TODAY, WE ARE ALL AMERICANS – by Sam Ohuabunwa, OFR
Chido Onumah recently published a new book titled: ” We are all Biafrans”. In the book, he seemed to be talking of the Biafran spirit – the Igbo spirit of enterprise, creativity, hard work and excellence that yearns for justice, equity and fair play for all. In essence, he believes that many constituents in Nigeria and maybe elsewhere share similar sentiments. This is why many objective commentators classify the current Biafran agitation as a cry for justice for Ndiigbo. It is, therefore, reasonable to suggest that a way to deal with this agitation is to give justice to Ndiigbo, just as other people all over the world who feel discriminated against, marginalized or oppressed deserve to get justice. That, therefore, gives the Biafran agitation a global attraction.
Today, November 8, 2016, Americans go to the polls to elect the 35th President of the United States of America. And today, we are all Americans, even if we will not all vote. This is because the American election has a global attraction. Most people outside the USA have taken unusual interest in the elections and the preceding campaigns for one main reason. Most non-American citizens are disturbed about the prospect of Donald Trump becoming the next US President. Except for his rabid supporters, many people are frightened that Donald Trump will cause a lot of trouble for the World should he become President of the most powerful country in the World. His rhetoric while resonating with his right-wing supporters is repulsive even to the main stream Republicans – the party he has hijacked to bring America down to the level that most of the developing world can identify with. Donald with his fiery, essentially off-the-cuff vitriolic has not only demystified America but has also brought the worst side of America to public glare.
America has been seen as the most matured democracy in the world – where national institutions are strong and nonpartisan. America has represented to the world the dream land built by immigrants where people achieve their dreams, irrespective of where you are coming from or where you started from. The plurality and diversity of the American society in unparalleled. It has always represented a refuge for the oppressed and maligned. Every nation in the world have their indigenous communities in America. America has remained a bastion for freedom fighters and all people who need space to contribute to the emancipation of their societies. America has received Russian, Chinese, Iranian, Iraqi, Myanmarn, Egyptian and dissidents from all over the world who have emigrated to America to escape repression from tyrants at home. America has been the world defender of civil liberties and a promoter of global trade, prosperity and peace. Many developing nations depend on American aid – (human, material and financial) to the extent that they will go down economically should America recoil into its shelf as Trump candidacy seems to be preaching.
But the world stands alarmed that one man, called Donald Trump, wants to unravel all that. He has promised to build walls, rather than bridges between America and its southern neighbors. He has threatened to send home all so called illegal immigrants including children born in the USA. He has spoken against immigrants, especially Latinos and Arabs, African Americans, Muslims and against Nigerians too. He has a plan to weaken NATO and to repeal NAFTA and indeed all global trade agreements. Mr. “Trumpet” (according to my wife) has low morals, despises women, mocks the disabled, is bigoted, distrusts the objective media, is clannish and seems to have a megalomaniac view of himself and his business achievements. He seems not to have control over what comes out of his mouth and has to be compelled to read written scripts otherwise he would veer off to inanities and self-praise. How can such an unstable man (loose cannon, according to Hilary Clinton) provide leadership for the world’s most admired and most powerful democracy?
It is true that Americans want change. Just as Nigerians wanted or is it want change. But we, Nigerians, have seen how easy it is to get change. All the cheap talk of “making America great again” will soon collapse into denials, prevarications and somersaults as we have seen in Nigeria. Therefore, those who have the right to vote today, must do their best to manage their emotion. America has had a great economic rebound after the 2008-2009 global economic crisis. Most objective analysts will recognize the great job done by Obama in the last eight years to sustain American growth even in the face of sustained global economic challenges. Job growth in America has been phenomenal, and Obama has managed the deficit, cutting back on Defense spending and giving their supporters and partners all over the world the opportunity to take greater responsibility for fighting their own battles. America under Obama has used soft power to win the admiration of most global leaders.
Looking at the tone of the campaign in America, I am reminded of what happened in Nigeria’s 2015 elections. I thought we got very low but I have been surprised pleasantly though, that American politicians and some of their supporters, motivated by Trump, have gone lower than we did. I have heard Donald Trump repeatedly speak about rigging the elections even before the votes are cast. Rigging? I thought that word was invented by African Politicians, perfected by Nigerian politicians until Goodluck Jonathan, but which has now resurfaced. I have heard Mr. Trump say repeatedly that he will only accept the result if he wins. What a debasing statement and invitation to anarchy as we saw in Nigeria after the 2011 elections and which was threatened in 2015. Now FBI jumps into the fray to influence the direction of the election! Is there any semblance with EFCC & DSS? With that America, fully levels with the rest of us. If these can happen in America, our dream democratic country, then maybe we have not done badly after all. Indeed, we may all just be Americans!
Nevertheless, it is my hope and prayer that voting Americans will make the right decisions today to vote for political and economic stability and calm the nerves of the rest of the World who stand wondering what has happened to the leader of the Free World. Hilary Clinton may not be the best possible for America. But truly she is heads and shoulders above Donald Trump, with so much experience and will certainly do better for American economy and global peace and harmony.
Today, we stand with Hilary. But may the perfect will of God be done. Amen.