A Diaspora Perspective: Miami Landing-Travelers Nervous!
One might think that President Trump’s executive orders are clear but it seems his English language does not conform to the street language. Coming from Kenya after Trumps win was just a routine. Arriving at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is normal. The definition of normal is of course relative: Nothing in Kenya is normal. At the new and smooth security gate passengers get out of the car and walk through a security screening. This is not a bad idea, but the National Youth Service young people need better training on searching the cars!
At the airport, it is the same friendly Kenyan routine through immigration into the airport waiting area. The area is spacious and clean and large enough for people to sit around Nairobi Java restaurant while others meander aimlessly waiting to catch a plane to whatever. The efforts of the state to improve the airport is welcome and shows a government that is working despite of the ‘pang’ of corruption that looms around many government agencies.
After the long flight through Europe, Miami looks good from the air. The orderly layout of the roads network and the beautiful homes with swimming pools in their back yards tells you this is the place to vacation. This is encouraging especially after flying from Zurich and looking down the window to see empty streets and white roofs! I have never been a fan of snow skiing. I lived in Chicago long enough to not enjoy any weather below 70 degrees. I believe there is a reason why the Promised Land is in the desert where it is hot. The Garden of Eden could not have been in Iceland!
Arriving at Miami international airport is normal with the same American order and sense of culture. I lined up with regular Americans to go through the now automated system that declares “first world” to us who love order. However, one could see the doom and gloom faces on the travelers. It seems to me that Trump’s America has communicated a sense of concern even in the eyes of the Europeans. It was just gloom to come through the Miami International airport. Whether this was because of the long Atlantic flights or the weather, it was not as loudy as it was when I travelled during Obama’s time.
This of course begs the question given that Trumps order is very specific about whose fate is in the dark. As a Kenyan, I was not worried. I do not believe Kenyans are targeted by Trump’s orders. For goodness sake we are the most peaceful people in the world. Of course after Barack Obama became president, I travelled through Miami from Mexico City, Mexico and the immigration official was so excited to see a Kenyan passport. However by the end of his presidency, the love had gone and the immigration officer in Chicago back in 2014 was not very friendly.
Human government has been there since Genesis. God commissioned the government of men by giving man authority over his creation. “Be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth.” Genesis 1,2. There have always been consequences to election decisions. People who truly believe there should be extreme vetting of people entering the United States elected President Trump: That is their right. However there are those who believe that President Trump is a bully and prideful man after the order of Nebuchadnezzar!
On this they are wrong. President Trump may be presenting a face of toughness, but this in no way cannot be compared to Nebuchadnezzar. There is a difference between pride and hubris. Pride is what Kenyans feel when we enter the country from a foreign trip. That feeling that I belong here and this is my home. It is the same feeling Americans have when they mount a flag outside their homes on Veteran’s day. It is the pride all human beings must have in order to have a country.
Hubris is what destroyed Nebuchadnezzar. It is the idea that given one’s political power, the person is elevated to Divinity. It is this hubris that made Adolf Hitler claim the right to eliminate certain human beings. This is not what Donald Trump represents. In fact, his inauguration represented the best platform of evangelism ever! He demonstrated absolute submission to the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Ishmael! This proclamation is what we who grew up in mission stations expect from the land that brought the gospel of Christ to us.
But in presenting God the father of the Lord Jesus Christ as the foundational principle of Americanism, Trump’s presidency must also remember the least of these. It must also present a message of Grace so that people are not afraid. It is true that people are afraid. At the counter at Miami international car rental desk, a Jamaican clerk was concerned. “How was immigration?” He enquired from me. “Not bad.” I answered. “I am Jamaican and I am worried.” He said in a sad tone!
While I am empathetic to his concerns and feel sorry for those whose countries have been targeted by the new political reality, I believe that we all must create environments within our countries that allow us to be so prideful, that our destiny will not be eliminated by other countries politics. I felt proud however that the old gentleman at the Immigration desk, upon looking at my Kenyan passport remarked, “I spent a week in Kenya on safari, a beautiful country and people. Welcome back to the US.” Even with the new American policies, Najivunia Kuwa na Kenyan Pass Port!
Teddy Njoroge Kamau (PhD)
Bibilia Broadcasting Network, BBN TV Kenya
Diaspora Messenger Senior Columnist