Being abroad when Trump won
I wanted to share this perspective as an American abroad, who's been hearing reactions from foreigners on the American election everywhere I go. Also, being away from my country, that I love very much, in a time when people are waking up crying because of the election, I had to write something.
I've followed politics religiously for over a decade now. We're talking rushing home to watch C-Span, reading journalist's accounts on war, feeding on Al-Jazeera, BBC, Russia Today, and an undistributed amount of American news TV (only go to Fox when I want to see their reaction to something).
We've traveled through 8 countries so far. We haven't been staying in hotels that are set up to give privacy, in fact quite the opposite. With shared kitchens, bathrooms, and very inviting community areas, we'd meet new people and hang out each night. Every conversation we've had, the election has been brought up. People abroad are fascinated by our politics/policies.
Every single outcome of those conversations (more than 30), are foreigners telling us (before we even say anything) that Trump is an idiot. EVERYONE. I found it crazy. Not only because they find him to be unfit for President of the Free World, but because everyone wanted to talk about it!!
We've been waking up at 3 and 4 AM to catch the debates, and the same for the election. We were walking around Petra the other day, and some Belgians just up the way heard us debating things, and asked us about the election. "Can't believe it," they said.
Back at the hotel, an Australian who'd been traveling for a couple months reads out loud, "I can't believe it! Donald Trump is President!" Two Brits were at the table next to him, "You've got to be kidding! It's not over yet though, right?" they asked so cautiously. "No. I think they've tallied everything up. It's over." Two Americans are sitting close. "Yeah, we're in shock too," we replied.
Trump is now President. If anything, this has shown me two things: 1. I have to admire the man for actually being elected. He was saying things that struck a chord with a lot of my fellow brothers and sisters in America. 2. That chord that was struck should be listened to. Trump will be President because of our democratic process that hears all voices (and the Electoral College).
Foreigners plead with Breanne and I to say, "Yeah, what the hell did we just do!" What I bring up to them is a similar movement behind the Brexit. This is a movement that wants change from the status quo, and people that feel they are being left behind and ignored. Trump being elected and making decisions on a world stage is much more extreme however.
I am white, and try to be an open-minded independent that leans left. I voted for Hilary because I thought Bernie would upset the middle right, push them to Trump, and he would become President...I believe education, environment, and infrastructure are major concerns. I believe immigration needs to be welcomed. I believe low income communities deserve healthy food options from grocery stores (no food deserts), and community centers within those areas need more support. Will always support pro-choice and LGBTQ, and NASA needs more money : )
Trump can be despicable. Nasty. But given this office, perhaps the league of past Presidents will overshadow him, and give him an urgent sense of caution. I don't think even he thought he would win. He has been the head of a company that employs a lot of people. He has felt the burden of carrying the weight of a company with employee's salaries (I think). He may respect the role, and not do anything brash, and maybe even help in areas of his expertise.
We do have checks and balances, so the President cannot make unstable decisions. Pres. Obama couldn't get anything passed his last four years. I realize Trump has both house and senate majorities which is scary as hell, but legislature of new laws takes time. There are road blocks put in place to prevent Trump from over stepping the line. You also have to hope that his cabinet will be filled with great minds, that hand out good advice.
Listen, I'm not a Trump guy. This will be hard for me. If this does anything however, it will strengthen the alternative to Trump. A voice will rise above, and in four years, we'll have a chance to hear what that voice can do.
If this is not the correct road we've chosen, we'll find out. When backed into a wall, we'll get stronger. We'll know a little more about ourselves after these four years. And come the next election, we'll have a clear path as to what we actually want as a nation.
Until then, it'll be a hell of a ride. People will be engaged. Trump will be Trump. The media will increase their payroll two fold. And hopefully we'll be a country that other countries can look to, for stability and leadership. It's not just about the American people, but about world issues that are extremely dependent on a stable, well informed, American President.