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Essay

The president-elect

By David Yenches

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After spending 40 years in Asia, 31 of them in Tokyo, and having returned to the U.S. in January, I voted for the first time in this country for president in October. Washington state, where I live now, is a “blue” state, meaning it traditionally favors candidates from the Democratic Party, not a “red” state, which traditionally favors Republican Party candidates.

My American wife, her mother in Missouri, and my sister near Boston were all shocked by the result of the presidential election, with the result going to Donald Trump.

Here’s what a former Japanese colleague in Tokyo emailed me:

“A biiiiiiig surprise today, wasn’t it? It was much more shocking than Brexit ... I’m curious how the American people really feel about Trump being the president. I couldn’t believe the result, and hope this won’t cause any adverse effect in any way.”

But like the British national referendum in June, in which voters chose to leave the European Union, the U.S. election was a democratic process, for good or bad.

My sister, who lives near Boston, Massachusetts, emailed:

“How are you doing? The current political situation is so scary! How are you coping? Not swimming to Canada?”

I replied to her that if we tried to swim to Canada, we would die of hypothermia because the water is too cold. I told her about a funny story I read. A satirical Canadian radio program offered to take Americans across the countries’ land border near Idaho to Canada for US$30,000 (yen3.4 million) per person. That might be a good deal to buy into Canada’s health care system. In the U.S., Trump wants to repeal Obamacare, President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.

My Japanese boss for many years in Tokyo, a super translator and interpreter, once asked me why Americans were the only OECD country with no national health care. I couldn’t give an answer …

Another acquaintance emailed me and said the situation with Trump was “uber scary.” Most people think “uber” is a ride-hailing app, but I’m old enough to remember that the German word means “over,” and was used by Adolph Hitler to describe the Ubermensch, or “superior people” of the Aryan race.

Those are some comments from Japanese and American people I know. But what do I think about President-elect Donald Trump? I think we should be afraid.

He has no government experience, his closest advisors seem to be part of the “alt-right” and he has business connections in many countries that will put U.S. national interests in jeopardy. And his hand will be a moment away from “the biscuit,” the code card that can launch nuclear missiles.

ドナルド・トランプ次期米大統領

40年間アメリカから離れていた筆者は、今回初めて大統領選に投票した。衝撃的な結果に、筆者の家族や知人たちは動揺を隠せない様子のようだ。トランプ次期大統領について筆者の考えは?

The Japan Times ST: December 16, 2016

The Japan Times ST 読者アンケート

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