In the tabletop fantasy role playing game Dungeons and Dragons, there is something called The Alignment System. This outlines how an individual player is able to categorize their particular character within the game. For example, a character that operates within the bounds of a fictitious law whilst simultaneously lacking in moral character, is labelled “Lawful Evil”.
A real life version of a world leader falling under the characterization of “Lawful Evil” might be Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the King of Saudi Arabia, who presided over forty-eight executions within four months of 2018. Half of these were for non-violent drug offences.
The Alignment System can also be used to examine the reverence that is often displayed towards the American President by his large base of supporters.
To his base, Donald Trump is a revolutionary figure, or an anti-establishment hero. These people would, at the risk of being presumptuous, put Trump in the “Chaotic Good” category: the branch of characters who oppose bureaucratic or authoritarian systems whilst placing high value on personal freedoms.
In actuality, much of Trump’s Presidency has been remarkably in favor of the American Political establishment, with very little regard being paid towards Human Rights or liberty. To the dismay of his supporters, their characterization of Trump as a “Chaotic Good” is terribly misplaced.
The Trump administration’s treatment of illegal migrants, and multiple examples of absurd housing solutions for those detained, serve as an example of bureaucratic oppression. While one example of this might be their decision earlier this year to store hundreds of migrants in an unsafe enclosure under a bridge in El Paso, Texas, there are countless others to look at as well.
The initiative that was examined earlier this year by the Department of Homeland Security proposed “housing migrant children at Guantanamo Bay, which has a dormitory facility that has been used in the past to hold asylum seekers”. This is the same Guantanamo Bay that, as of May 1st, 2018, only has forty detainees remaining; the one where all detainees remain imprisoned despite not having been tried and convicted in a Court of Law.
In fact, the very existence of Guantanamo Bay, regardless of the Trump Administration’s decision to not use it for the housing of migrant children, should dispel the perception of the American President as a force for liberty. According to Amnesty International, by the 12th January, 2018, only seven out of the seven hundred and seventy-nine men taken to the facility had been officially convicted by military commission in proceedings that did not meet fair trial standards.
How can supporters of President Trump square their defence of him as a thoroughly anti-establishment leader (and candidate, let us not forget that 2020 fast approaches)? How does Trump continue to be looked at as a major advocate for freedom, as he continues to fund a facility that imprisons people without a fair trial or due process?
Granted, the problem with Guantanamo Bay is not one that Trump generated. It’s merely one that he inherited from Barack Obama, who in turn inherited it from George W. Bush. But that’s the point. Despite the Republican base’s faith in Trump being some sort of disruptor, the man is moreso a carbon copy of his two predecessors than anything else.
Trump, who has marketed himself as being an atypical politician, continues to prove himself to be just as status quo as his predecessor’s. He isn’t a “Chaotic Good” in the sense of policy outcomes at all. Rather, Trump embodies some type of “Neutral Evil”: a Malefactor who is only in it for himself, regardless of who gets hurt.
Under Trump, Guantanamo Bay shows no signs of closing down, and the sickening torture inflicted upon its detainees will most likely continue. Trump, who has marketed himself as being an atypical politician, proves himself to be just as status quo as his predecessor’s.
On top of this, the excessive military spending that the President disguises as a supposed admiration for the troops that have “sacrificed everything so that we can remain safe and strong and free” continues just as it did under his two predecessors.
If President Trump is as full of compassion towards the troops as he proclaims, then perhaps it is time for him to withdraw all U.S troops from Afghanistan. Perhaps, just perhaps, the time has come for that particular eternal conflict that was started by Bush, continued by Obama and has been further overseen by Trump, with limited success.
While we should give credit where credit is due, like towards the President’s decision to withdraw seven thousand American troops (roughly half of the American military’s presence) from Afghanistan, a simple step in the right direction does nothing to outweigh the countless other steps in the wrong direction that showcase how Donald Trump has in fact not been an anti-establishment disruptor or agent of change at all.
Unfortunately, much of the Trump Presidency has continued to follow the status quo of the American political establishment. The parts of his Presidency that have deviated from the norm, such as considering sending children to Guantanamo Bay, should do little to reassure his more ardent supporters of his being any type of a “Chaotic Good.”
Instead, these types of deviations should serve as a wake-up call that Trump only stands to serve powerful and personal interests, often at the expense of America’s most vulnerable.