapter 49, verse 13 of the Holy Qur’an, God in His Majesty said “O mankind! Lo! We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the best in conduct; surely Allah is Knowing, Aware”.
When a person decides to be opinionated and go against the grain, the person starts fighting the Creator of man and tribes. While it is left for people to remain intransigent and continue telling God they know better or turn a new leaf based on love for all humanity, Trump’s ending is a lesson for all to learn that God does not tolerate rivalry. Our God is a jealous God. He rubbishes His rivals such that they wished He had not created them to start with.
Today, Trump, in an attempt to play god – he is always the best and most perfect in everything – has become a pariah in a world that was his oyster yesterday. Nations, world leaders, cities – at least New York City, banks, social media platforms, corporate bodies and responsible people have all turned their backs on him. He has set records, albeit ignoble ones, and broken some others that mothers in the future would caution their sons not to behave like him to avoid ending up like him.
Apart from becoming the first American President to be impeached twice – a new all-time low record, he is among 12 American presidents who could not get more than a term. He is also among six others who contested for a second term but couldn’t win it. He is again one of five in the history of America’s 58 presidential elections to have lost the popular vote but became President through the backdoor offered by the Electoral College. He also is among the only three that lost the popular and electoral votes twice. You see, if democracy were a game of numbers, our man was just a pretender because he never won an election.
Yet this kind of man has immense following. But so also were Hitler and Musolini. He has taken hold of his party by the jugular, and sadly it has lost in places it has been winning for years. While the veil is lifting from his supporters’ eyes in America, with some crying for pardon or committing suicide, his Nigerian supporters are further digging in. As if afflicted with a slave mentality, they will choose Trump over fellow African, Obama. They will hail the racist over Joe Biden who has so far appointed three – and counting – of their countrymen into his administration.
They mimic Trump even in speech and writings. Coming from a background that always sees village people, witches and wizards as those hindering their prosperity, they claim Trump is a saint fighting the Illuminati! They shuffle around Ajegunle or Surulere in bathroom slippers, wearing three-quarter length trousers, hustling to survive to the next day. Yet you hear them calling Joe Biden “sleepy Joe” in mimicry of their Illuminati fighting deity.
Between November last year and the first week of January this year, they were all over the social media space. They were the ones shouting “we have won Pennsylvania, Supreme Court will declare us, wait and see”. or that they had burned the midnight incense for victory. Their self-delusion makes me recall Musa, a Manchester United supporter in Damaturu. He will look at me in the face and say, “We will buy Ronaldo” or “We will win the League Cup”. We!
Trumpism will remain in America because of the supremacists who see “others” taking over “our America”. But the Republican Party will regenerate and in doing so, do away with its Retrumplicans if it hopes to survive. As for the Nigerian Trumpideens, they will soon find another renegade to latch on to.
By and large, Trump’s stormy life is a book written by God for people, especially leaders, to take heed and learn lessons. No matter how long it takes, no matter the applause, just as life on earth is temporary, so are the trappings of office.
God, the Ever Wise and Ever Strong, can bless any man He feels like with all blessings and place him among the stars, high above all others, to show that only He can. After all, Trump did not win the election in the strict sense of the word the first time, but God gave it to him – and his opponents accepted His Will, saying, “May thy Will be done, oh God!” God does everything for a purpose. If the man acknowledges the Lord’s favours and does good, he does good for himself. If he does bad, he does it to himself too.”
But the Creator of man always yanks the rug of blessings from under the feet of the narcissist leader who loves people or hates them based on tongue and, as a result, causes division among them. His curse will visit them either in power or out of it. And like the cookie, they will crumble in humiliation. And the people will witness it until another like comes on stage. It is cyclical, the history of the world.