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The Carletonian

An international perspective on American politics

I am not the most well-informed person by any means. Still, the current political environment scares me. I am fortunate that for the last four years I have not been personally directly harmed by the Trump administration, but the ideals and sentiments that the current president is often associated with makes me question whether I will continue to be this fortunate if he is re-elected. 

When Donald Trump won the 2016 election I was a high school sophomore in India, and everyone around me was freaking out. Most of the students who graduate from my high school come to the United States for higher education, yet in 2016 we hit record lows for the number of applications sent out to American colleges. The day he won, my friends outwardly envied my US citizenship as they said “There’s no point in applying to U.S. colleges, we won’t get visas.” The sentiment and general vibe around me was so negative and upsetting, one would think Trump had just been elected in India. I can’t imagine what it will be like to actually be in the country where it is happening, and quite frankly, I would rather not have that experience.  

Admittedly, most of my political opinions are informed through conversations with people which, at Carleton, means strong opposition to the current administration. Hearing people’s dissatisfaction with their problematic government is not foreign to me—India’s right-wing prime minister is not exactly everyone’s favorite either. However, the intensity of people’s emotions and the deep-rooted resentment that accompanies discussions about the current American administration is unlike anything I have witnessed before. It amazes me how one person elicits such strong feelings for so many people in this country. 

While we were growing up, my friends and I often saw the United States as one of the coolest countries in the world. From dressing up like the characters in Gossip Girl, to saying “y’all” for no reason, we tried hard to be “American” throughout our childhood. As teenagers we gradually decreased this extremely cringe-worthy behavior, and by 2016, our opinions had almost completely flipped. We started associating the U.S. with gun violence and racism, and soon people began talking about the country with contempt. The concept of school shootings was so foreign and unbelievably absurd to us, that every time we heard of another one we were more grateful for our own country, even if it lagged behind in development. Whether or not our ideas about America were accurate, the way most of my friends at home viewed the country prevented them from pursuing education in America. 

Personally, living in the U.S. has proved to be an incredible experience for me, and I am grateful for everything this country has provided me with. But I hope it continues being that way through November 3rd.  

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