Guest post: Trump is not the “leader of the free world”

Guest post by Maureen Brian, originally posted on Facebook.

This was published immediately after the Inauguration but here it is again because six months on it might have been done with a difference of emphasis. Also because I am sick to the back teeth of running into people mindlessly referring to Trump as the “leader of the free world.” The rest of this is addressed to them with no offence to my friends who have more sense.

Listen up, kiddies! Leader of the free world is not a title at all: it is an epithet applied to whomever is believed worthy and by general consent. No, it is not in the gift of the Electoral College and you can’t buy it.

It was first applied to FDR in exceptional circumstances, when he was supporting and funding much of the war against fascism against opposition at home and against the direction of much of your history. Monroe Doctrine, anyone?

Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy all lived up to that level of concern for the world and interest in it. Johnson might have done if he’d sought another term and if he’d not been so busy turning Kennedy’s dreams into some sort of reality right there at home.

Since then your Presidents have been a mixed bag. Only Clinton and Obama had enough interest in/knowledge of the rest of the world to even think of such a title and neither seemed terribly bothered about claiming it. Just like FDR.

As for Trump? No way, José! He knows nothing of the world or its history, he pisses off allies from the long-established to the lukewarm or unreliable. Back home he constantly attacks various clauses of your First Amendment when they or something very like them would be the founding principles of anything described as free.

So stop claiming the title for this man. Doing so merely confirms your political illiteracy and is an unnecessary burden on this world as it actually exists.

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