Following events since the United States presidential inauguration, I find myself wondering why a man like Donald Trump, wealthy beyond most people’s dreams, surrounded by beautiful women and sycophants to do his every bidding, should feel the need to venture into the unfamiliar — and unforgiving — world of politics.
The traditional answer of course is a desire to wield power; to make and unmake the laws by which the rest of us have to live — and no person on earth has more power potential than the President of the United States.
Trump, approaching his seventh decade may have begun to worry about his legacy: That in half a century’s time people might gaze up at one of his many public buildings, now looking its age and ripe for demolition, and wonder why it had such a funny name.
Wealth does not purchase immortality, but American presidents get their names in history books.
And yet…how many people ready history books?
How many presidents are fixed in the public imagination? George Washington certainly; Abraham Lincoln yes; Franklin Roosevelt maybe.
But who remembers William Henry Harrison, Martin van Buren or James K. Polk? Just being President of the United States does not necessarily buy immortality.
So, musing in his office high up in New York’s Trump Towers, the billionaire might have wondered that with no nation to found, no slaves to free and no Great Depression to combat, just what does it take to be remembered?
Might he have thought of a military leader called Julius Caesar who brought down the Roman Republic and set the greatest empire in the known world on a different trajectory? Or an obscure Corsican soldier called Napoleon Bonaparte who rose through the ranks to trample all over Europe. Never mind that one was assassinated and the other died in exile, their names live on.
So power is only half the equation: To be truly remembered it must be used consistently and aggressively to turn the world upside down.
Trump’s path to the presidency was only stage one in the Grand Plan during which he convinced people that the most powerful nation in the world needed to be ‘great again’; that it was about to be overrun with alien hoards who cared nothing for Western values; that around the world plots were hatching to strip Americans of their livelihoods, forcing them into poverty and servitude.
The United States must fight back, use its might while it still had it…and he would lead the charge.
Might this have been the thinking high up in Trump Towers a year or so ago? If it was, the first part of the Grand Plan has been wildly successful and the past few days have seen just the beginning of the next stage.
Perhaps I’ve got it wrong. For all our sakes I hope so.