May 21, 2016 2:37 PM GMT
I generally mind my own business on flights. But on a recent trip within Vietnam, I couldn’t help myself when the two Australian businessmen seated next to me began chatting about Donald Trump.
“Would they really elect him?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t used to think so, but who knows?”
“IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN!” I interjected. I didn’t shout, but I did say it in urgent all-caps as I shook my head. “IT CAN’T. NO WAY.”
They looked over at me.
“Ah, so you’re American? What is going on over there?”
I briefly toyed, as I so often do these days, with saying that I was Canadian.
...There are plenty of reasons to be worried about Trump’s potential rise to power: he’s xenophobic, misogynistic, and ignorant about foreign policy and economics alike. But on a personal level, he’s also ruining my life as an American expat—and giving me a firsthand glimpse into just how badly Trump could damage the international reputation of the US...
...“The question about Trump I get consistently is whether he represents what Americans are thinking these days,” says one friend who lives in Tokyo. “I have to say, ‘Yes, some,’ to which the typical response is, “Should we be worried?” Or, “To what extent should we be worried?””...
...The problem here is bigger than American expats’ personal sense of embarrassment. When you travel abroad, you realize that people in other parts of the world pay far more attention to international news and politics than most Americans do...
...The international community shows a level of understanding and interest in global affairs that is both impressive and dismaying when compared to interest back home. And when they see Trump winning primaries and lording over passionate, packed crowds, they’re understandably alarmed about the damage that a single egomaniac with a bad comb-over could do to their lives and to the world at large...
...For the foreseeable future, despite what my passport says, I’m going to tell the people I meet that I have no place speaking on behalf of the US. “My people’s chosen leader is a hot, publicly-declared feminist who welcomes refugees,” I’ll say. And if they doubt me, I’ve memorized the lyrics to “Oh, Canada.”