Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Politics - Alrica

I don’t generally like to talk politics with people and have mostly stayed out of the arguments on Facebook but here it is Nov 8 in Australia, which means we are less than 14 hours from the poles opening on the east coast of the USA and I wanted to express my concerns and fears. As we have traveled around the world over the past year, we get asked frequently about the US elections. They start by asking the open-ended, “So, who do you like: Trump or Clinton?” I can’t say that I like Clinton that much, but my answer is always, “NOT TRUMP!”  The asker then goes on to express his dismay and confusion about how people in the USA could have let Trump get this far. They express genuine fear about what a Trump Presidency could do to the world.

See, here’s the thing. When we left on this trip, I was worried about how people would react to us as Americans in the wider world. But what I found was that world-over, people have incredible respect for the US. That, in general, they believe that we are doing the right thing and that we WILL do the right thing. When people ask where we are from, the USA gets a bigger smile, a welcoming comment, or an expressed desire to visit. While I know that everything is not perfect, in general, we are the good guys.

I think about the world that I want for myself and my children, and it doesn’t include more walls. It doesn’t include hatred or fear of people based on who they are, what they believe, how they dress. It includes seeking out truth and understanding. Believing in science and trusting in democracy.

Teaching our children to be good people is one of the most important things we do. It would never be okay for my kids to make fun of a disabled person. To sexually assault someone (or brag about it) or consider one gender to be less than another. To lie or cheat people. To espouse hate and violence and anger. We teach our children to control their anger. To think before they act. To show respect for others. To find the good in people. How can we hold a Presidential candidate to less? How can we allow a person like this to represent our people to the world? This campaign has not been about policies (though I don’t really align with any of the candidates on policies), this is about character. Trump is NOT one of the good guys.

In many places in the world, voting is required and, of course, in lots of places, people can’t vote. In the US, we get to choose. I hope all of my American friends will choose to vote this year and will think about who they would be proud for their (or my) children to look up to.

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