LETTER FROM AMERICA: Things fall apart

LETTER FROM AMERICA: Things fall apart
US President, Donald Trump

US President, Donald Trump

IT was the happiest three years of my life. Though sad to leave, my future and dreams were still unfolding, and I was at the same time happy to leave a country which had set the foundation for my dreams.
I left Scotland in 1971.
Coming back in 2017 was a different matter. Everywhere I went there was the familiar dissatisfaction among the generality. I was acutely aware of this feeling in the United States where it had led to the election of mad billionaire Donald Trump as president.
It is a feeling of not belonging. Familiar spiritual landmarks are falling, the centre cannot hold.
“Have you heard of the Marcel Addai case in London? Start there,” my gracious host advised.
Though Marcel’s last name is Igbo, his mother was bi-racial and his granny was English. The government-run Fulsome Housing Complex was regarded as a black area. Marcel had been stabbed in his rear and arms by a rival gang. Nevertheless, he hated the police more than those who proclaimed on YouTube that they will finish the business.
Here are the disturbing issues. Marcel was a loving child to his granny, he excelled at school, and wanted to be a football player. These dreams provoked contempt. The rival gang ran him down, knifed him several times, and when the police came, neighbours prevented the police from applying first aid to save his life.
The fact that all involved are black, and that there are areas where Englishmen fear to walk, is what makes Marcel’s case political. European problems are just as intractable as US problems. Marcel, his mother and granny are as English as anyone. They have never been outside the United Kingdom and yet they are foreigners in the country of their ancestors.
I am writing from West Mount Terrace, a student enclave in the heart of Aberdeen, Scotland. The native Scots have been driven out by landlords and high taxes. Landlords derive higher rentals from the 20 000 students attracted by the four universities and hospitals. Regulations and taxes on automobiles amount to $15 per day, a fee aimed at driving away natives. Students ride bicycles.
As local authorities reduced funding, universities made pacts with foreign governments. Half the graduate students are foreigners. From this, international companies created the myth that foreign expertise is necessary for their survival. The real reason is that work permits are tied to specific employment. Foreigners (beggars) cannot choose their wages.
There were other costs as well. A collection of priceless missionary papers by my mentor Patrick Walls had been misplaced. Old Testament Professor Robert Sheppard, scruffy in green corduroy trousers topped by a mismatched dirty Shetland jacket, was as rude as a Philistine. He did not have an “institutional memory” of missionary studies ever at Aberdeen University.
People that lose their institutional memory also lose their “charisma” — that spirit which unifies a people. The problems of identity, though subtle, are more severe here than in the US.
A tour guide showed us “Tobacco Street” and yet another “Sugar Street” in Glasgow. Ashamed that the massive wealth represented there was derived from African and West Indian slavery, he had problems reconciling his conscience and explaining the meaning to us.
An organised group of Progressives had specific plans to change the heritage tour of Edinburgh’s Princess Street. The grand houses on show were the fruits of large scale looting from India.
While these developments trouble the consciences of the elite, the poor go about their businesses untouched. The Progressives are more concerned with doing penitence before the world than in taking care of their own at home. “Read the Milburn Report,” my host directed. The report reveals that all the economic progress of the Tony Blair years, left the lower 16 percent of the population untouched. In Scotland, 17 percent are estimated to be on government assistance.
The poor see their government placing emphasis on esoteric issues; arresting climate change in India and in South Africa, protecting migrants to the UK, protecting the snow caps at the South Pole; all these are far removed from their daily needs.
In the US, these have been nicknamed Trumpkins, the coal miners, Hilly Billy dirt farmers and dislodged steel workers. These Trumpkins look at the Progressives and find themselves excluded from sharing the American pie. In the US, former president Barack Obama said that these rednecks “cling to guns and religion”.
While the quarrelsome southern Baptists have, thank God, kept religious issues alive and burning in the US, they have at least provided a refugee for the poor whites. In any case the US is favoured by inexhaustible wealth and space. These two are in short supply in the UK.
More to the point, religion has been in decline for the last 50 years. If a School of Divinity does not have “institutional memory” of the great missionaries who left their shores, the religious sensibilities, which have comforted US poor whites, have been driven into obscurity.
Kezia Dudgale picked up a fight over the lack of “inclusive education” at the Catholic St Kentigern’s Academy. With the Scottish Labour Party on her side, she has launched a holy war. Catholics do not cultivate, or give space to gay recruiters in their schools.
It is a litany of provocations like these which drove the US working class to President Trump. Enough is enough.

mufukaken@gmail.com

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