The global community is still reeling from the results of the American election. Mr. Trump’s win of an election that experts and polls expected him to lose has prompted a whole range of responses.
In the African literary community, we’ve seen everything from Chika Unigwe’s utter disappointment in the election results to Wainaina Binyavanga’s cautious praise of Donald Trump. “Welcome to the GOP’s America, led by the basest of them all. no words. no words. no words,” Unigwe tweets on the night of the election — a far cry from Wainaina’s “I kinda like Donald Trump. There, I’ve said it.”
In the face of these extremes, some of us have been on the look out for something a bit more reflective. And Ikhide Ikheloa, who stirred clear of social media the past two days, perhaps, to gather his thoughts, has stepped up to the plate. In a Facebook message posted this morning he attempts to bring a measure of perspective to the election results and what it means.
If you’ve been rattled by Trump’s win or simply curious about how to make sense of it, Ikhide’s post is a must-read.
I would like to thank the many Facebook friends and haters, people who ordinarily do not give a rat’s arse about me, who have gleefully inquired about my wellbeing, whereabouts and associated amebo whatnot in the past several hours since Mr. Trump was elected president of the U.S.A. Yesterday was a difficult day for me on many personal levels; In real life I work for a body of leaders elected by the American people, I will be losing two close bosses and friends, and welcoming two new leaders into the fold. I will be fine, I go through this every two years.
I am deeply grateful to all of you amebos for defacing my Facebook wall, sliding into my inbox and leaving lovely messages everywhere else, taunting me for losing the election to Mr. Donald Trump. Apparently I was on the ballot, I didn’t know it. I fully intend to reciprocate your kindness and thoughtfulness. I don’t get mad, I get even. I would also like to thank President Buhari of Nigeria and the president of the Yeye Association of Writers from Nigeria (YAWN) who have offered me a one-way ticket home to Nigeria, to the immense enjoyment that awaits me now that Mr. Trump and the Republican Party are firing up the gas grill to barbecue my black arse. SMH
I salute Mr. Trump for winning the election fair and square, no ifs no buts about it. This is a precious opportunity as much as it hurts for introspection. There is enough blame to go around. Mr. Trump tapped into the deep grinding despair and resentment among America’s poor working class and they voted him in. There was nothing we could do to convince them that they were making a huge mistake, for in Trump’s voice, what do they have to lose? In losing, we failed them, just as we have failed them in the past.
I am thinking of narrative. It’s all in the narrative; while we intellectual know-it-alls squirmed with condescension and arrogance, Mr. Trump turned the disenfranchised against us in language they understood. There is a reason why Philistinism is taking over scholarship and society. It is a failure of leadership and we must talk about these things instead of bleating the usual crap to explain our failures.
This hurts. Badly. But it is not the end of the world as I know it. America is still a great country and in the name of our sons and daughters we must continue to strive to make the world a better place for all. In the language people understand. It’s all about the narrative.
Finally, I salute Mrs. Hillary Clinton for putting up a great fight. You made a difference and the world is a better place for my daughters and sons because of you. Let no one be sorry for you, you are one of the world’s most powerful civilian generals. You were Amalinze the cat, but Okonkwo, junk lord, king of raging peasants, felled you in a wrestling match you should have won. It is what it is.
Onugo, you of my ancestors, you did not fail me, in this crushing defeat, you taught me that I am a human being, deeply flawed, who loves and hurts like everyone else because like everyone else I don’t have all the answers. And you taught me that I should chill a bit, life should not be a contact sport, we don’t have to win all the time because it is really not about winning but about doing the right thing. It was a lesson I did not want, but I needed. The good news is I no longer owe you a well fed bull. Hillary did not win. You will stay hungry, Onugo. There is a lesson there for you; if I don’t win, you’ll go to bed hungry. Nonsense.
Good morning, America. I love you.
Trump’s image: by Gage Skidmore via Flickr
Ikheloa’s image: from his Facebook page.