I love America, that king as well as clown of a country all rolled into one. Never set foot in the land of milk and honey but came as close as the Niagara Falls – once. Had to keep to the Canadian side because I had an Indian passport – and no visa for America – at that point. Might have painted myself red and tried to pass myself off as a Red Indian, until somebody told me that red could also mean a ‘commie’ in the land of J. Edgar Hoover. Better dead than red, see? That’s when they told me to cut out the comedy stuff. It was mouldy and it stank, they said.
So be it, but the point is that either America is funny, or the rest of the world behaves in a funny manner when it comes to America. I love America when it comes to movies e.g. I don’t find it funny at all that an American actress (Meryl Streep) and an American actor (Robert Redford) should play a Danish coffee-farmer and her British big game hunting lover in Kenya in the year that my father was born – we’re talking about Out of Africa and this sentence is already too long.
(Subtle shift to new para) and still, when I hear stray Americans from the Bat Conservation office of the UN in Bonn – they go jogging on the Rhine, the UN employees, not the bats – and they talk to each other in American – still can’t think of it as a separate language but it is, just listen to Prince Charles and then to Donald Trump. Both make you feel that you’ve never learnt English. Both make you wish that you’d never learnt English. And yet Donald might be president before Charles is king.
Because Donald is right out of Tinsel Town, right out of the movie world – I’m sure other worthies have noticed and commented on this before, but to me, Trump is a kind of political Rocky, a street fighter, who may or may not turn into a political Rambo. And then again, he might put on specs and settle down to more serious character roles with state-of-the-art (art-of-the-state?) stunts causing minimal collateral damage. Which would make him as American a President as mom’s apple pie.
I never watch Super Bowl but I love watching Americans watch the Super Bowl – and the ads, of course, which cost more the minute than Zambia’s foreign debt. And the same is true of this quadrennial political Super Bowl that the Americans have, which they call the presidential elections. The whole world watches America choose a President – can be the old President, if he’s running for a second term – can be an ex-President’s wife who wants to know just what it is about the Oval Office… And now America is waking up to the possibility that they might even get a Trump for President. Just the possibility awakens Begehrlichkeiten, as the Germans say, which means covetousness and concupiscence, everywhere in the world: Indians are doing puja praying for Trump’s victory and dreaming of a Muslim-free country; people close to the Kremlin are opening bottles of Sovetskoye Shampanskoye, nobody knows for what reason.
In a world in which children are raised half by their parents and half by Walt Disney, I find Trump would have won hands down if children from the age of three upwards (to the age of ninety-three, say) were allowed to vote: they’ve all heard of Donald Duck and had their birthday bash at MacDonald’s; just change the names to Donald Trump and TrumpDonald’s and give ’em little plastic figures of Lyin’ Hillary and Crooked Hillary and you’ve got the presidency in your pocket.
But as someone who’s always wished that mighty nation well – from afar – I have a piece of advice for Americans regarding who they might have chosen for a president (maybe they will, someday, though it’s a bit late for this one, isn’t it?). Does that make me a presidential advisor? Wow! In any case, the Americans first chose a president who is half black; and now they might be about to choose a president who is a woman and an ex-First Lady. Why don’t they do it as a kind of wellness package or flat rate and ask Michelle? She’s African American and the current First Lady and if there was a vote for Brown Indians, she’d be getting mine for sure.