This rhetoric and the promise to make entering the United States difficult for Muslims is just the kind that the extreme Americans want to hear and Trump is unafraid and unapologetic to say it out loud. To most of his supporters and fans, he is a breath of fresh air and America is in dire need of fresh air.
I have never really been interested in politics. Being from my part of the world, I was quick to learn that the system is mostly plagued with individuals more concerned about their personal benefits and lacing their pockets, than effecting real policies that can positively shape society and create a greater nation for future generations to come.
Paradoxically, I have been drawn to a few elections that represented the beginning of new possibilities. The United States 2008 presidential election was one of those. A black man was a leading candidate for President of the United States! A black man married to an intelligent black woman and with an African father, that alone was sufficient reason to be drawn to the election. I am not American, I couldn’t vote but I rooted for him. Most of the black race, irrespective of country, did. Not just because he was black, but because it had become a possibility that a brilliant and politically savvy man, irrespective of his skin colour, could become the president of the most powerful country in the world. This symbolised the growth and hope for humanity, once again with America setting the pace. It is this type of possibility that truly makes America great, earning its label as the ‘land of the free’.
With Obama’s presidency almost over and the bells for a new presidential election rang, Americans needed change. Expectations had been cut short with people quick to disregard that America was in recession when he took office. Too many people are still dissatisfied. More black people are being killed at the hands of the police, protesters march the streets in different cities and social media with ‘black lives matter’ signs, law enforcement officers have been killed in angry retaliation, more immigrants cross the borders and populate the country, employment rates are still low, health care still expensive. Americans crave change!
The novelty of a black president has long since come to an end but the idea of change, which was the rhetoric of his election and had for centuries been the message for many election wins, is still at play. It was this rhetoric of change that had in many ways given the baton of power from former Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan to present president, Mohammadu Buhari. No one really knew what this change truly meant, but reiterating the message, ‘change’ repeatedly, made most Nigerians (According to the election results) rally around and cast their vote for a once Military Head of State, who had previously lost the democratic presidential election race thrice. It is this same idea of change, an opportunity to ‘make America great again’ that has made Donald Trump the GOP candidate for the general elections.
Not afraid to air his mind and apparently, the mind of many Americans, Donald Trump steadily cast off his clownish costume and kicked off all other candidates to win the primaries and endorsement of his party. ‘I would build a great wall’ around the borders of Mexico and ‘I will have Mexico pay for that wall’. This rhetoric and the promise to make entering the United States difficult for Muslims is just the kind that the extreme Americans want to hear and Trump is unafraid and unapologetic to say it out loud. To most of his supporters and fans, he is a breath of fresh air and America is in dire need of fresh air. ‘Out with the circle of diplomats and slow politicians, who make wrong decisions and fail to achieve the needful to make America great once again!’ ‘Out with the politicians, who feel the need to hold the hands of Muslims and illegal immigrants who bomb America and steal our jobs!’ and ‘In a president, who can be so easily baited over and over again’ (as we saw repeatedly during the presidential debate). ‘Yes! Elect Donald Trump, a man who has never held public office. A man whose knowledge of running a government has been surmounted from being an excellent critic and running a private company with the sole purpose of racking up profits at any cost legally possible’. Yes! Give him the keys to the Oval office and while you are at it, presidential control over the armoury. Do all of these on the premises that he can ‘make America great again’.
I guess the real question becomes; is the need for change so great that the America people are ready to risk the foundation of their country and democracy? This is a country founded on freedom and inclusion and even though the process may be slow, it moves. This is a country that had only 8 years ago elected its first black president. Has it become so desperate enough to elect a man whose truth, like the school bully, lies in his constant derogation of minorities; from immigrants and Muslims to women? Is America so desperate for change, that it is willing to go back hundreds of years in civilization, freedom and acceptance? Is it so desperate to be great again that ironically, it is ready to lose all that actually makes it great?
I may not be American but I worry what a presidency in Donald Trump would mean for the American people and quite frankly, the world. Truthfully, glimpses from what has being a widely publicized and distasteful election leave me frightful of a Trump victory. A man, whose displayed character has repeatedly shown, he is too arrogant and spoilt to accept when things don’t go his way and as such, must lash out without restrain.
I have experienced the promises of change and if truth be told, its promises hold just that; promises.
Finally, Americans must recognise in the words of Abraham Lincoln that they will never be destroyed from the outside but if they falter and lose their freedom, it will be because they destroyed themselves.