CROWN HEIGHTS – When my parents arrived in the United States having fled war-torn Uganda, they never imagined the country they would risk life and limb for would descend into this, a backward sliding dystopia. Although President Trump’s election was a truly shocking moment for them, the last few weeks have challenged their notion that America, albeit imperfect, was always a nation striving to be “a more perfect union.”
My family is not alone in their sentiment. To any Brooklynite with a conscience or a pulse, it has been truly head spinning to watch our national discourse. Our country’s politics has sent us into an emotional seesaw ranging from the bizarre to heartbreaking.
In a truly weird visit to the Oval Office, the rapper Kanye West incoherently ranted his undying love for President Trump. Next, we saw the United States walk away from upholding fundamental norms by refusing to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for the brutal murder of the dissident, Jamal Khashoggi. Also, in a last ditch effort to keep Republicans in control of Congress, the President is stoking the most virulent elements of American life to motivate his base to vote this upcoming Tuesday with his proclamation to end the constitutionally guaranteed birthright citizenship by executive order.
I believe the latter has proven to be the most pernicious to our politics. There can be no doubt that Mr. Trump’s behavior is adding gasoline to the already five-alarm fire that is American politics. It is hard to imagine that the pipe bombs sent to those critical of President Trump, the killing of two African-Americans in Kentucky, or the horrific shooting of parishioners at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh were unrelated to the worsening of our political dialogue.
As we approach next week’s election, there is more at stake than just which party controls the Congress. What we are debating is whether the United States will continue to be a country that seeks to be a better version of its former self. If Mr. Trump’s allies continue to control the Congress, folks like my parents will find themselves not living their version of the American dream, but a truly un-American nightmare.
“In The Trenches” is a bi-weekly column by Adem Bunkeddeko on politics, policy, culture, and occasionally – the random. A Crown Heights perspective. Opinions are those of the author.