Taxicab talk: The world has changed

How are you today?

I’m good, ma’am. Where you heading?

Fortieth, Fifth. How are you today?

I’m good. New York Public Library?

Yes. I’m depressed. You must be depressed.

Sorry, can you say that again?

I’m so depressed. Aren’t you depressed?

No, I’m not depressed, ma’am. You are my passenger and I get to take you where you wanna go. Why are you depressed on such a beautiful day — if it’s OK to ask?

You don’t know? Aren’t you depressed? Oh, I’m so depressed.

I’m sorry to hear that.

I don’t know. This is so bad. It changes everything.

Er, I’m sorry. What changes everything?

The election. ­­—Oh, I get it. You only just arrived. Where are you from?

Originally? I’m from Kinshasa. The Congo.

The Congo? Is that in—?


I thought so.

So when did you come to the US?

I came to America in 1997. It will be twenty years ago in June.

Your English is very good.

Thank you, ma’am.

You must be really worried since the election.

I can’t say that I am, ma’am.

Aren’t you worried how bad things can get for immigrants.

You mean about Trump?

Yes! He said some really bad things. He’s going to do some really bad things.

I’ve heard some things here and there, ma’am. But from what I know of America, they have elections every four years, guaranteed, no matter what.

But have you considered how much damage he can do before then?

How much damage he can do?

Yes. Affordable Healthcare, marriage equality, abortion, immigration, and all the good things Obama has done. It’s never been so bad. The world has changed.

The world?

Yes, the world.

Then what happens after four years?

Then we have all this damage. You’ve been here twenty years. You must know that.

Maybe I’m still learning, ma’am. But in three years and ten months’ time you can change it all back. No hard feelings. That’s what I like about America.

You like four years of Trump?

I don’t know. I drive my cab, take people where they want to go. They pay me. I feed my children. I’m happy. I don’t vote, but I understand more people are happy with trump than people who are unhappy with Trump. They gave him their votes. Secret votes. Free votes. You can vote for anybody you like. Even a black man can be the President of United States. When Obama became the President, everybody said it proved how great America is: anybody can be President, if he can get enough votes. So I see the same thing again. A man gets enough votes and he becomes President. America is still great. I’m safe.

But Trump? Donald Trump?

I don’t understand, but if I can ask, did Trump take the country by force with his own army?

That’s impossible. There are no private militias in our country. We have the ballot. One person one vote.

Will Trump suspend the Constitution?

That’s impossible. The Supreme Court will not allow it.

Will Trump arrest all the judges and close down the Supreme Court?

That’s impossible. We have the Rule of Law.

Will Trump ban all political parties and keep only his own?

That’s impossible. We have a democratic system.

Will his birthday become a national holiday for seven days?


Will he rename Washington D.C. after himself?


Will everybody who is not his family lose their job in the government?

That’s insane!

My children can still go to school, even if I do not vote for trump?

Where are all these questions coming from?

Will he arrest anybody who insults him?

We have the First Amendment. Why are you asking all these crazy questions?

Will he move all the money out of the Federal Reserve Bank into his own Swiss Bank account?

Of course not. He’d be impeached!

Will Trump declare himself Life-President?

That’s impossible. A President can only serve for two terms.

And for the second time he must again be elected like before.


So he can be elected for a second time after he did all his bad things the first time — no firing squad even?

Yes—I mean, no! I mean it would be really, really bad if he got re-elected.

So even after all that, there is still another election and the one with the most votes still becomes the President.

Yes, but…

Haish! If Congo was like America, I would not be driving cabs in New York.

At least you’ve got an exotic escape. I’m happy for you.

Here we are, ma’am: New York Public Library. That’ll be seven dollars and forty cents.

Keep the change. I’m so depressed. You take care of yourself. Really. I mean it.