Abroad in the Time of Trump

Well kiddos… it’s been awhile.

 

Being abroad this time around has given me the opportunity to witness astounding changes and decisions happening in my country.

Never in a million years did I ever think my country would elect Trump. I thought “No way, that’s why we have the electoral college…. We’re protected.”

But then it happened.

 

And oh my god, my Facebook feed is blowing up, my anxiety is through the roof, my brother isn’t talking to me, and my Hungarian colleagues are all asking me, “WTF?”

 

As if I could explain.

 

“Hi, yes, I’m American. Yes my country voted to give a narcissistic reality TV star access to nuclear codes.Uh huh. Yep. Yeah. He is endorsed by the KKK. Yep. I know. Yeah. It’s terrible. Yeah. I agree. It’s fucking awful. Yeah. Yeah.. Yeah… Yeah… ”

 

And back at home, my friends are worried that they may not have the right to stay married, or get married. Or they are afraid they won’t be able to use a fucking bathroom. They are worried they may be forced to leave their homes and their families. They are worried about a Muslim Registry. (Y’know, because absolutely nothing bad has ever happened when a government makes a registry of a certain group of people)…http://www.unitedhumanrights.org/genocide/genocide_in_rwanda.htm

 

I’m worried I may not have health care for my autoimmune disease. We’re collectively worried that our country’s carbon footprint will make irreversible changes to our planet. http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

 

But fuck them and fuck me, right?

 

 

And I know some of you are thinking, “Well gosh Bree, that’s a little extreme don’t you think?”

And to that I say, ehhh, not really.

 

Our current Pres-elect has a VP that believes in gay conversion therapy and has passed some of the most discriminatory bills (against gays, trans, and bodily-autonomy)  in the country. http://time.com/4406337/mike-pence-gay-rights-lgbt-religious-freedom/

One of Mike Pence’s bills was so extreme that even other Republicans dissented and the law was eventually struck down by  a Federal judge. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/07/donald-trump-mike-pence-vice-president-abortion-gay

Trump has gone on record saying the women deserve “some form of punishment”for receiving an abortion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1Jpoecf0xY

Fox News hosted a guest that cited Japanese internment camps as a fucking legal precedent for the creation of Muslim internment camps. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wt5nv01V-dQ

If you don’t understand why this is wrong, then I’m not sure what I can say to you to appeal to your humanity. But here is a picture of an internment camp. Is this a place you would like to live? Would you like to give up your home and belongings and live here? Would you like to give up your job and prospects? Your right to go where you want and to do what you want? Do you want to live in a giant hall with a 100 other people with no privacy and have armed guards watching your every move?

Yes, you must give up all of your freedoms because you are you. Because you are a christian and because you have white skin. Because your family immigrated from Ireland or Germany or fucking Poland. How does that feel?

 

A Japanese internment camp guard tower at Heart Mountain.  (National Archives)

Image Source: http://onpoint.legacy.wbur.org/2011/08/26/internment-examined

Trump promised to repeal the ACA within the first 100 days of office. That means for me, and for the other 22 million people like me, we will have no way to obtain vital and life-saving medication. Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing how to prepare as Trump has flip-flopped on this issue a few times.

http://obamacarefacts.com/2016/11/09/what-does-president-trump-mean-for-obamacare/

He believes global warming is a hoax and has promised to back non-renewable energy like oil and coal, meanwhile the United States has the 2nd largest carbon footprint in the world. http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/trump-and-the-truth-climate-change-denial

Again, if you don’t believe in global warming… I have no way of reaching you. You don’t want to look at scientific facts, so there is literally nothing I can say or do that will convince you of how dire this situation is.

http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/science/each-countrys-share-of-co2.html#.WDLdN9KLTcc

 

What am I seeing and what am I hearing? It’s like we all went to sleep one night and woke up the next morning to Fascism. Where people are joking about hanging journalists and shooting protesters. Our Pres-Elect is vowing to sue and curtail the powers of the press. We are joking about rebuking our FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

I find this truth to be self-evident: that without freedom of speech, there is no freedom at all.

And to further this madness, we have such a deep divide in our country we are virtually split in two. One side being “Deplorables”and the other “libtards.” Our vernacular is becoming so aggressive that we can’t reach each other anymore.

We aren’t even trying to convince others of our opinions because we actually believe how the other side thinks is a disease. We don’t want a civil discourse with them. We want to hurt them.

Is our country in that bad of shape that we have to resort to this level of hatred?

What will make America “Great Again” and what is making it not great now? When was it great? When was this mythical time when everybody in our country was happy and everybody was provided for?

 

See, I thought everybody was working on the same basic line as me. I thought “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” That all deserve the right, to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That the Statue of Liberty with her torch held to the sky said, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

These are the ideas of what I thought it meant to be an American. That the pursuit of liberty and justice for all was paramount.

But some things are not reconcilable with these notions.

We can not turn away Syrian refugees and claim that we believe in life. Because if we truly believed it, we wouldn’t say, “They have no place here! They must go back to their war-torn country! Bomb them! Bomb them! Bomb them!”

We cannot kill our black men, women, children in our streets and claim that we believe all men are created equal. Because if we truly believed it, no one would argue that Black Lives Matter. No court would set a murderer free. No one would dare argue that a badge gives you the right to kill without redress.

We cannot say we believe in the liberty, when rape victims bear the burden of responsibility. When we ask our daughters, “What were you wearing? How much did you have to drink? Did you lead him on?” When to be a woman is to hide and to redirect your forcefulness and to give up your right to bodily autonomy. “Keep your legs closed. If you didn’t want a child why did you have sex?” To be a woman in modern American to be an object for other’s desires. Ask our Pres-Elect who says he can do anything he wants to a woman. He doesn’t even ask.

We cannot say we believe in the pursuit of happiness, when we deny fundamental civil rights. When we are so disgusted by a man kissing another man that we think we have the right to electrocute them until we think they are straight.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/realities-of-conversion-therapy_us_582b6cf2e4b01d8a014aea66

We can’t say we believe in the pursuit of happiness when we would rather have people live in abject poverty then be able to cross our borders and make a better life for themselves and their families. If we build a wall, we can’t see it, right?

http://www.pewglobal.org/2009/09/23/most-mexicans-see-better-life-in-us-one-in-three-would-migrate/

 

You see, I thought that we were all on the same page. That at heart we valued the same things. I thought we just disagreed on how to reach the same goal.

But I was wrong.

 

To be abroad in the time of Trump is disheartening and comforting. It is disheartening because I can’t show my support for the people I love. I can’t march for Muslims, for the old, for the sick, for LGBTQ peoples, for veterans, for black lives, for women… because I’m here. I can’t provide shelter or lend a listening ear.

It’s comforting though, because I’m here. I’m safe.

At the time I am writing this, there have been over 700 reported cases of hate crimes since the election. It seems all the racists and shitheads are climbing out of their holes, hell bent on taking back an America that was never theirs. And if you are saying “that’s not Trump’s fault!”Then I urge you to re-look at his platform. And I urge you to look at this:

http://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/rise-in-hate-crimes-following-donald-trump-election-win/1/

An there is a rift inside of me. I don’t know how to talk to people anymore who have differing views than me. Because.. it seems like what they are saying is that they don’t care what happens to anyone who isn’t them and I just can’t argue when that is how they feel.

We can argue all day about the what-ifs of Hillary Clinton and every other straw man you put in front of me, but what they are saying to me is, they don’t care if these people live or die. They don’t care if they are tortured, mutilated, raped, homeless, or sick. They are afraid of the what-ifs of these people.

And I can’t make them have compassion.

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