This Is Not the America I Know

This Is Not the America I Know

As soon as Trump takes Florida as one of his key swing states, I become painfully sure that the race is over. My worst nightmare has been realised: Donald Trump is going to become the 45th president of the United States of America.

 Very real feelings of grief – like a painful heartbreak or losing a childhood pet – sweep over me, but in the back of my mind I have a lingering sense of relief. It takes me a bit to pinpoint where in the heck this comforting feeling is coming from when I remember: I already booked a one-way flight for Australia months prior to this election! I have the opportunity to escape this fucking shit show.

 In a fit of passion and rage, I compose a tweet: “Never felt more secure in my decision to leave for Australia. Chances of purchasing a return ticket just became exponentially slim.”

 Now, many of my fellow Americans might say that this is unpatriotic of me. If I hate the US so much, I can just get the fuck out, right? But this couldn’t be further from my truth. I love America, but a Trump America is not the America I know, and it’s not the America I love.

 The America I know and love has fought since the very beginning for freedom and justice. It has been over 200 years since we gained independence, and over those two centuries, our nation has built itself up to become one of the most powerful in the world.

 How? The Emancipation Proclamation. Women’s suffrage. Marriage equality. The Civil Rights Act. The US was at one point called a melting pot, with millions of ideas generating from the minds of all sorts of different people. This country has never been perfect. Freedom did not come without struggle, and we still have a lot of work to do. But I was still at a point where I was proud to be an American – especially when we elected our first African American president, Barack Obama.

 Eight years later and here we are. We have voted in a sexist, misogynistic, xenophobic tyrant, and our country just set itself back two whole centuries. The fact that a majority of the United States actively made the choice to put this man into one of the most powerful positions in the world knocks the wind out of me, and troubles me to the depths of my core.

 That is not to say that I’m going to sit here and hate Trump supporters. I realise people are fed up with the current system and appreciate that Trump is anti-establishment, but the man has done more than just say a couple of bad things. Throughout his campaign, he slandered an entire religion, completely degraded women and advocated for their sexual harassment and assault, mocked a journalist with a disability… we all know this list. I could go on and on.

 We live in a time when our Earth is deteriorating, the entire population is unsettled in times of strife and war, and nuclear weapons sit waiting to pulverise enemy nations. And we just handed these nuclear codes into the hands of a man who cannot even handle himself on Twitter. That is something we cannot take lightly.

 I don’t think this is the country our Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote the Declaration of Independence. I don’t think that anyone who ever fought for American freedom would believe that they would succeed, only to have oppression rise from the ashes in the body of Donald Trump. This is not the freedom we have been fighting for.

 I’m not ungrateful for growing up in the US. I’m so incredibly appreciative to have been born into a free nation, especially when I know that so many others were not. I’ve just disheartened with how divisive we’ve become.

I did fabricate a bit on my post-election tweet. I will (eventually) purchase a return flight and come back to my beautiful country, and I will be more than ready to spread only love and light to everyone that I meet. I will continue to fight towards human equality for all, harder than I’ve ever tried before. I will return to America and act as what I believe a true American to be: inclusive, open-minded, empathetic and above all, free.