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home : opinion : opinion/editorial August 22, 2017

8/9/2017 4:37:00 PM
Room for a View: Say What?
By Peggy Tarr

“If you ride a lion, consider carefully how you want to get off.” (African proverb*)
I frequently go to the South Branch Evanston Library on Chicago Avenue to use the computers. The computers are adjacent to each other on an elevated counter with stools for users located respectively.

The other week as I sat between a woman from Africa (a library acquaintance) and an Evanston man with whom I was conversing, the woman brought up the subject of Trump. I don’t remember how Trump happened to come up, but the woman said that she liked him because “he does what he says; he does not just talk.” “Say what?” I responded rather loudly, “Do you know what he could do to you? You need to think about how often he changes his mind and then denies what he has said.”
The woman’s comment brought the following Swahili proverb* to mind: “Words without actions are useless.” I would certainly hope that this proverb was not intended to condone/encourage malicious, illegal, bigoted, self-serving, hostile, and contradictory actions.

The woman added that she had a visa/work papers that allowed her to be in the United States. I was too flustered to remember what she said she had, but I asked again, “Do you know what he could do to you?” No reply.

Guess what? I am not an admirer or respecter of Trump as United States President. Say What? I am not an admirer or respecter of Trump as President of the United States. “In civility (Trump) seem’st so empty.” (As You Like It, William Shakespeare, 1564-1616. English poet and dramatist).

“A chameleon may change its colors but never its behavior.” (Tanzanian proverb*)
“A wise man adapts to his surroundings but a fool expects his surroundings to adapt to him.” (South African proverb*) Aptly said.

To change the subject and mitigate my anger, I mentioned to the woman that Youssou N’Dour (a singer from Senegal) was giving a free concert in Chicago on August 10th. Her response was that he “is very rich but uneducated.” Say what? She continued to reprove Youssou by saying, “He is lower class; his mother is lower class; in my country people are lower class or upper class.” Say what? The only logical complaint this woman lodged against Youssou in my opinion was that he did not share his wealth with the needy. You can be sure I will try to check this out.
“Greed can make us do embarrassing things.” (Tanzanian proverb*) Say what? Greed and vanity can make us do embarrassing things. Yes indeed.
*African Wisdom For Life Calendar, compiled by Annetta Miller

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