The first vote to kick Trump out of the White House
BY SOUMANOU SALIFOU
The White House and the U.S. parliament building, which we call the Capitol, are two of the many majestic buildings in Washington, D.C., the beautiful capital of the United States. Both buildings were erected, starting in October 1792 and September 1793 respectively, in part on the sweat and the blood of slaves who were used as free laborers. Some of those men most certainly came from my home country originally called Dahomey.
Not unlike other descendants of those brave men who were brought to these shores by force because of the greed of cruel men (including some of our own), I feel an emotional tie and a rightful sense of ownership to these landmarks.
Like an insult to our ancestors, the White House, our house, is currently occupied by a racist, not the “ordinary” racist some of us have to cope with at work everyday, but the hardcore type like the cops that choke some of us to death on the streets of New York, or coldly shoot us in the back just because we get scared and run away, though we haven’t committed any crime. Our current tenant, who got the key to our house after gross lies, frauds and cheating, is a racist who so much hates us, black people, that he calls Africa names I cannot repeat.
How little he knows, or wants to acknowledge, about black people’s many contributions to America in general, and the specific contributions of African immigrants, the immigrant group in America with the highest percentage of Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate degrees that ranks high when comparing those that hold professional positions in management, business, science, and arts. The contribution of a Dikembe Mutombo from the Congo to the game of basketball, the dedication of hundreds of African immigrants who routinely save American lives as doctors, nurses and firefighters, or protect us against terror, speak for themselves.
Rising from a family that is not wealthy, I saved my own hard-earned money to come and pursue my studies in one of America’s most prestigious universities, Johns Hopkins, in 1983. I was later recruited by the Voice of America, VOA (the U.S. government’s radio that broadcasts to the rest of the world), which gave me a chance to pursue the American dream like millions from every corner of the world.
I was that VOA reporter who announced the election of Bill Clinton live on radio Cote d’Ivoire on 3 November 1992 minutes after the networks called the election for Clinton. For years I was responsible for editing a daily newsfeed that was aired by radio stations across Africa. My various, regularly-scheduled Americana programs were very popular on radio stations throughout the continent. I was awed to find myself barely six feet away from President George H. Bush at the White House in 1991 when covering the visit of a head of state from West Africa for VOA. Bush’s son, George W., in a letter dated 22 February 2002, congratulated me for founding the first African magazine published in this great nation.
Being so dedicated to my new homeland that has given me a lot, and busy raising my American children, I felt so American deep in my heart that I was content to be a permanent resident for decades, until one of my children and his spouse felt recently that the impulsive man now at the White House might just one day take away that privilege from us all, green card holders. So I became an American also on paper very recently, sitting in the first row, embarrassingly emotional, as I became a member of “the land of the free and the home of the brave”–a phrase from the U.S. National Anthem. (Thanks, by the way, kids.)
And I am determined, come 3 November 2020, to use my American citizenship to cast the first vote to kick out of our house, the White House, the sick, dangerous man who now illegitimately occupies it–if he survives the heavy political bleeding until then. I will cast my vote to put in our house a man or a woman, black, brown, white or yellow who will not insult the spirits of my ancestors who quarried and cut the rough stones to build our house, the majestic White House. Inch’Allah.