NOTE ON AMERICA AND TRUMP'S ELECTION
By Abdul Suhood Komeh (pictured left)
Donald J Trump is elected and will take office in January. Congratulations, Mr Next President. That's how democracy works.
No matter how aggrieved, America is still the world's greatest democracy - by some miles. The governance organs that propelled it to that status cannot have completely decayed, eight years after electing Barack Obama, the first ever black leader of a global power (his father wasn't even born there).
In my view, electing Obama is a far greater, braver feat than electing its first woman president considering the socio-political meaning of blackness in America, and to a relevant extent the rest of the world, including some parts of Africa too.
Important but often ignored, America has always, with gracious humility, admitted, and committed itself to 'making our union better'. Who knows? The next president could actually be a woman, with a believable compassion. So all is not lost in one cycle. In the meantime, the best of luck to our sisters, brothers and friends, resident there.
At this moment, Donald Trump is president-elect. He's hated by a lot of people (justifiably). Most of whom had no right in voting against him. The reality is, most Americans like him more than they do Hillary. And that's all that mattered.
As is normal, he will accomplish some of his goals - the outrageous and the sane - but not all. He knows that, and so does his advisers. Listen to the conciliatory tone of his victory speech.
The idea of a wall is largely symbolic. As porous as it's determined in the current arrangement, an actual border with security personnel already exists between Mexico and the United States. But because he poured a lot of political capital on the issue, he might actually build a 'new, shinny, tremendous, beautiful thing of a wall.' But some of you and I know, walls are not enough to deter a person, driven by the will to survive. No power is capable of erecting a wall more fortified than the Mediterranean Sea. Yet it is still not enough to shutter Europe from immigrants of varying desperation.
In the main, most things Trump said during the campaign were off the cuff stuff, empty chutzpah. Why the hell will Mexico, a very poor country, pay for a policy, proposed by, and designed for the benefit of the richest nation on the planet? Bonkers!
The consensus is that what happened in America last night was a reflection of a global dissatisfaction with the order of things. Politics at this moment in history is a con. Too few are benefiting. A woman president could have been a welcome deviation from the status quo. But it's clearest now, Hillary Clinton was the wrong candidate at the right time.
I believe, like some/most black people consumed unrealistic expectations of an Obama presidency and got disappointed, Trump's ascendancy may well bring about the first real unravelling of the myth of a white working-class, entirely marginalised as a result of immigrants. Both groups may well be victims of the same inequalities, borne out of bad trade deals and pointless wars that benefit aggressive capitalism. Who knows?
Certainly, electing a white or black messiah is not enough to overturn the imbalances if the systems remain unchanged.
My guess is, apart from further exciting racists who are already enraged by a black president, Trump will not change much but tweak here and there.
I can also categorically say that as detestable a human as Trump has showed himself to be in the last year and half, he will not be the Adolf Hitler-reincarnate some media commentators predicted. Precisely because America's democratic superiority is underpinned by far more robust institutions.
The president of the United States is not a God-like figure but an official, rightly restrained by checks and balances. American democracy is respected the world over because its systems were created not to service a president's whims or idealistic wants, however logical. Ask Obama. Guantanamo is still open. And if you thought Obama was obstructed, wait till the democrats' machine gets cranking! It's a game. The system is rigged.