I’ve been abroad since 2013 and I’ve only been back to the USA once during that time. Being an American abroad means different things in different countries. Sometimes I’m glorified and popular, other times I’m part of some hidden joke and avoided. I’ve learned to stand tall in some places in the world where I’m most welcomed. And I’ve learned to keep my head down and speak any other lanugage but English in hopes that my cover wont be blown.
For those of you out there that understand this feeling, you’re not alone. And for those of you that are comfortable at home, listen up.
American politics is world politics. Every person on the planet follows American politics because it affects them too. The US is arguably the most powerful nation in the world. Therefore our desicions affect the circumstances of those around us. Which brings me to the name we all know so well: Trump.
Not a day goes by where I have not been chastised for the decisions of the people of my nation. Since the beginning of the election, to today the day of Trumps inaguration.
Yesterday I went on a tour and the driver, not knowing I was in the bus, made a passing joke about how “tomorrow is D-Day”. It was only then did I pipe up to formally apologize for the entirety of my nation.
Upon introducing myself one of the first questions asked of me, usually right after the question”where are you from?”, is “So how about Trump?”. Or “So who did you vote for?”.
It’s like they don’t even care about what I have to say or what is in my personality. The conversation then takes on a whole different tone and then I found myself talking about politics.
I hate politics.
I know I’m going to get a lot of hate for this confession, but I never voted in previous elections.
“But how dare you not exercise your right that people fought and died for!” they scream with fire in their eyes.
Well for one simple reason: I was not educated on policies or the candidates. I would rather NOT vote, then vote for the popular candidate. While my friends walk around with their “I voted” stickers and trying to convince me to choose their favorite candidate because of “x” reasons, I was busy studying for exams or finishing projects.
That is until Trump became a candidate. I remember one of the girls in my office telling me that he was running for the presidency. To which I laughed and told them “well that’s never going to happen. That’s a funny joke”. Until the joke was no longer a joke, but an actual threat. It was after that first debate that I decided to send my overseas ballot and registration form. They didn’t make it easy on me, that’s for sure. And when I called asking for more information I was met with a racist who said I lived at, and I quote, “ching chong ding dong street”. Needless to say, my paper ballot was never received. But I can proudly say that I did vote in this election, even though it made little difference on the outcome. I can defend myself to those around me that poke at me.
Which is why it’s up to those of us abroad to step up and defend ourselves. We are the faces of our country and we need to take this time to empathize with those that will be affected by our decisions. Understand they are just as fearful as we are about the situation and find solace in the fact that we are all in this together.
We Americans get a bad rap sometimes, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to get any better anytime soon. But here’s to hoping the next 4 years prove us all wrong. Until then, I’ll be out here doing my best to spread love and not hate. ❤ We aren’t all bad!