I said I will be gone for 3 months but the events that are unfolding in the US election at the moment couldn’t keep me away for so long. So I’ll just leave this here and resume my other preoccupation that is unfortunately, taking up too much of my time to effectively concentrate on this blog that I love so much.
I’m not a politics person but I can’t help but experience this feeling of dread in me that Republican Donald Trump could actually be winning this election. And I guess this feeling I’m experiencing is shared by many Kenyans. But we are miles and oceans away, so why bother?
When Obama became the 44th president of the US, it was euphoric for us Kenyans. Obama’s father is from our soil and despite the fact that Obama was born and raised in the US, Kenyans felt as if a part of them was represented in none other than a superpower.
We are Africans. And in Africa, ties are so important that we sometimes claim people belonging to the same clan as our blood brothers and sisters. But since I have quite a number of foreign readers following this, I will not delve into just how much we value ties. However, in our African minds, Obama is ours and that fact alone gave us so much comfort the period that he has been in office.
Come campaign time in 2016 and we have Clinton and Trump. Hilary is this prim and proper candidate who has quite a huge chunk of years of experience in public office. She definitely understands what running a country actually entails. Then we have Donald who according to many, is just but a privileged savvy businessman who does not have the slightest fear in speaking his mind. It doesn’t seem to matter to him whether he rubs people the wrong way or not but whatever is on his mind, he will just say it. Often statements intended to ruffle feathers a bit or a hell of a lot more.
And he does not seem to care whether Obama has relations in Kenya for that matter and what it actually means to Kenyans. Weirdly enough, Kenyans expected Donald Trump to actually care no wonder some of this dread we are experiencing at the moment at the turn of events. In addition, there are comments made by Trump in the past that kind of painted him as insensitive toward other races considered minorities and also as a super misogynist.Things I personally do not agree with.
So definitely, we are looking at this man who isn’t the slightest bit fazed by negative publicity arising from him speaking his mind and we are actually really scared, that all those things he said, could actually become a reality once he is in power. And we are more scared of the implications of it on immigrants from nations that Trump seemed to have quite unsavory statements to make concerning them. So what happens to Hispanics? What happens to Kenyans, Senegalese, Nigerians… in the US? Is he really going to build that wall at the border of Mexico and the US that he threatened to build? What if Kenyans get sent packing back to Kenya?
However, I will confidently say this and this is simply my opinion, that whether Americans decide to vote for Trump as the 45th president of the US or Clinton, it is solely their decision to make. We really have no influence as Kenyans over the American vote. Many of us are scared out of our wits by racism in my country, because it is something we haven’t quite experienced. Oh yes, we are familiar with tribalism which we engage in shamelessly on a daily basis, but we are definitely scared of being discriminated against because of color. And Trump seems not to really spare a thought for people of color on a frequent basis.
It should be noted however, that some of Trump’s supporters and I’m sure, who voted for him, are actually Americans falling in the Black and Hispanic categories and women who were privy to his previous sexist remarks. Meaning these people did not take his statements to heart or they chose to look the other way and focus on what they thought was good for their country. And that is why I emphasize that voting depends on the people of that country’s choice. It does not depend on emotions and thoughts of people from other countries who feel a connection to the said country like Kenya.
I personally was for Clinton and mainly because she is a woman who has defied odds to vie for the top office but I equally do not think that Trump is foolish. If he is going to emerge the winner, he will definitely have to reconsider some of his stances that he made public in the race for presidency. He will have to consider economic and diplomatic ties with other nations. He will have to look at what is best for America despite whatever public/private thoughts he may harbor towards certain people from certain races and religion.
You cannot run a nation and specifically a superpower, based on buffoonery and I’m sure that is something Trump and his advisors already know. So he may have exhibited all this unnecessary attention seeking drama during the campaign trail but if at all he gets the top seat, he has a lot of work cut out for him to do. And sending immigrants he considers a pain packing back home definitely, will not be at the top of his list.
So Kenyans, relax and focus on your own general elections come 2017. We have a lot of planning and decision making to do back here.