Tuesday, November 8, 2016
So the election is over (for me), and yes I voted. As of this writing, we do not know the outcome yet, and contrary to many predictions, the sun will rise tomorrow and the world will continue to revolve around the sun. The problem may be that this country may be even more divided than when President Obama was elected president eight and four years ago, regardless who the president elect is. That is scary to me.
I turned U.S. citizen in 1994. I have the correct skin color and if I keep my mouth shut, I can pass as any good red blooded (white) American (yes, I still have a funny accent). I have not missed any election since turning citizen, and honestly I am fascinated by U.S. politics (often to my wife's chagrin). I think a lot of immigrants can tell the same story; however, some are not as lucky, being of different ethnic background as I am. These guys have been in the center of the attention, whether they liked it or not. This election has pitted friends against each other; the educated “elite” against the working class white men; women against men; husbands against wives; black against white; it has polarized our entire society.
I am afraid it is something that will not go away when the last vote has been counted. Truthfully, I am not sure how we can heal; politicians in Washington are already promising obstruction and pigheadedness instead of compromise who ever will win. I just hope civility and tolerance will win.
Having lived all over the world, I can attest to how important democracy is; how it is valued and how horrible it is to live under a dictatorship or under a military regime. My parents grew up under the dictatorship of Hitler and I saw fanatics of both political parties claiming on Facebook that the candidate of the opposition was just like Hitler or would be just like Hitler. They don't know what they are talking about!
I lived in Uganda under Idi Amin, where if you said anything bad about the president you ended up becoming alligator food somewhere along the Nile River. The standing joke (or threat) was that the alligators had never been so fat as during Amin’s reign. There was no opposition, discourse or democracy. In Nepal, the King was a reincarnation of God and try to question God! The dictatorship in Yemen where I lived was not much better; although there the local villages always seemed to rebel against government rule. There was little compromise in all three countries that I worked in; it was always the dictator's way or the highway (or worse).
Where are all these countries now? They are still in political turmoil, in civil war, poor, you name it. I am a strong believer, that democracy, literacy, science and education in general is the only way out this vicious circle. That is what made us what we are right now. I am just afraid that in the current political climate we are descending to the same level as those countries I worked in. Let’s prove me wrong America, let's compromise and work together!