Muluneh Yohannes in the back room of Saba Ethiopian Restaurant on 12th.
Muluneh Yohannes in the back room of Saba Ethiopian Restaurant on 12th. Rich Smith

The scene at Saba Ethiopian Cuisine on election night was casual and intense. Coffee and beer. Men in a back room played carambole, and they spiked their sentences with the word “Trump” as they banked balls into the corner pocket. Others in the restaurant gathered around small tables, their eyes glued to CNN on the widescreen TV.

Muluneh Yohannes sat in the corner with some friends. He’s 38, lives in Northgate, and hails from Ethiopia, where he received a degree in political science from Addis Ababa University. Norwich University in Vermont graduated him with a degree in conflict management and diplomacy. He moved to Seattle in 2003, and he’s currently a social worker for the Seattle Fire Department, as well as a human rights advocate in the local Ethiopian community.

At this point in the evening, 10:40 PM PST, the New York Times was showing Donald Trump with a 95% chance of winning the presidency.

“I’m surprised,” he said. “My expectation is that he’d lose the election because of his attitude, lack of details that matter to the country, his very limited knowledge and experience on foreign policy, and I though this manner would effect negatively the election result.”

He thinks this election was about one thing in particular: change. “People here need to change—what—the colors of their bedrooms? They always want to see something new. Hillary was a continuation of Obama in a lot of ways, and that probably frustrated a portion of the population.”

The other big issue, according to Yohannes, was misogyny: “I don’t think America’s ready for a woman president. If that’s the case, that worries me more. Women need to have equal opportunity and access for everything, including the presidency.”

He’s not worried about Trump personally, and thinks President Trump will act differently than candidate Trump, but he does admit he’s worried about America’s foreign policy.

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“I’m worried about another war,” he said. “And in general our alliance with many countries will be affected negatively. But we don’t know how this guy is going to act!”

He’s also worried about the republicans taking the house and the senate. “This is now a democratic dictatorship,” he said.

Yohannes hopes Trump will have an “open heart to learn, to listen, and have a mature approach to issues,” but adds that the fate of the country lies in the hands of his advisors.

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