A presidential inauguration from Kenya

What happened and what I fear happening
Yesterday, while I was with students in Kenya, a potential fascist dictator was inaugurated as the president of the United States of the America.  
A little over a week ago, my students, in preparation for coming to Kenya, engaged in conversation about what it means to be American, because, after all, how can you ask someone about their own national identity if you haven’t thought of your own.  We watched several videos of Americans speaking to what makes an American.  They spoke of freedom, resolve, the American dream, citizenship as a birthright, environmentalism (which was surprising to many of us), innovation, collaboration, strong communities, and other things.  In the class, we read a few articles and discussed them.  Yesterday, at a Coffee Bar program, a fantastic program at the Youth Hub that brings together youth to talk about important issues, the youth there wanted to talk about the differences between Kenya and the US in respect to youth participation in government, the differences in governmental systems, access to voting, the intricacies of the Electoral College.  In conversation before the Coffee Bar, one of the men there, Dennis, asked how we could let this happen, elect a leader like our, now, current president.  He said, we had shot ourselves in the foot … and we have.  
I am in Kenya, looking back at my country’s leadership in disgust … I don’t look at my people that way, though I am concerned.  

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I’ve lately been reading Parable of the Talents, by Octavia Butler.  I read it years ago, but it seemed appropriate to read it again.  “Make America Great Again” was a slogan there of the man elected president of the United States, too, and around him there was tumult, fires, the burning of people who were not Christian enough.  This is what I fear for my country, and I think on my work as poet and educator as more activism and resistance.  I also selfishly want to survive, and so I think of leaving my country more often than not these days, though I know no place is safe from what I fear.    

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