AS TOLD TO BC PIRES
My name is Ato Boldon and I hope Donald Trump loses the American election tomorrow.
I have not been in Trinidad since 2018, the longest I’ve not been home in my life!
I couldn’t go in 2019 because of career stuff. And then the borders closed in March.
Going home is a kind of a reset for my spirit. Not being able to do that, not to see my dad, is a source of real frustration.
I’s take stick for not sounding American, although I’ve lived there for 33 years now.
But that kinda runs off my back. Because the voice in my head is
I’m from Santa Cruz but, from age 14, I’ve lived mainly in the US.
Since 2008, I’ve been in Florida. Which is a hard place to be now.
The racial strife, the madness in the USA, has been unlike any other time in my adult life.
Florida in particular, a very red, very pro-Trump state, embodies a lot of the worst of America.
The GOP has put power over principle. Trump has not faced a single consequence for anything he has said or done.
Is like you have this dog, you know the dog bad, but you still feed him raw meat and train him up (to be aggressive).
He kill the cat and you go, “Well, is all right, that’s nature.”
He kill the neighbour dog and you go, “Well, that’s territorial, give him a chance.”
And then one day, you go to take off his chain – and he bites you!
And that is Trump! A rabid dog who has roamed unchecked for years, biting everybody!
If it was okay when he was biting everybody else, don’t complain now he biting you. Because you shoulda put a check on that dog, you shoulda give him some lash, over the past four years. That dog don’t know no boundaries! Of course he biting who he want.
I have this life where the view is always changing and I’m always in something I’m deeply passionate about – TV, Olympics, coaching track and field – and that became my “normal.”
And I woke up one day and it was all taken away, everything, at the same time. Like, “I have nothing to do!”
But, for somebody like me, quarantine was the best thing that could happen. You have to rearrange your life.
It made me go through huge bouts of depression. Some days, I got out of bed at six o’clock in the evening. What I getting up for? For what?
BC Pires reminds me people might think I have the perfect life but I tell people all the time, this social media-era, everybody happy – people only put the good stuff on social media. That Facebook, Instagram and Twitter life is the sanitised version.
Behind that is a lot of dark stuff you don’t see. That’s why you see the suicide rate rising.
As an athlete, an analyst, and somebody who lived through the doping era, I was very anti-Lance Armstrong.
Trinis have a very good sense of when something is not authentic, when, as we say, “Is a smartman!” From the time I saw Lance Armstrong, I knew he was smartman.
Cycling was so full of drugs. I told people, “It’s only a matter of time before Lance Armstrong gets caught!”
And that is exactly the same way I saw Trump: for exactly what he is.
I don’t care if you support Trump. But don’t insult my intelligence by pretending not to understand why I am against Trump in every way, shape and form.
I’ve gone back and forth between thinking Trump will pull out a narrow electoral-college victory on election night or lose bigger than everyone is thinking, a humiliating defeat.
People are gun-shy now because the polls were wrong in 2016.
But the polls being wrong twice in 100 times doesn’t mean the other 98 times weren’t right!
People who know way more than me about these things say it is unlikely the election will be decided on election night.
But I think there is a great likelihood of a Biden landslide.
Even with a Biden electoral college victory on election night, the Right is going to try to push it to the Supreme Court, where it will look a lot like Bush v Gore 2000.
I’ve already prepared myself mentally for a Trump win.
Because four years ago, I did not think we’d be here. and yet here we are.
I have a contingency plan to get out of Florida for November, if there are court cases raging and people protesting on the street.
Let me put my worry this way: I am 47. All my life, I have been left-leaning, very strongly anti-gun. Guns scare me. I have never been comfortable around them!
And this year, I went and bought a firearm.
If I am going to live in this state in the current climate, I have to be at least proactive. I have to able to return fire.
I never understood people who say, “America, love it or leave it!” You wouldn’t do that with your wife!
I’ve lived in and loved America since I was 14.
But the same way I am with Trinidad, if you love something, you’re supposed to call it out for its failings.
The real danger is, there is another side that believes that Democrats are running a child sex ring out of a pizza parlour, drinking their blood.
They have the same fear we describe about a Trump victory about a Biden win. They see it as their duty to prevent a Jamaican Indian woman, who name they can’t even pronounce good, from being a heartbeat away from the presidency of an old, demented child molester.
People believe in Trump the same way people believe in a cult: with absolute suspension of intelligence.
It’s almost like men getting on a plane to carry out this act directed by their god. At that level of depravity, a man will go into Times Square and detonate a bomb. Because he tell heself he doing it for the betterment of his country!
I came to America and I watch people and they ‘fraid Muslim and ‘fraid Indian and ‘fraid Mexican – and I said, thank God I grew up in a country where a hijab or a sari don’t scare anybody.
We are the most tolerant people ev-er!
Is Muslim day today? We here with all you for Eid!
Is Hindu day today? We there with all you for Divali!
Shouter Baptist? We there!
As David Rudder said, how we vote is not how we party. We throw that statement out there as kinda hahahaha, throwaway – but it’s deep!
For me, a Trini is the best possible friend anyone could have – and the worst possible enemy!
When we are at our best, it’s a beautiful thing. But, when we are at our worst, look out!
Trinidad and Tobago is everything to me. It informs every single iota of who I am. It decides how I think, speak, interact with people, assess the world, how I live and eat.
So Trinidad and Tobago is my everything.
Read the full version of this feature on Saturday at www.BCPires.com