Tuesday, November 22, 2016
I look back at my posts after the Iowa Caucus and read what I wrote about the then forthcoming elections. In one entry I was really wrong. I declared that Trump will NOT be President of America. And now he is President Elect. Obviously I saw this horror unfolding and equally obviously, I denied it would happen. I grew up in Apartheid South Africa. I was born into Apartheid and raised under the Nationalist Government. My parents belonged to the Liberal Party, which was later banned. They raised us to understand that we were living under an unjust amoral regime. As oppressive policies worsened we lived in a world of fear, mistrust, and hatred of the 'other.' Even as white people, because of my parents' affiliations, our phone was tapped. We were under strict instructions to not discuss politics over the phone. Our mail was censored. We removed banned books from our house. Our school teachers were only allowed to teach us according to the government's curriculum. It was hard to trust anyone when we knew there were spies and informants. This was the way things were. We knew no other way, but also, in my home at least, we knew it was wrong. Eventually, for all of these reasons, I left South Africa. When Trump first appeared on the political scene many of the people I knew found him amusing. I never did. Everything about him, from the things he said, to his bearing, to his rallies, filled me with foreboding. I remember last year speaking to American friends about my fears. Even though they were horrified by what he was representing, they could not understand my fear. Now I understand why. They had no frame of reference. The same night we had a discussion, I watched Comedy Central with Trevor Noah. He likened Trump to African dictators, from Idi Amin to Mugabe to Gadaffi. He understood what was happening because he grew up in South Africa. And now - it looks like history is repeating itself. Headlines speak about dangers of surveillance along with all the other things we learn everyday, from the people he is appointing to the corruption of his private business. I really fear that he will amass more and more money at the expense of the people. Those who support him may be the ones who suffer most. He even wants to ban Saturday Night Live, and angrily 'reprimanded the cast of Hamilton for addressing concerns to Mike Pence. This is the beginning of the erosion of freedom of speech. The unreasonable fear of immigrants and illegals. There are in fact people here illegally from Canada, Ireland, Europe, but they are not the ones feared. No, it is people of color of course, and Moslims. Anyone different from white people. I think that we must all keep open minds and open hearts, and be vigilant in understanding what can happen to us under the corrosive stream of vindictiveness, blame, and threats. We have dto fiercely defend the freedoms of America.