A Jamaican Opinion on the USA 2016 Presidential Outcome

The 2016 USA presidential events were followed by Jamaicans, more than many Jamaicans followed all the Jamaican elections in their lifetimes. Is that statement worrisome to anyone else?……

American current events are a big deal to us because if the USA sneezes, Jamaica catches the cold (or bronchopneumonia). Literally. We depend on the United States for just about everything: food, clothes, shoes, medicines, foreign exchange, loans, free aid, opinions, you name it. That being said, I do understand the interest. The newly inaugurated president led a campaign endorsing racism and xenophobia. With Jamaica’s racial composition of 91% Black, and our largest migration number annually being to the United States, the potential worsening of racial tensions and impending deportations should he enact his campaign policies, are enough to frighten us.

What I cannot understand, however, are the number of Jamaicans shocked at or becoming emotional about the outcome. United States’ citizens are mounting protests, having record-number turnout at women’s marches and low inauguration support. This implies some kind of disagreement with a Trump presidency. If this is so, why didn’t the Americans speak before? Did they think someone else would have voted Clinton? Did they think “Chu, he could never win,” and turn off their TVs, leaving franchise in the hands of those who wanted him to win? However, the Jamaicans upset about the outcome are most likely the same ones who would allow him to win, had we been able to cast our ballot and choose another victor. Trump, if nominated for Prime Minister of Jamaica, would have WON. Let it sink in.

That prevailing attitude of “I don’t care” would have allowed him to win locally, with our 47.72% 2016 election voter turnout, the lowest percentage turnout in Jamaica’s history (besides 1983…which cannot count for obvious reasons, contested by one political party). That statistic gets worse when you consider the number of adults even enumerated. 🤔 Therefore, Jamaicans who are howling, please hush and exercise your franchise when Jamaica goes to the polls at the next constitutionally due general election in 2021. Just like in America, there was and always is a lesser of 2 evils. What we should howl at instead is for change in the voting system to allow each person’s vote a chance to decide who wins the race. We shouldn’t cry over poor decisions and spilt milk.

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Sidenote: My debut post in this category… whoopee!!

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