America The Broken

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Image Credit: The Atlantic

Trigger warning: this is not my typical rosy travel post.

Today felt like the biggest hangover in history. Like I got punched in the stomach and my eyes were too blurry to make sense of anything. I simultaneously wanted to read everything and nothing. To try to make sense of the seemingly impossible. My head hurt and my heart weighed heavy, not so much at the result, but moreso by the lingering questions. How were we this naïve? This blindsided? Or worse, this oblivious to what was going on all around us? This was not one state. This was not one region. This was everywhere.

One of the very first things we were told in marketing class is that we are not the majority. If we want to be successful, we have to learn to speak to segment of population that wasn’t our peers. Clearly, we’ve never really figured out how to do that. Never stopped to consider their thoughts or took the time to care about what motivates them. To the uneducated men and women of the working class, I will be the first to admit I do not understand you, but I need to believe you are not hateful, horrible humans. I want to believe you voted for a wakeup call, a rebel not a dictator.

The people I’m talking about won’t read this because their nights are not spent poring over social media and memes. I would assume they’re balancing two jobs trying to feed their families or working a thankless, labor intense job in the fields. But again, I don’t really know. I turned a blind eye to it because I could. I’m lucky I was given the opportunity to make that choice. I’ve never thought of myself as privileged, but yes, I was given the opportunity to “do whatever I wanted to do and be whatever I wanted to be.”

The thing I struggle with the most is that the “influencer” class and the mainstream media had no influence over the majority. We were speaking to our circle, our constituents who view the world like we do. Now we’re left with the uncomfortable notion of wondering how much influence we really have. How many people have been out there, silently fuming and feeling ignored for decades? We thought Trump supporters were loud and vocal, but this surge came from those in quiet anguish.

While I am extremely sad for America, life will go on. We will rise up. Hope will trump hate. They won the battle, not the war. To the rest of the world, please realize this is not representative of all Americans. In fact, it’s not even representative of the majority of Americans. I’m not going to play into the Amerikkka, Never Trump, #NotMyPresident, or any of the other trending rhetoric. It’s not funny and the blame game never solved anything.

What I am going to do is grit my teeth and accept the result, whether it’s four years or eight, and hope this serves as a serious wake-up call that the system is broken. Being representative of 51% of the population shouldn’t be something to strive for (that’s a failing grade for our country). You can’t classify people into two boxes and pit them against each other. What I will do when abroad is try my hardest to be an ambassador of what this country stands for and dispel ignorant stereotypes. But I’ve always done that.

I have the means to travel, but right now, I’m not going anywhere. This is my home, and my home has a welcome mat.

Note: I wrote this because I can’t succinctly organize my thoughts into one tweet, post or message. It’s cathartic and it gives me a platform and a voice. I wish more Americans had an outlet like I do.


 

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2 Comments

  1. I’m reading this almost 2 years later and I remember feeling the same shock and dismay. I was teaching English in Taiwan at the time and had to explain this to my adults students. I had no words. I still don’t. I just spent 2.5 weeks in America and watched Trump rip apart families at the border. I’m now back in France and away from the non-stop political coverage. I’m not running away but it’s so much more peaceful here with no TV. I’m still in shock at how drastically things have changed since Obama. I miss him.

    1. Yeah, it hits even harder with today being Independence Day. What is even worth celebrating about our country right now? Thanks for sharing your story. No harm in digital detoxing every now and again. I fully agree we all need a breather.

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