Inauguration 2017: just treat it like any ordinary day

It would have been easy to start today’s post with some type of apocalyptic joke, pretending that this is the last time I’ll ever be able to speak with you all.

Because by this time tomorrow, Trump will have clamped down on freedom of speech and dissidents would be targeted and jailed, forcing me to flee and live in a cave somewhere.

Meanwhile, his tyranny would lead to an uprising from his opponents and full-out civil war.

Trump, with his hands now on the nuclear codes, would threaten extinction unless he received full obedience from the American people.

One thing leads to another, and next thing you know, we’re North Korea.

Clearly, I’ve read too much apocalyptic literature in my life.

But as much as people like to act as if Trump will bring about the literal End of Days … he will not. The sun will still rise tomorrow and we’ll all go to work like any other Friday. Just when we go to sleep at the end of the day, we’ll have a different president.

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The divisiveness that reared its ugly head during the election will likely remain, and Trump will continue to make headlines of the likes that we’ve never seen before from an American president. But life will go on, and we can only hope that we continue to converse with one another in a thoughtful and united way, and that we learn our lesson moving forward.

In the grand scheme of things, Trump’s reign as president will simply be a blip on the radar in terms of American history. Even if we do need to live through it the next four years.

To quote Bette Davis is the classic 1960s film All About Eve, “Fasten your seat belts. it’s going to be a bumpy night.” Except in this instances, it will be a bumpy 1,461 nights. *Shudders*

So let’s save the dramatics and treat this blog post like it’s any normal day. What’s going on in the news?

It was pretty anticlimactic, but the international search for Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 was officially called off after three years on Tuesday. Unless new evidence surfaces, we may never locate it and find out what actually happened to the plane, which disappeared after it veered off course for several hours on March 8, 2014 and presumably crashed into the Indian Ocean.

The lack of interest in this story exemplifies people’s short attention spans. Most of the world was captivated by this missing flight three years ago, and with the announcement of the search’s end, this news is being less discussed than Wednesday night’s People’s Choice Awards.

Also, speaking of Trump, remember when he pledged to purge America of misbehaving unauthorized Mexicans?

Well, it turns out we’re doing the exact opposite and bringing one back in.

El Chapo, the deadly drug lord with the adorable name who made two Houdini-like escapes from high-security Mexican prisons, will be extradited to the United States, and face trial here.

Welcome to America, El Chapo. You’ve come at just the right time. We have a new president who will just love you.

And with that, my last post in the Obama era comes to an end.

I’ll see you all on the other side.

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Inauguration 2017: at least we’re not The Gambia

If it wasn’t for Nelson Mandela, the Ebola Virus and elephants, 95% of Americans probably would know almost nothing about Africa.

For example, I’d fathom to guess that the average American does not realize that nearly half of Africans are Muslim.

Or that the movie Casablanca takes place in Africa.

Or that the Southern tip of Spain is less than eight nautical miles away from mainland Africa.

The difference between the United States and Africa is stark, from the people, to the culture, to the living conditions. When you look at the World Health organization’s 2015 rankings of countries by life expectancy, all but six of the bottom 50 countries are in Africa.

That’s stunning.

And in an America that’s growing ever more concerned with itself, and not countries from afar, it’s no surprise how poorly educated we are on our African brethren.

Though, we do have a prominent South African in Trevor Noah hosting the prime time “Daily Show” to give us a little insight into African happenings. But even those are few and far between.

Unfortunately, when we do hear about news in Africa, it’s usually not good. Like the migrant crisis. Or an attempted uprising in the Ivory Coast.

Or, in today’s news, the ousted president in The Gambia refusing to cede power.

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For 90 percent of the people reading this, congratulations, you’ve just learned a new country! The Gambia sits in northwest Africa, completely surrounded by Senegal and the Atlantic Ocean.

Its president for the last 22 years, Yahya Jummah, has been accused of humans rights violations including the jailing and murder of political opponents, and once said he found a cure for AIDS consisting of herbal paste and a banana. He’s also claimed he’d lead The Gambia for billions of years.

Well, last month, he lost an election. And even though he initially said he’d accept the election results, he’s apparently changed his mind.

And now, neighboring African nations are moving to intervene, potentially setting the stage for a violent conflict, and causing tens of thousands of Gambians to flee the country.

On the campaign trail, Donald Trump compared America to a “third world country.” No Mr. Trump, this is what a third world country looks like. And ironically, this is probably similar to what he might have done had he lost this election.

We change presidents on Friday.It’s going to be a tough day for a lot of people.

But amid all of the contention and controversy this past year, we are still witnessing our country’s most storied tradition: a peaceful transition of power.

We take a lot of things for granted living in America. And though a lot of people are extremely unhappy with the results of the election on Nov. 8, the fundamental layers of our democracy remain as strong as ever.

A lot of the credit belongs to Barack Obama, who is handling the transition with class, even if he’s had quite a busy last few days cementing his legacy with pardons, commutations, troop deployments to Eastern Europe and Guantanamo Bay prisoner transfers.

We have a lot of things to worry about in our lives. And watching Donald Trump being sworn in on Friday won’t make life much easier.

But knowing that the stability of our political process is not one of those things is a nice thought. Because in many places in Africa, like The Gambia, they don’t get to experience that.

So my liberal friends, toughen up. You’re unhappy, we get it. I’m there with you, too.

But still try to realize on Friday that we live in the best country in the world, and that’s not changing anytime soon.

And if you can’t do that, well, it’ll be a Friday, so just go to a bar after work and get wasted.

Cheers.