Two Americans react to the riots of the Capitol.World Events
A Comment from Kelly Fisher, Minnesota Native and Content Creator for SHE Community.
“This Just In: Trump said/did/wrote___”
To say that being an American abroad during the Trump presidency has been an interesting experience, would be an understatement. There are a large number of different superlatives that one could choose to describe what this time period has been like as I’ve been abroad for two of Trump’s four years, and it has truly been a rollercoaster of emotions.
A common comment I am greeted with by my Norwegian and international friends is, “Wow, I can’t believe what is going on in the US!” Sadly, I usually wait for them to explain further, because there could be depending on the day, three or four different dramatic news developments coming out of the US.
In a similar fashion, last week when a mob that Trump incited to attack the capitol began to break in, my roommate commented that I might want to watch what was happening on NRK. It is hard to accurately describe the emotions that I felt as I watched the livestream, but I can tell you this, I was not surprised by what happened. We have been on a clear and dangerous path to this moment, and every step of the way Trump has been hardly challenged or rebuked by his fellow Republicans.
Putting Democracy at Risk
For me what stands out is the anger and frustration I feel. Trump has been building the foundation for this type of unrest and attack since he began to run for President. The only reason why Republicans are speaking out as much as they are now or announcing their resignations from his cabinet is because Trump lost his reelection. When someone who shows as little regard for democracy as Trump is left unchecked for four years, it shouldn’t be surprising what happened last week.
America the Beautiful, But Maybe Not Right Now
I am at a moment in my life where I am uncertain about what I will do professionally or where I would like to live. However, the US looks more and more like a place that I do not wish to return to. I realize it is a privilege that I have never considered that the US is a place that I think is unsafe to return to, yet here I am, uncertain about the future wellbeing of the US as a democratic nation. There are no feelings or emotions that can capture the complexity of that realization.
A Comment from Brittany Lemos, California native and Content Manager for SHE Community.
Watching From Afar
While my colleague and friend Kelly has spent the last two years in Norway, I’ve been in Europe for over seven years, watching our nation evolve from afar. Since moving abroad, my time spent in the US is how many Norwegians picture it: visiting family and enjoying my vacation time in my native California, blissfully happy when the kroner was so strong, and a great night out only cost 600 NOK.
As I only visited home twice a year, it felt like I watched something evolve almost overnight: MAGA caps and lawn signs started appearing alongside fanatic supporters at rallies with banal chants, while name calling like children in an election was a new normal.
I watched the dignity of the Office of the President fall right alongside Norwegians. Waking early to turn on the news of the election in 2016, I remember trying to explain to one of the girls I looked after why I was sad. What else do you tell a five-year-old besides, “A bad guy is the new leader in the country I’m from.” The feeling of resignation only grew, as shouts and online quips of still your president were thrown around.
Fair is Fair—But Is It?
As the 2020 election neared, as a California voter, a new form of hopelessness arose. My vote in LA County meant so little compared to if I was a voter in Arizona or North Carolina. The cracks of the electoral college began to show, and as these swing states went undecided, a feeling of injustice crept in. Even if my California vote was for Joe, why does one vote hold more value than another?
Now, imagine being a Trump supporter, and all the same dirt they dished four years ago is thrown back on them. In 2016, we were able to execute a peaceful transition, all while knowing the integrity of the Oval Office had fallen. In the mixed-up mind of a perhaps “average” Trump supporter, the injustice we felt back then is nothing compared to the outrage they feel having an election stolen from them. Their logic is as clear as mud, yet I still try to wrap my mind around it.
However, the logic of the antagonists who went so far as to riot in the capitol is something my non-professional psychologist mind can’t wrap around.
The US Needs a Timeout
In light of these unprecedented times, we’ve been blessed with one more unprecedented event, a new round of impeaching Trump. I share Kelly’s sentiments in realizing our motherland’s foundation of democracy is in question and hope beyond hope to be proud to be American once again. •