It feels like the world is clenching its collective poephol this week.
Over the next 48 hours, we should know whether Donald Trump has been allowed to continue making America hate again, or whether Joe Biden has been given a chance to try and repair what Trump broke over the last four years.
I have already put my head on the block, by predicting that Trump will win.
It’s starting to look like I might be wrong (and I couldn’t be happier), but nobody in the media is prepared to underestimate Trump ever again.
So even the usually sure American pundits are taking a cautious wait-and-see attitude.
Either way, the past four years have certainly left an unforgettable scar on the face of American politics.
I actually have a theory about why America appears more racist now than any time in the past forty years.
I think Barack Obama’s presidency scarred both American progressives and conservatives alike.
I think there was an unconscious belief that being black, he would make a mess of things; that he would find himself in over his head and sink, rather than swim.
From a policy point of view, Obama was of course not the greatest president America ever had.
But from a stature, and dignity, and rhetoric, and charisma, and erudite fluency, and just pure wholesomeness point of view, he beats almost every other American president hands down.
And that is the problem!
As most people have unconscious biases, Obama’s success and likeability may have activated a fear around black excellence; our ability to eventually become leaders in fields that traditionally belong to white achievers.
Let me explain with a few examples from the entertainment world.
After they allowed black people to race fast cars, we eventually gave them Bubba Wallace and Lewis Hamilton; they teach us tennis, and we respond with Naomi Osaka and of course the Williams sisters; they taught us English and we produce an endless list of orators and writers, like Martin Luther King Jnr and Dr Shashi Tharoor; they showed us golf, and we gave them Tiger Woods; gymnastics – Simone Biles; baseball Jackie Robinson; soccer – Pele.
They showed us global pop music domination, and we gave them just about every notable singer in modern times!
Now let’s explore that argument further. They showed us the capitalism game, and we gave them the likes of Aliko Dangote, Oprah Winfrey and Robert F. Smith, amongst many others, including the wealthiest man that ever lived (even by today’s standards) – Mali’s 14th century King, Munsa Musa.
I once heard something to the effect of “…maybe the reason they don’t want to teach us how the world works, is because they are scared that we will end up running it better than them.”
And that is the point I am making.
For all his failings, Obama was a better president than most of his predecessors … and a better man than almost all of them.
Which of course explains why Trump is so insecure about Obama that he still features in his speeches, four years later.
So let me end this with something I have been working on for some time.
It is my list of things America fooled us about over the years, and which Trump’s presidency has unwittingly exposed.
Some of these things were also evident during George W. Bush’s tenure, but then balance was restored when he was followed by Obama.
The images we got from American movies and TV shows was something that endeared America to many citizens of other countries, and made us a little envious of Americans.
Now of course we feel more than just a little sorry for them.
And I’m afraid Trump’s presidency has permanently shattered the rose-tinted glasses through which we viewed American life.
So, here is my list of the 10 things we believed about America before 2016, and which we can never ever believe again:
10. That there was only a tiny group of inbred racist living in the deep south, and that they were mostly ridiculed by other Americans.
9. That it is the land of the free, the home of the brave and that free speech was encouraged.
8. That the American Dream was there for the taking for anyone willing to work hard.
7. That immigrants are welcome and easily integrate into American society.
6. That America was deeply ashamed of its racist past, including Jim Crow segregation laws and the lynching of black people.
5. That most Americans (except the ones in the deep south) were highly educated and well versed in politics.
4. That Americans respected, celebrated and heeded intellectuals, such as scientists.
3. That America was both a domestic and global champion of human rights.
2. That Americans would not tolerate any form injustice for longer than the length of a movie.
1. That American presidents are astute and diplomatic intellectuals, determined to uphold the law, insist on fairness, encourage social cohesion and not provoke an uprising of any sort.