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Donkey power

Manjula Padmanabhan | Updated on January 17, 2018 Published on July 29, 2016

Manjula

All last week, and continuing into this week, the only topic of conversation in our house is politics. Last week it was the Republican National Convention and this week it’s the Democrats’ turn. “You’re only interested in gender!” thunders Bins. “Your support of Hysterical Hillary is for the wrong reasons!!”

“No!” I thunder back. “It’s because the alternative to Hillary is the Trump of Doom!” Neither of us is a citizen, so neither of us will be voting in the upcoming election, in November this year. Nevertheless, we can’t avoid being caught up in the monumental battle raging around us. Passions are running high. Jiggs, the Indian pizza delivery guy next door, says he’s voting Republican. Why? “Because that’s how all Indian-origin people vote,” he says. “We like strength. We like power. That’s what Mr Trump means to us. He is fighting Muslims! That’s what we like.”

I want to slap Jiggs. “Don’t be ridiculous! Trump can’t see the difference between you and any other coloured immigrants! He hates us all!” But Jiggs’s girlfriend Ding-Dong sides with him. “These Democrats are just lying hypocrites,” she says. “Instead of fighting terrorists and locking up illegal immigrants, they’re whining about human rights while killing the unborn!” Bins jumps up. He can’t stand the pro-life arguments. “You’re crazy!” he says, tapping the side of his forehead. “You people never understand — abortion rights are about giving ladies the freedom to CHOOSE! Having a gun doesn’t mean you MUST shoot someone, yes? So: having the choice of abortion doesn’t mean you MUST terminate!”

Jiggs frowns. “So ...you are a Democrat even though you like Trump?” Bins snarls, with his hands in the air, “OF COURSE I am a Democrat, you pumpkin! I am FRENCH! And I hate Trump.” Jiggs says, “But just now you said –” “Yes, yes, I don’t like the lady,” says Bins in a calmer tone now. “How can I? She looks smug. She tells lies. She wears pant-suits.” He pauses, tugging at his scraggly moustache. “And she reminds me of my mother. That’s the real reason everyone dislikes her, no? She is the Mum that we all want to run away from! Even though we know she is right! For that alone we hate her.”

Ding-Dong shrugs and says, “So cool. Go vote for her. Why tell us what we should do?” Bins shakes his head. “See: we belong to other countries. Older countries. We know what terrible chaos bad leaders can cause. You think, ‘Oh even if Trump is bad, so what? He’ll only last four years! We’ll get over it!’ But you are wrong. In five minutes a bad leader can destroy a hundred villages. Or blow up the world.”

Jiggs says, “No, ya’ – it takes longer to destroy a village.” Ding-Dong says, “Americans are not so weak! When we don’t like our leaders, we change them –!” Then she leans forward. “Why d’you care so much, anyway? It’s not your country!” Bins says, “Because what happens in America, echoes around the world.” He shrugs. “So I have to like Hillary! I have to like her pant-suits! Because I care about the world.”

Manjula Padmanabhan, author and artist, writes of her life in the fictional town of Elsewhere in this weekly column

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Published on July 29, 2016
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