I am an American. There is no denying it. My passport says so, my birth certificate says so....everything about who I am is American. That being said, recently I have had a really hard time with that fact because I am now traveling out of the country as an American.
Even just a few weeks ago that used to be something to brag about, something to hold your head up high and puff your chest out about. Its America. A great country. Under Barack maybe even the greatest country. A country where all are (technically) born with unalienable rights....a country where it shouldn't matter who you are or where you come from (again, technically but that's for another time.)
But sadly those times seem to have come to an end. I have found myself walking the streets of India choosing very carefully who I tell that I am an American. I have found myself 90% of the time saying that I am Canadian......and we all know how Americans feel about Canadians ;) We are the laughing stock of the global powers. We are a joke. No one takes us seriously anymore. No longer do people, when they hear I am from America, want to know about the cities, the beautiful National Parks - all they associate us with is Trump. Because the unfortunate reality is that we now exist in Trump's America - not the people's America.
My father texted me and just warned me....that with the legislation Trump has been pushing through this past week, people will likely jump to conclusions and have preconceived notions about who we are and what we believe. It pained me to read that because it only reaffirmed what I was already experiencing.
In my tour group, my friend Jake and I are the only Americans. I immediately noticed that they have majour generalizations about us. Whether it be social, economical or political it all got to me and I found myself having to fully defend my country. Defend its integrity and legitimacy. Defend its name and honor. I had to try and defend our political system, one that was once praised and modeled after, but now mocked and laughed at.
I think it has finally hit me that America is not all that it is built up to be. There is a lot to be done domestically but also internationally in terms of our reputation and legitimacy. We are not the country we once were.
Thank you to anyone who took part in the Women's Marches around the country and around the world....you are what I love about my country. You are what it truly means to be American.
Someone who really embodies that ideal for me is my Mum. She, along with millions of other women and men took to the streets to protest and make their voice heard. She has taught me everything I know about what America is and I want to thank her for that. Huge shoutout to her because Jan 30th is her birthday! Happy birthday Mum. Love you so much. Sorry I am not there to celebrate with you.
To end, I think what I am finding hardest is taking pride in my country. A place that I have unlimited love for has left me with a bad taste in my mouth, and now I am thousands of miles away learning what people really think about us. All in all this is when it is up to people such as myself to demonstrate that not all Americans are like our lovely elected President. So I am suiting up and going out with my best attitude and hopefully will be able to show some people what it truly means to be an American.