As a woman, I’m already good at apologizing for things that aren’t my fault but this has really taken it to a new level.
I’ve been in Europe for a month now, longer than any vacation and have fallen into a routine of school and work, and gallivanting around the Continent every weekend. As a political science student I’m genuinely interested in discussing and learning about the political differences between the US and Europe. But the one are where I’m running a bit ragged? Trump.
It’s an inevitable point of discussion with every European I meet and follows the same pattern. They bring it up, I vehemently declare that I did not vote for him, that I abhor everything he stands for, that he is a danger to me and those I love, they ramble on about how they simply can’t believe that America elected such a buffoon and make remarks related to how America is an international laughingstock.
I don’t know how to explain that virulent racism and xenophobia run rampant in my country, that the wealthy white men in power do not care for the lives of women, of black people and people of color, of indigenous folkx. They do not care about the poor or LGBTQ or Muslim. In fact they are actively working to further disenfranchise and oppress those groups.
I am aware that America is not a bastion of equality. Trust me, I’m the first one in line when it comes to criticizing the racist, imperialist, mess of a nation I hail from. The supposed richest country in the world that cannot provide clean water to its citizens.
But quite frankly, it’s exhausting to apologize for and explain that I did not want this for my country.
Thinking about this actually brought to mind the white men complaining that they shouldn’t have to feel chagrinned at the transgressions of other white men, but they’re not apologizing for the actions of the other men, they’re apologizing for a system that they benefit from.
Me apologizing for Trump is like getting punched in the face and then apologizing to bystanders that they had to see that.