Fear! That’s the word that best describes the feeling that gripped most Saint Lucians upon learning Donald Trump had actually beaten Hillary Clinton in their race to the White House. Forget about his first lady, whose pictures had caused no big stir when she was a model but had generated headlines since her husband declared his intent to move into the White House. Infamously, one of the Trump quotes best remembered was the candidate’s undertaking to construct his own great wall between Mexico and the United States, at Mexico’s expense. There had also been much talk about a shut-down of Muslim immigration into the US, impeding mass migration of Syrian refuges and the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants. Some of his campaign promises may have been laughable when first he made them. But no one’s laughing now. Certainly not US-based Caribbean nationals. Some continue even now to be incredulous.
“What does this really mean?” asked an Alabama-based Saint Lucian woman via Facebook. “No one really knows. All I know is that I’m scared, and like most, expecting the worst.”
Days after the election of the new president there were reports of global market slumps, currency drops, particularly where Mexico was concerned. The events left people from around the world in a state of bewilderment, most alternating between sharing memes as humorous as they were terrifying, collectively questioning the state of the world today.
Conspiracy theories abound about the current status quo of the most powerful nation in the world. Another Facebook user wrote: “It means this was the route that could generate the most fear internationally. I genuinely think there’s something bigger going on. It’s this way for a reason… to lower the consciousness.”
By the end of last week videos showing voters in tears were rivaled by other videos of racist celebrations by self-proclaimed members of the Ku Klux Klan. While anti-Trump protesters took to the streets chanting “Not my president,” so-called Trumpters questioned their motives urging detractors to “grow up, get over it” and work together “for the greater good.” While all this has been going on, immigrants living in the United States were bracing themselves for the worst. A Saint Lucian living in New York addressed this Facebook appeal to fellow Looshans: “Save, save, save . . . we still have time. This is a wake-up call for us to stay focused. Save every dollar you can; focus on your needs, not your wants.”
One day after the election David Remnick wrote in the New Yorker magazine an article entitled, An American Tragedy: “There are, inevitably, miseries to come: an increasingly reactionary Supreme Court; an emboldened right-wing Congress; a President whose disdain for women and minorities, civil liberties and scientific fact, to say nothing of simple decency, has been repeatedly demonstrated.”
But in midst of uncertainty there were people who realized why the unthinkable had occurred, and what that meant for the rest of the world. In a video that has since gone viral, political satirist and news commentator Jonathan Pie sought to analyze what had transpired on November 8.
“How many times does the vote not have to go our way before we realize that the argument isn’t won by hurling labels and insults?” he asked. “Tory majority, Brexit . . . Trump. When will we learn that the key is discussion? The moment you think he cannot do it is the moment he takes the White House. Of course he won! The Left is responsible for this result because the Left has determined that any other opinion, any other way of looking at the world, is unacceptable.”
He went on: “Not everyone who voted for Trump is a sexist or a rapist. Some of them are, but most aren’t. Most people didn’t vote for her [Hillary], not because she’s a woman. They didn’t vote for her because she offered no palpable change whatsoever… Trump represents a change. A terrifying change, but a change nonetheless.”
While anti-Trump protestors continue to build momentum, and the world waits in anticipation for what happens next, there are the words of Hillary Clinton to remember: “This is painful and will be for a very long time. We owe Donald Trump an open mind.”
Naturally, some would disagree. And have disagreed!