Earlier during the U.S. primary elections, a prelude to the general election process, I said that with Donald Trump, the U.S. may be experiencing the bitter taste of its own democracy medicine. As you may know, with that democracy comes freedom of expression, freedom to choice, assembly, all ingredients that make for a free society.
Trump, the Republican candidate for the American presidency, has not only been shunned by the so-called establishment of his party, he succeeded in turning American politics upside-down. This phenomenon has been much food for thought and discussion on the internet.
These ingredients of a democratic society, are all good, but when mixed with other factors can become toxic, potent and explosive. On the left, right and center of American politics these days, there is agreement that this theory is true. See: Yes, American Democracy Could Break Down
With the candidate continuing to chip away at a core of American exceptionalism, a lot of people in the African continent, Nigerians especially, are reportedly now making jokes about what they are seeing and hearing. According to National Public Radio (NPR), many are joking about harsh sanctions which they say may need to be meted against the U.S. if the election is not free and fair.
“Africans, predominantly from Nigeria, have gleefully jumped in on social media, telling Americans to get their electoral house in order or face the consequences,“ writes NPR’s Greg Myre.
I went out digging to see what else may be going on. I found some interesting reporting on the subject. Check out the reporting below this post.
Trump has said the system, including the electoral process is rigged. He has called for election monitors. The candidate has stated that he may not accept the results because he thinks it is fraudulent.
Whether you accept this notion of a rigged system or not, it is now fodder for plenty of jokes from those who have often been the focus of rigged elections: Africans nations.
But let’s keep in mind that “rigged elections” in African countries in the modern era remains far and in between. In other words, we should not see a rigged electoral system in one African nation as representative of the entire continent. This is an entirely different discussion for another day.
In any case, jokes aside, in several instances the U.S. has meted harsh sanctions against African nations for elections that were considered not free and fair. Case in point: Zimbabwe. The country continues to reel from sanctions the U.S. imposed after the 2003 election which the opposition claimed were fraudulent.
Not only has U.S. officials been sent in as monitors and observers during elections, some nations have been threatened if the elections are not done according to international standards. But whose international standards are these, one might ask.
Some of these nations have been called names, labelled as backward, undemocratic, authoritarian and dictatorial.
It’s not just ironical that Nigerians are now making jokes about what they see happening in the Trump era, whether real, fictional, or imaginary, they believe it’s time for them to take action against America.
With Trump, U.S. Savoring Bitter Pill of Its Own Democracy
-African Insider/ Oct. 26
BBC News / Oct. 26
-Reuters/ Oct. 26
-Washington Post/ Oct. 18
-NPR News/ Oct. 18