Wole Soyinka

There are two things you get when you imagine Donald Trump: First, you are confronted with an enigma. Second, you have to find the code to a puzzle. If your imagination is fertile enough, you get a combustible combo of an enigmatic puzzle. He makes you think. He makes you wonder. He makes you angry. He makes you ask the most urgent and perplexing question: how did America get here?

Well, here we are, staring at the frightening prospect of a Donald Trump presidency. We are surviving on half a slice of hope, hoping against hope that we will not wake up tomorrow to hear that Donald Trump is the 45th President of the United States of America. Our eyes are glued to the polls, checking and crosschecking the figures to check how far Hillary is leading in the polls, and how fast Trump closing in.

Opinion polls

Just a few months ago, pollsters in Britain got it all wrong when they predicted a tight race between former PM David Cameron and then Labour Leader Ed Miliband. It turned out British voters had said one thing but did another thing during voting. It was not a tight battle after all; the Conservatives won convincingly, sending leader Miliband out of frontline British politics. So we are not gulping down all the polls in the American elections without any questions. They all say Hillary is leading, but Trump is not losing.

Donald John Trump could win. All the odds are against him. The media is against him. The Republican establishment is against him. The academic community is against him. Barbara Bush is very much against him. The House Speaker is not for him. Yet Trump enjoys a massive following, commanding some 43 and more percent in recent polls. With the polls tightening, a Trump victory may be lurking in the womb of time.

The prospect of a Trump presidency continues to scare some of the finest minds in America, including Nobel Literature Laureate, Wole Soyinka. The Nigerian-born playwright told students at Oxford: “If in the unlikely event he does win, the first thing he’ll do is to say that all green-card holders must reapply to come back into the US. Well, I’m not waiting for that. The moment they announce his victory, I will cut my green card myself and start packing up.” Soyinka presently lives and works in the U.S as a scholar-in-residence at New York University’s Institute of African American Affairs.

Trump is different

Soyinka is not the only one who will leave or renounce their American citizenship if Trump becomes President. An African-American centenarian, Mrs. Thelma Feastra, has sworn that she would not remain in the United States if Trump became president. The  101 year old told a correspondent at the Hampton Voter Registrar: “I want to get the best people out there to take care of the citizens; so I voted Hillary. I am hoping the election will be alright. However, If Trump wins, I guess I will just pack my bags and leave the U.S.”  

Trump is no monster; he is just different, as observed by Fareed Zakaria. The Washington Post columnist and CNN anchor supports Hillary. In his column on 06 November, 2016, he described Trump as “a cancer on American democracy”, explaining that “Not just because he is obnoxious, tacky and vulgar, or that his business dealings show him to be a scam artist. He is different because of what he believes.” He concludes that “Donald Trump is not a normal candidate.”

True, Trump is not your normal politically correct politician. He has crossed all the lines and lined up in his firing line everything that appears reasonable and conventional. He has insulted women, ethnic minorities, Moslems and politicians. He attacked the physical looks of Carly Fiorina during the Republican primaries and has demeaned the femininity of Hillary during debates, calling her nasty. When he saw blacks counting money in the accounts office of one of his business concerns, he angrily reacted that he did not want blacks managing his accounts. He is racist, bullish, sexist and rough.

Make America strange again

Why are people not talking about what could go right if Trump becomes President? People are genuinely scared of what will happen if he does win. Musician Steve Wonder does not care mocking his own disability; he has said that voting Trump is like asking him (a blind man) to drive you out for shopping. Obama has questioned his temperament.  Yet, he remains unstoppable. He has defied all the odds.

Donald Trump falls into the category of what came to be called “Are you kidding me candidates.” These are politicians whose candidature was mocked by the American public, with many asking: “Are you kidding me?” Some of these candidates became great presidents. Ronald Reagan was one such candidate. He became the 40th President to occupy the Oval Office. Democrat Barack Obama has lots of admiration for him, even though he maintains Abraham Lincoln is his favourite. Both are Republicans.

Donald Trump is also a Republican. Well, not your typical establishment Republican.  The British Parliament spent three hours debating Trump, with the MPs taking turns to address the American as a buffoon, an idiot and a demagogue. Such is the effect Trump has had on the world this year. Trump may well become one of America’s greatest Presidents. It will not be the first time a Bush ruled the world.

Changing the narrative

We forget that Trump is but human, and there may be a good side to him. He may not build the tall wall and may not ban Moslems from entering America. He would change his narrative completely and embrace a more diplomatically correct rhetoric. He is already making some progress by allowing his campaign team to manage his Twitter account. He may even be very tolerant of immigrants. Don’t forget his first and third wives have both been immigrants–Czech Republic and Slovenia respectively.

To Soyinka’s surprise, Trump may not ask holders of Green Card to leave America and reapply. He might instead facilitate their citizenship. If Soyinka’s literary creation in The Lion and the Jewel, Sidi, found reason to change her mind about Baroka, the dramatist  should not be shocked to find President Donald Trump Africa’s best friend.

The Nigerian scholar may not need to cut up his Green Card or pack his bags to Nigeria. It is not pretty there. Well, Donald J. Trump just won. But he may not come after you.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Today the tidal waves of politics and predicting elections still remains a conundrum. Donald Trump, a business tycoon, has won the US general elections for president. It is into this messy prognostication that Wole Soyinka, the Nigerian playwright and poet, who lives in the United States, waded without caution: “The moment they announce his victory, I will cut my green card myself and start packing up.” Kwesi Tawiah-Benjamin has a few words of advice for him. Circumspection might be key in this regard. It might be where that variable that can explain away why Trump won, and why Hillary lost, lurks: Wole Soyinka needs some of it to make sense of his current plight.

    This is a refreshing read. Enjoy!

  2. You cannot win elections by hiding from the press! Lesson to all politicians no matter how popular you are! As for Wole Soyinka, he is a victim of the mass media. He knows very little of the danger to the world, and to his home nation, Nigeria, that Killary represents. Now, we wait and see how bad Trump can be. That’s why he has only four years! And that is why the Democrats can wake up in four years with a much better candidate.

  3. Both parties share equal responsibility for last night. The past 4years we have seen a wave of anti establishment rock the West.

    However both parties ran the same old establishment candidates during the primaries. The democrats on their side were dumb enough to run a candidate who is the very definition of the establishment. The negatives that the Clinton’s have cannot be easily discounted.

    One thing that the political elites have completely failed to understand is that the status quo will no longer work.

    Obama was given the opportunity to be the agent of change yet he failed.

    Change is back with a new voice and a new face. This time around one that you might probably not like.

    Where we go from here will define our collective futures but make no mistake, people want changes. The Clinton’s can never represent that change.

  4. Colossal mistake by the DNC. But the whole party had been overtaken by the Clinton Machine, or whatever that is. I am glad they lost a second and third bid for president! No more legacy candidates. Chelsea Clinton can kiss becoming president goodbye!

  5. Narmer Amenuti, I agree that few understand, or accept to appreciate, the threat of Hillary in the rest of the world. Becasue a world war has not happened in many decades, few understand its wide reaching effect. More, we are looking more at a Nuclear Holocaust, not a world war! Trump is probably a bad man and he might be a bad president. But he can never equal Hillary’s corruption and warmongering!

  6. I still don’t get this intense hatred for Hilary! Even though I am a republican I truly believe Trump is equally as bad.

  7. Sister Grace, when someone comes to your sovereign nation, invades it, sodomizes your leader with a knife and then declares: “We came, we saw, he died,” and leaves thousands dead and several hundreds of thousand displaced, you’ll probably have a different view.

    When she usurps all donations of good-willed folks after your nation has had a natural disaster, to the tune of 900 million dollars and builds just two huts for the homeless, for the sick and for the dying, you will probably have a different view.

    When she invades your country, destools a democratically elected president and then organizes new elections, with hundreds of people dead and several hundreds of thousands displaced, you will probably change your mind about her.

    And I am referring to Libya, Haiti and Honduras just to mention a few. I can go on. Her crimes are immense! Hillary is one of the most corrupt individuals in world politics. She literally sold the State Department to the highest bidders in Saudi Arabia. To go into her corruption, sister, we would have to meet in person, and we will not be done talking about them in full day.

  8. In addition to the above… mostly people oppose Hillary because they don’t want the world to be drawn into another world war. They’re especially afraid of a nuclear war, which would cause so much damage, not to mention people, animals, and plants dying unnecessarily. People also don’t trust Hillary because her foundation accepts money apparently in exchange for political favors.The thought of a president receiving bribes is unsettling to say the least. Trump has no reason to accept bribes, since he doesn’t need the money. And no one thinks he wants a world war.

  9. I have a bungalow to rent to Wole Soyinka, if he would prefer to come to Ghana. There’s no electricity and the river is two miles away. The closest kerosine station is ten miles east and the closest provision store is 12 miles west. The bungalow comes with a radio, six batteries, a bed, a coal-pot, utensils, banku pot holder, a bankuta and my grandfather’s wawa bench. I welcome him with full arms!

    • Dade Afre Akufu after reading about your bungalow and those amenities, Wole Soyinka has changed his plans and is taping is green card back together.

  10. Great article and our good old-fashioned African humor shows through the comments. Dade Afre Akufu and Afua Manu’s comment to him is cracking me up. Wole Soyinka has taped back his green card back together because he can simply use the excuse of being too old to live in Dade’s bungalow. He can’t walk now.

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