The Ugly American (6)

I was thinking yesterday about Cinco de Mayo and how our country managed to use this relatively unimportant date in Mexican history to celebrate Mexican culture instead of choosing to honor a date that holds deeper meaning in Mexico, like el 16 de septiembre. It makes me sad, and it makes me embarrassed to be an estadounidense (someone from the United States). I have long been embarrassed by our reputation traveling abroad, for being demanding, arrogant, condescending, for expecting all our whims to be met and met instantly, for believing people in other countries should put aside their local traditions and customs in order to cater to and accommodate us. I was mortified when we elected Bush—twice!—and appalled when he refused to even pause when millions of people all over the world took to the streets to protest attacking Iraq. There may not be an adjective for what I feel now knowing Trump is the presumptive Republican candidate for president. When this started we were all so sure he’d be disregarded, dismissed. How could anyone take him seriously?

Now I am baffled and angry to see so many people voting for him. How can people ignore the malice and racism he’s so steeped in? I’m hideously ashamed of our country in the eyes the world, our dark, decaying underbelly exposed, maggots everywhere. I cling to one comfort that has come to me in recent times. I may be ashamed to be an estadounidense, but I am glad to be a Californian. I’m proud of the way our state has separated itself from the anti-immigrant stance. I’m not saying we don’t have more work to do, but at least we’re moving in the right direction, granting driver’s licenses, minimizing police cooperation with federal deportation officials, changing Medi-Cal laws to provide healthcare for the children of undocumented immigrants, raising the minimum wage. So, today I reach for solace in this gift, that I belong to a state who is trying to change things for the better. And I pray Trump will be defeated by an overwhelming and embarrassing margin. I pray come election day we’ll see evidence the true majority of people in this country understand what he espouses is wrong-hearted and vindictive, that at the end of this messy, ugly, humiliating spectacle the people of this country will do the right thing.

[Editor’s note: I don’t mean to imply here the United States doesn’t have much more egregious sins than these when it comes to our participation in the world or at home. This known catalog is endless and disturbing to say the least.]

3 thoughts on “The Ugly American (6)

  1. I found it ironic that when Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan said he wouldn’t endorse Trump he didn’t cite Trump’s jingoism and racism as reasons, but that he was not conservative enough!

  2. Hi Keith. I have to admit to not following things as closely as I would like, but yes—this is just the kind of crazy “big ugly elephant in the room” behavior the whole reality seems to evoke. Somehow instead of dismissing him from the beginning we have been taking him seriously.

    Thanks very much for commenting! :)

  3. Hi Riba,

    The disaffection Trump and Sanders have tapped into are going to make for interesting political times in the next decade. Could any two candidates be further apart? It feels as if the U.S. is more divided than ever…

    … and yet, I believe that Clinton is going to win in a landslide. Trump boasts of his numbers, but they’re really not all that great…. they simply look good alongside the very weak candidates he ran against. Cruz would have never won the states he did without the Not Trump vote.

    Not to be the glass half-full kinda guy (I guess I am though) — but the amount of ink devoted to being incredulous about Trump is oddly reassuring to me.

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