Hello, happy 2017! Sorry about the long silence. Needed some time to be quiet because of a number of interdictions I had set on myself. First: to carefully not share my opinion on President Magufuli's performance so far. Second: to not have a public melt-down over the Trumpocalypse too early in the game. Third: to have a quiet end to 2016, because.
I filed my East African article super-early this week. Who knows how much time the human race has left after Friday? It seemed important to give my lovely eccentric editor a small gift of joy: he likes it when I hit my deadline:
"First of all, Mr. Trump is going to be the guy with his finger on the trigger of the largest nuclear arsenal in the world. Is he a man of calm temperament, who has demonstrated maturity in the face of criticism (let alone baiting or derision), a man who clearly deliberates before making important statements and taking actions with serious consequences? Does he take well to advice, especially from security professionals from, imagine, his own country? Have you read his Tweets? You can see why he might be a source of anxiety.
The bomb is not even what is realistically scary, it is just my short-hand way of thinking about what to anticipate if he is ultimately in charge of the world's last super-power. Considering the size of the US footprint on the globe, it behooves us all to have a steady mind and a steady hand at the helm of that particular country irrespective of ideological leanings. Between the half-chewed America First jingoism and his racism and particular vitriol towards Obama for having a Kenyan father, I am not particularly excited about the Trump administration for Africa's interests."
Don't worry, there are a few jokes in there. I have been "laughing" since November in-between bouts of crushing dread because hey, it's the best medicine, right?
There are those who can live in what they call hope, an optimistic attitude that I sometimes have trouble distinguishing from ostrich-with-its-head-in-the-sand syndrome. The best form of hope in my opinion is to expect the worst, wish fervently that it doesn't happen but be prepared anyways because it probably will. This has served me reasonably well. Articulating a fear helps you face it and make contingency plans, laughing about how horrible a situation is lets you look it in the eye and avoid being caught flatfooted by horror like some wet-eared naif. So imagine my delight when I came across today's offerings from Samantha Bee. Dark humor will get you through anything. Sure, it's not polite, but then again neither is Trump.*
*Just because you don't use swearwords doesn't mean you talk or even think with respect. It is the norm for virulently odious autocrats to be polite, sober, neat people rather than the exception... dun dun dun!