ANTI-TRUMP IS CITIZENSHIP ENVY/

Mr. Turnbull had predicted evil consequences,…and was now doing the best in his power to bring about the verification of his own prophecies.”

                                       Anthony Trollope

In 2003, the eminent historian and author, Paul Johnson, wrote an article that appeared in Forbes magazine titled “Anti-Americanism is Racist Envy.” Johnson complained of the disease that affects intellectuals when the question of American democracy comes up. This intellectual disease—which he ascribed mostly to European intellectuals—like other diseases may not be logical nor rational but have some underlying symptoms. The tripartite symptoms include, (1) a contempt for democracy that can be said to be a product of supercilious mindset. This intellectuals Johnson says find the thoroughness of the campaigns, the pervasiveness of the media and daily reporting of the opinion polls embittering. (2) a cultural racism that is borne out of ignorance. The elites—especially European elites—know very little about U.S history or culture. Their knowledge of America is mostly gotten from Hollywood, TV Soaps like Dallas and fiction. This cultural racism was particular directed at the supposedly “know-nothing” President George W. Bush and his “gung ho” Texas background. (3) an outlook that sees Americans as sub-civilized mass whose function is to be obedient consumers in a system run by big business.

In the just concluded American Presidential election, this intellectual disease managed to cross the Sahara Desert and like the dreaded Ebola has affected the Nigerian intellectuals (Soyinka, Abati etc) and not stopping at that crossed over to the evangelicals. Thus Wole Soyinka the Nigerian Nobel laureate was displaying a variant of that disease that I tag citizenship envy when he proclaimed to the whole world that he will tear his green card if Donald Trump wins. The issue is that Soyinka was envying the American citizen whose vote could make a difference. His opinion—perhaps a learned one, could not in practical terms affect the vote count either way. He is indeed affected by the intellectual disease of thinking that his ability to string words together translates into a superior knowledge of what is good for the American people. In earnest it is a lip service to democracy. He is in the category of what Johnson refers to as “those who cannot openly admit that an entire people—especially one comprising nearly 300 million [for 300 million insert the number that voted for Trump] who enjoy all freedoms—can be mistaken. But in their hearts these intellectuals do not accept the principle of one person one vote. They scornfully, if privately, reject the notion that a farmer in Kansas, a miner in Pennsylvania or an auto assembler in Michigan can carry as much social and moral weight as they do.”

In a stunning reality check by the Trump card, a cognitive dissonance has set in in Soyinka’s mind and he has shifted the tearing to the swearing date. He thinks that by any stretch of his imagination that January 17 will not come or perhaps that America is Nigeria where litigations often takes twists and turns and by a judicial fiat a winner turns out to become the loser. Some of his followers especially Pius Adesanmi and Jay Oguntuwase are drumming it into our ears that there is nothing special about giving up the green card, even when the deed—in the case of Pius—is predicated on an incipient citizenship of a border country , while Jay says it is America that needs Soyinka. One start wondering why America needs Soyinka, perhaps they are lacking in Nobel laureates! These followers miss the point. The point is simply and squarely that of citizenship envy.

Soyinka’s evangelical counterpart, on the other hand, who can best be described by one of the characters of his works “Brother Jero” compounds his trial by offering to the world a gratuitous prophecy. His divine cocksureness was not content with predicting the winning party but went a step further in analyzing the would-be president and her future travails. In fact many will try to rock her boat. Well her boat they did rock by pushing her backside out of the seat of government! This man of God who sails on the high tide of prophecy found himself scampering when hurricane Trump came lashing. In effect, T.B Joshua who couldn’t reenact Gilgag and Aijalon wished that our eyes did not behold his face book post. The genie was out of the bottle and the read and seen eyes could not be gagged.

However, the problem was not Joshua’s defeat by the eyes, but it speaks of the same citizenship envy. Joshua was in fact envying Saeed Abedini who claimed to have seen a vision of a Trump presidency in his Iranian prison. Abedini is an American citizen and did not rest on his vision but went out to vote for Trump. He can be said to have a paraclete. On the other hand, Joshua’s divine afflatus had nowhere to perch but only hovered in the blogosphere.

In the end, the hard lesson for these Nigerians is to avoid opinion polls. For Soyinka specifically, if the American presidential election has taught him anything, it is that the time is ripe to quit the metaphoric Naija Bet and stop whining. Making a post-electoral comment of bunker mentality does not help matters. By the way he ought to be reminded that Melania is from Slovenia and during the victory speech, she was with Ivanka! He should get a beer and avoid fraying his nerves. For T.B Joshua, it is time to quit face book and read real books. For a start I recommend the Man Booker prize winning book—THINGS FALL APART, perhaps he can learn a lesson in international relations and the prelude to self-destruction.