On witnessing Trump’s election as an international student

The flag of Uganda

copy-of-img_0399pHenry Lubega

Staff photojournalist


The First Amendment of the United States grants freedom of speech and freedom of expression without fear of being detained for commenting on politically sensitive issues.  This is not always the case in my motherland of Uganda. I have been living in the U.S. for almost a year, having flown in on  December 17, 2015 (I have been counting the days to mark my anniversary). I am an international student on an F1 visa (for non-immigrant students) who came to participate in the American education system.

During my stay I have come to appreciate the fact that of all places I landed in Kansas — Lawrence to be exact. I have had the greatest experiences with the college and The Campus Ledger. Everything has been considerably great except for the political developments which  greatly affected me both emotionally and psychologically, with the latest being the announcement of Trump winning the presidential election.  If I was one of the people who voted for Hillary, I am pretty sure I would be part of the hundreds chanting “not my president” in the streets.

I know you are wondering how this affects me as an international student, an alien in this land who’s far away from home and ineligible to vote. Seeing how the “silent majority” turned out to vote in huge numbers, allowing Trump to win Kansas and other states makes me feel uncomfortable with the people surrounding me (apart from people I know who are grieving for  Hillary Clinton’s loss). Trump won Kansas with 57%, followed by Clinton with 36% of the vote. The fact that voters knew exactly what it would mean to put Donald Trump in the Oval Office, that he was endorsed by the KKK, that he doesn’t respect women and above all, failed to speak out against violence and acts of racism.

I would love to learn and finish my academic pursuit, earn a Master’s  degree and then head back home to do my country a service. However, my hope is shrinking. I am worried and feel insecure. In Uganda, we had a dictator named Idi Amin. He had similar points of view just like the president-elect and I can tell you, people like that are unpredictable. It took only one day for Idi Amin to go to bed and wake up with a vision of closing Uganda’s borders to Asians, issuing an ultimatum of 24 hours for all of them to flee the country. Most of the citizens had been born in Uganda during the construction of the Uganda railway, an express line that was built earlier during the colonial era. Their parents and grandparents had been brought to the country as cheap manual labor to construct the rail expressway and later settled in the region. As a result of the ultimatum and forceful exit out of Uganda, many of these innocent citizens lost their lives and faced brutality caused by ignorant Ugandans vandalizing and looting their property. The devastation that came up with the abrupt developments by the Ugandan government on Indians resulted in numerous cases of suicides as many lost hope.

I was born black and I am proud of that. I love people regardless of color and to my luck, have never been treated poorly. That, however, does not comfort me anymore. I worry for the future. As safe as I might be, given the fact that I am a legal alien in the U.S., I worry for all undocumented immigrants,  for their future and families that may be torn apart. Nor am I sure I will be able to survive the hatred that comes from white nationalists. I was glad to come to the U.S., the land of opportunity where anything can happen (like Trump becoming president) but I am loathing the feeling in the air, the disunity in America and the preaching of hatred. Where is the love? When are we ever going to wake up from the nightmares of hate?


  1. Thank you so much for the response. It has taken me long to respond. I was hoping to learn something new and maybe get back to the message more informed. I admit how little I know of the American political system. As a matter of fact, I know nothing.
    I have to add a note here. I don’t support any group in this country. As a matter of fact, I don’t even know the name of the party the president elect represents. My ideas were based on a person(now president elect) who reminded me much of a despot that once ruled my country.

  2. The easiest thing to say would be if you don’t like things then leave by all means but that would be too easy. You need to learn what America is really all about and stop listening to your handlers so much. Donald Trump is not threatening anyone. Donald Trump was elected to enforce that laws of the land. Laws that Barack Obama could have changed if he had wanted to his first two years in office. Obama had complete control of the government but did very little with that power. Blame Obama for not making immigration a priority or maybe Obama just wanted to keep that wedge issue out there politically. Obama needed people to live in fear of deportation so he didn’t even attempt to change the laws. We have sanctuary cities (Lawrence is one) where the local officials refuse to obey the laws on the books. Once again, they don’t change the laws, they just pick and choose which ones that they will obey. Kind of like a third world country with a despot like Idi Amin.
    The political left has for many years used the same template to attack republican candidates; he (or she) is stupid, out of touch, racist, sexist, and homophobic. It doesn’t matter if the republican is gay (they are a self hating gay person), is black (Michael Steele was called an Oreo), is married to someone other than white (Phil Graham and Mitch McConnell both have Asian wives and had to put with “me so horny” comments), or is a woman. The comments are lies and believe them at your own peril. The democratic party going back to before the Civil War (in this country) have been the party of slavery, oppression, and segregation. They separated from the Union, fought a war with a constitution that enshrined slavery, created the Jim Crow laws, and enforced race codes throughout the south. Even their enlightened members like Bill Clinton have a racial past. His mentor was J. William Fulbright who tried to stop the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Clinton spoke the eulogy for Orval Faubus who famously stood in the doorway of Little Rock schools and refused black children the right to enter. Hillary even gave glowing reviews to former KKK member Richard Byrd (d) when she was in the senate.
    Trump has not shown any propensity to write his own laws as you needlessly fear. He is going to enforce the laws on the books, the laws that he was elected to enforce. So if you can’t accept that laws mean things then maybe you should look for somewhere else to live and educate yourself. I hear that Cuba is nice this time of year.
    Nope, better you stay here and really learn what this country is about.

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