I am an American. I am a patriot. I love my country. I’ve given irrevocable chunks of life to her with no regret. But make no mistake, I don’t believe it’s the “best” country in the world, far from it… But it is MY country.
We Americans carry a stigma visible to anyone that’s not us. We are often perceived as greedy elitist know-it-all warmongers with bad taste. I wasn’t defining Donald Trump, just how at worst, most of the world thinks of us.
This sometimes-accurate perception of Americans started long before number 45 to even before our 43rd. But to yours truly, I started to realize and experience this stigma during the Bush Administration with my work.
So this was in no way caused by President Trump as the American stigma globally matured around the time Mr. Trump was bankrupting his casinos.
But it started to mutate as Hillary and Donald got closer to election day. I was half way around the world as this happened and I felt the stigma intensify like a dense fog.
Every foreigner, local and the few fellow Americans I reluctantly chatted about the election with agreed on at least one thing. That 1 candidate is bad, the other worse, but 1 of them actually knows what they’re doing – and of course the lesser of 2 evils argument.
So I constantly found myself in a position where I was supposed to defend my new potential Commander in Chief. But of course I didn’t, I wouldn’t have voted for either. But it’s the fact that I was kept cornered into that hypothetical position that I found to be disconcerting.
As an American abroad, I was often kinda-blamed (mostly as a joke or a jab) for Bush’s actions from way back when that was still causing issues today. This is normal.
However, I never, not once, had someone talk shit to me about Barack Obama while I was overseas – excluding when I was on duty and the occasional racist.
But that doesn’t mean the stigma ceased just because Obama was in office. In the right setting with a group of diverse nationalities, politics always finds a way to be talked about. And if an American is present, he or she often becomes the focus in regards to what’s wrong with the world. We are subjected to an almost court or interrogative level of communication.
It was never terrible though. Sometimes even a good debate. Annoying, sure but something you got used to. But it all changed as it sunk in to the world that the most powerful person in the world is now Donald Trump.
I think we’ve set some incredible foundations going onward, with relationships, with other countries, et cetera, et cetera.
Our once greatly respected nation became an international joke overnight, as the news spread around the globe as to our new President-elect.
I was at an Irish pub in Hong Kong with my girlfriend when the election results were announced. It was an unofficial mock party filled mostly with Europeans, locals and a handful of Americans. As if it was a big football game, the pub was energetic… unanimously rooting for Hillary.
But then Trump won. The crowd wasn’t upset, Trump wasn’t their new leader, they just didn’t want someone like him to win. And also, they must have figured it won’t affect them – which we all now know to be contrary.
The laughter, the jokes and well, more laughter continued on and on at the pub. It was the first time I was truly embarrassed to be an American, an American Patriot.
Regardless, he was (hopefully rightfully and legally) voted by the American people to lead us so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. That did not last long.
Every country and city I visited after he took office, I could feel the damage he’s causing the American image. All my non-American friends and associates around the world gave me shit about Trump, again, mostly for fun but far more often now. And to be honest, I’m starting to take it a bit personal now, not from my friends, but from Trump.
That’s some messed up shit. Regardless of how I may or may not feel about Trump, he still is my country’s president. That shows just how bad it’s gotten.
I’m no historian but I believe the United States of America hasn’t been this divided since the goddam Civil War.
You can’t be a person of greatness without making enemies. But here’s the thing, if most of the world’s population hates the leader of a nation of people, they are hated by association. The entire world can’t be wrong.
As the President of our great but damaged nation, Trump had the opportunity to become one of the most respected men in American history, instead he’s on a path to becoming one the most despised men in world history.
This reflects against us, the American people. And as the current preeminent superpower of the world, it does matter what the rest of the world thinks of us.