By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
December 17, 2018
Brian Moore is one of my best friends. He is Trini-to-de bone when it comes to discoursing about national and international matters. He is a contrarian and has dogmatic views about issues. He was not unduly worried when Donald Trump was elected to the presidency of the United States. When many of us were desolate about the prospects of the U.S., Brian declared defiantly: “America got what she deserved. Trump is not a U.S. aberration. He is the quintessential expression of who and what the U.S. is.”
Initially, I was not inclined to accept Brian’s position. I treated it with much skepticism, trying to come up with rational assumptions about why Trump won. Hillary Clinton was a bad candidate, she did not campaign hard enough, she alienated too many people, or her husband’s dalliances made it difficult for her in a #MeToo moment. Brian was insistent. “America got what it deserved. Trump is nothing more than an expression of American boorishness.”
The Muller’s investigation into the Russian involvement into the US presidential election has ensnared many people around Trump. Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, was the most recent figure around Trump who was found guilty of paying bribes to Stormy Daniels and Karen MacDougal. Cohen confessed that Trump directed him to make the payments to these two women to buy their silence.
The lying continues. Day by day, hour by hour, President Trump has become more incriminated in wrongdoing in high places, digging his own grave of infamy. Many people feel he has deepened the swamp into which America has sunken despite his proclaimed desire “To Make America Great [White] Again.”
On Friday morning I went to one of the branches of First Citizen’s Bank (FCB) to conduct a transaction. I began to discuss the U.S. condition with a junior officer in a casual manner.
She asked, “How America going?”
I answered, “Alright,” to which she responded: “America has lost all of its credibility. Nobody takes it seriously anymore.
I asked her why. She responded: “Because of Trump’s policies and the lies he tells. He could get away with murder.”
Not satisfied with this accusation, she continued: “I will not go to the United States now. The whole social climate has changed and Trump’s racism has not helped at all.”
This young woman had never been to the U.S. and declared she has no intention of ever going there. At the age of nineteen she and her mother applied to get visas to visit the U.S. Her mother was granted a visa but she wasn’t.
When I asked her why she thought the US consulate authorities denied her a visa, she said just as casually: “They thought I was going to stay.”
Today, whether she gets a visa or not, she will not go to the United States while Mr. Trump occupies the presidency.
Brian is an inveterate listener of the BBC. He refuses to listen to our local radio stations. He believes that many of our local radio stations are concerned with trivial issues most of the time. He insists that our radio hosts should be more aware of international news and its impact upon our local condition.
However, I was not ready for the views of this young woman at FCB. She was not surprised by the troubles in which Trump has found himself. She has concluded that Trump has ruined America and is bringing more disrepute to his country. Citizens who hitherto foresaw the U.S. as a beacon of hope are losing their faith in the promise of America’s greatness.
On Thursday, at the launch of my book, I drew my audience’s attention to the fact that as early as 1848, the Trinidadian, a local newspaper founded by black and colored people, pointed to the U.S. as a source of support for black liberation from their former master.
When the Trinidadian serialized Frederick Douglass’ Narrative, it observed: “We commence in this number the insertion of the autobiography of Frederick Douglass, formerly a slave, and presently the editor of the North Star. We invite the Hon. Mr. Burnley and others to begin its perusal at once. They may therein find some remedy for the infatuated dislike of African materials.”
Today, the tables have turned. The great American empire is no longer looked at as the city upon the hill which held so much promise to West Indians. It is dawning upon them that many Europeans who arrived in the U.S. at an early date were responsible for eliminating the native people from their lands (a form of genocide). Later on, they denied African Americans equal citizenship rights until the nineteen sixties. Now, the tables are turning.
Trump and his government are in arms against persons from Central America who are only trying to return to the lands that were stolen from their forefathers. Trump is afraid of the browning of the US which the new immigrants represent in spite of themselves.
Trump epitomizes what America stands for: the fear of the browning of the U.S. that many Americans fear immensely. Brian didn’t put it this way but his estimation of President Trump represents is essentially correct.
Brian may be a contrarian but sometimes his analysis hits the mark. This time around, he was correct about Trump.