I have been living in Santiago, Chile for over a year now.
As a liberal from a conservative part of Western- Virginia, I have been immune to the political ramblings of my fellow (conservative) Virginians. And I must say, it’s been fantastic. However, this has not given me immunity to the judgement I face on a day-to-day basis when I engage in political discussions with local Chileans or any foreigner for that fact.
I’ve seen from a distance, the Trump campaign begin and flourish. Back in June when Trump declared his candidacy, I was teaching in a university in Santiago. One of my students asked me, “Profe, is the Trump candidacy a joke?” to which I replied, “I hope so, I truly hope so. It can’t be real!”
This was just the beginning of the comments I have since received, including everything from: “That’s hilarious” to “You’re country is full of ignorant bigots” to the genuine concern of “But really…will he win?”
Now to be fair, we live in a democratic nation, where you have the right to choose who to vote for. This basic democratic principle is what makes the U.S. the U.S. Yet, what Trumpeters are not taking into consideration is the foreign perspective. How a Trump presidency would effect our foreign relations and for years to come, our international image.
The past year I have had South Americans and Europeans alike judge me because I am American. Because I live in a nation where an unqualified businessman is leading the Republican ticket. And their reasonings are all valid, but the one that sticks the most is the lack of foreign policy experience. I’ve heard a lot of criticism. The sum of it, is that it’s truly terrifying that someone who has publicly insulted many foreign leaders and has outrightly shown his dispassionate disposition for international politics could be the next Commander in Chief. And I totally agree.
I could go on and on about what internationals have said about Trump as president, but I won’t. I simply wanted to share my experience living abroad, as an American who’s received unjustified judgements just because of my nationality. I am not a Trumpeter nor do I support his candidacy. I am, however, very much concerned for the fate of our international image now and even more so if Trump does take the presidency.
It’s time that the media turn the attention off the Trump circus show and on to the more serious issues facing the presidential elections, including the multitude of international issues that have been washed over by his campaign. As journalists we hold the power to help American’s be more well-aware and informed citizens. Or at least try to.
For the meantime, I will continue to deal with the criticisms abroad, the overseas perspective. I’ll help ease the fear and try to insure our foreign audiences that a Trump presidency is highly unlikely, or at least I hope so.