I apologise for backward policies toward immigration, free trade, global citizenship and even basic good will. The America I have known and was taught to believe in is better than that
I apologise for the behavior of our country. I wish I could limit it to our President but we elected him so he represents us, and his words and actions and embarrass all of us. I don’t agree with anything he says or does. He is destructive, dangerous and perhaps mentally ill. He has strained America’s relationships with everyone, he has lied and then lied to cover up the lies. He is superficial, unwilling to learn or lead and unwilling to examine or admit mistakes, lies or anything else. But, we elected him.
There are people still debating the election results, but like it or not we elected Trump. As a collective we are stapled like an addendum to all that he says, does and doesn’t do. We are the addenda to the name calling of other world leaders, or shoving them out of the way. We are the addenda to betraying, belittling and besmirching presidents, prime ministers, mayors and anyone else from around the world who does not subscribe to leadership through bullying.
I apologise for backward policies toward immigration, free trade, global citizenship and even basic good will. The America I have known and was taught to believe in is better than that. It’s a place where ideas can flourish and be debated. It’s a place where differences of opinion are offered. Perhaps dismissed but at least heard and considered as part of international policy debate. But we elected a President who doesn’t follow this belief.
I apologise for how the US has polarised itself. Where race continues to be an issue we have never fully resolved since our civil war in the 1860s. We will always struggle with our relationship to slavery and its impact on all of us. Our President knows this weakness and exploits the race wounds of centuries past at every opportunities he gets. Even if it’s not an opportunity, he injects race and race divisions into all of his policy decisions.
But polarisation has been elevated to more than race. Policies about who can and can not visit the United States, policies on who can and can not work in the United States, even policies about family members from other countries who can visit the United States deepen this polarisation and division. While I disagree, we did elect him as President.
I apologise for the “us versus them” sensibility that pervades our country. The “America first” notion is based on 18th century thinking. One that divides creates suspicion and conflict. One that doesn’t recognise gifts of foreign goods and services workers or cultural exchanges, that doesn’t respect the importance of international perspectives, changes in culture, changes in who we are.
Perhaps the Ben Franklin quote is true: “Travel makes a wise man better but a fool worse.” But we elected a non-traveller. We elected a President who doesn’t see any value in anything other than self-promotion. We elected Ben Franklin’s fool.
I apologise. But I have hope that some in the world see what the United States could be. I hope that when an American presents that dark blue passport, emblazoned with the symbol of American bald eagle clutching an olive breach on one foot and arrows on the other, that there is some symbolism there beyond war versus peace.
That symbol is also a small attempt from non-important, regular people to show that we can be a country of contrite and reflective citizens. That we can elect someone with limited vision that says and does hateful awful things, who creates chaos and pain. But we can also look to the other foot, the one with the olive branch and know that while we can apologise, we need to own who we have elected.
Just as peace prevails, we can find solace in friends throughout the world who can accept our apology and hope for a future America that is a reliable, trustworthy and honest friend.