Day 619 – 9 November, 2016
Something happened my first full day at N/a’an ku se and this is the only time I’ll speak of it, although it seemed to be an overlying theme my entire four weeks there. I woke up at 6:00am on 9 Nov with a nervous energy. I crawled out of bed with slept-on hair and smudged eye glasses to silently pad over to Food Prep. Noone was up and about yet, but Food Prep was the only place where I could sometimes get a mobile signal and I could check the news. I had to try a few times for my search to load, but when it did, I felt a lump in my throat and the bottom fell out of my stomach. Clinton: 197. Trump: 217. 270 to win. I counted remaining electoral votes and recounted them and recounted, but it was already clear what the result would be. This is not and will not be a political blog so I won’t preach as to my political opinions or beliefs, but let me tell you the reaction of the Germans, the Dutch, the Danish, the South Africans, the Australians, the Namibians, the Finnish, the Norwegians, the Swedes, the Swiss, the English, the Irish, and the Ecuadorian that I was living and working with at the time. As one of only two Americans at N/a’an ku se on that day, everyone wanted to discuss it with me. They wanted to know what happened and why. They wanted to know who I voted for and how did I feel about the result. Then behind my back, they would whisper about how stupid Americans are and how scared they are that so many American people supported a man with such racist and sexist tendencies. I couldn’t answer their questions. I didn’t know what happened or why. I was offended by people asking who I voted for because I felt that answer should have been obvious. I didn’t know how to express my feelings on the outcome and as a result, I didn’t want to discuss it at all. What else is left to say?
Fifty percent of Americans chose to be globally represented by a man that bleeds bigotry, a man that uses childish name-calling to intimidate anyone that disagrees with him, a man that brags about using his power to sexually assault countless women. Listening to people call Americans stupid hurts. That’s my home they’re talking about, but I can’t defend it. After the initial shock, the eavesdropped conversations turned to jokes. If the value of the dollar falls, it will make it cheaper for them to travel. With my tan skin, I may be mistaken for Mexican and I won’t be allowed entry. They shouldn’t oppose too loudly or a nuclear bomb might be detonated over our dinner table just to make a point. So that, my friend, is what the world thinks. America is a joke. America is a scary place under a Trump presidency. America is full of uneducated stupid racists.** What am I supposed to say to that? So I said nothing.
**I’m sure not everyone that voted for the winner is uneducated or stupid or racist. You may have had other financial or idealistic reasons for voting the way you did. But the perception of the world is much more simple than that. And in this case, with a divide so great where most of the global population will never hear your argument, perception is their truth.