The phone woke me around four or a little before. “Jimmy! Jimmy! Why Trump still president?!”
It was English but I was half asleep and the intonation was distinctly Swahili.
‘Winston, ni wewe?’ I muttered into an old remote phone that was 20 years old and very closed to being crushed in my hand.
“Ye-ah-ss! It IS me! Why Trump still your president Jimmy?!”
‘Saa Kumi bwana,’ I pleaded but he rebuked me that on safari I often wake at 4 a.m. to get ready for the early morning game drive. Which isn’t true. I get up at five. I hung up and had about four hours to figure out why Trump was still our president.
So I didn’t go back to sleep. When you have close relationships – relationships that over time verged on life-saving – but between people who speak different languages an amazingly efficient thought process often develops. You don’t have to talk so much. Unfettered ideas are exchanged with fewer qualifications, honing one’s beliefs.
Trump is still our president because that’s what the constitution says. Because he remains alive. Because a non-constitutional determination was made in contemporary times that the President cannot be prosecuted while in office. Because mechanisms in the constitution for removing him have not been implemented.
But … why?
Because too many people in power are afraid of him.
Because he’s a mafia boss. The vast majority of Republicans depend on his patronage. Biden depends on many Republicans for his “agenda” and to affirm his cabinet. If I want a shot soon to protect me from covid I need that “agenda” and cabinet. The backwards string of dominoes is never-ending. If God wants a pretty paradise, it’s up to Trump.
I could hear Winston laughing. So with another cup of Kenyan tea and some stale Christmas bread I started over.
Didn’t have to think much.
Trump is still President because we’re weak of morals and laden with indecision. Impossible with my limited fluency to translate that into Swahili.
“Kwasabu, Winston, sisi ni dhaifu. Sisi ni choka.” (Because we’re weak, tired.)
There was a very long transatlantic silence. Then, “Pole, bwana.”