As the American alt-right celebrates the election of Donald Trump as the next president of the United States, Democrats and most of the world are slowly waking up from their dream to face this sobering reality ; That a country like America, which has served as a refuge for the downtrodden and the persecuted could elect a man who is openly racist and who has vowed to deport millions of immigrants.
Even Africa, which isn’t typically embroiled in U.S. politics, has weighed in heavily on this unprecedented U. S. election. As expected, most Africans had wished Hillary Clinton would have succeeded President Barack Obama, a man they hold in high regard primarily as a result of his African Ancestry from his Kenyan immigrant father. It has also emerged that there are some African Leaders who are happy that Trump will be the next president of The United States. There are of course the usual suspects, Africa’s authoritarian leaders, who have celebrated Trump’s victory. They do so because during his campaign, Trump promised a hands-off foreign policy, unlike his predecessor, who has never shied away from criticizing them for corruption and gross human rights violation.
But what has shocked me even more has been the situation right here in America where there are African immigrants who are celebrating the Trump win. Though few are Republicans, many are Bernie Sanders supporters who have residual anger from the outcome of the democratic primaries. According to emails publicized by WikiLeaks, Democratic Party officials favored Clinton and worked covertly to favor her over Sanders. These Africans failed to transfer their Sanders’ goodwill to Clinton, and might have decided not to vote altogether.
There is yet another group of Africans who form a peculiar demographic and who are pertinent to this discussion. I have met many in person and interacted with others on social media since Trump was elected. From their anecdotes, I have gathered that there has been an awakening, of sorts, of a certain segment of Africans who are bypassing mainstream media to learn about the often suppressed counter-narrative of a not-so-great America. They have become aware of the America whose origin evolved from the annihilation of native Americans, and the enslavement of Africans. You can credit the Internet for this awakening, as that version of history is not taught in African schools.
This narrative spins the story America tells about itself to the world through its omnipresent media channels owned by only a handful of corporate conglomerates. For that matter, these “woke” Africans want to see the decline of America, and they think Trump’s election is just the beginning of that.
Africans should be worried
It is not a secret that the United States wields a lot of power when it comes to global trade and policies that govern them. For African countries to compete in the global market, they need to move away from producing raw materials to specializing in finished goods. Doing so would create manufacturing industries and by extension create jobs and improve the lives of people. But for that to thrive, we will need to find the right markets. And we cannot even undertake that without the capital goods and infrastructural investment necessary. A Trump presidency could frustrate these aspirations of Africa.
Trump has explicitly expressed his intention to put “America first” by negotiating deals that only benefit America. Although I doubt he can name three countries in Africa, let alone know the nuanced challenges they face, the president-elect has expressed opposition to foreign aid. If his choice of White House staff is any indication that there is no pivot from the campaign rhetoric, then the world is damned. And Africa, is often the “anus” of that damned world.
No help from U.S.A
U.S. foreign policy is about to change to isolationism. In other words, no more spending to “save” others. He made that clear during his campaign. And Africans should take him at his word. If our society breaks into civil wars, we are on our own. Here is a guy who says he does not believe in The United Nations. So forget about humanitarian aid and peacekeeping. We had better learn to save ourselves.
We can also expect Trump to pursue trickle-down economic policies. When these policies fail as they always have, you’re likely to see anther recession, leading to massive unemployment. Immigrants are often the first casualties, and again, – these very African immigrants –who have not established strong communities here — will be hit hard the hardest. The billions of dollars we remit to our families back home will naturally diminish.
Africans should wish America well
Rather than gloating over America’s political uncertainty, we should spend more time ideating and laying the bricks for how to wean Africa from America. It is apparent that to survive in a Trump America, we will have to grow up and be responsible. Doing so will help us triumph and turn a negative situation into a positive one. Rather than worry about America, we should worry about ourselves. And worrying about ourselves at a time when we are dependent on others also means we should be wishing well the hands that feed us.