Day 414 – Isolationist and Xenophobic, Mr. President. Probably What You Hoped For Our Country When You Said Make America Great Again. But It’s Not What We, as a Nation, Are Meant To Be.
Image from Tim Messick’s Blog
In the last few days, you’ve begun a trade war that will hurt more Americans than it will help (your own party’s leadership admits as much) and which treats our allies and trading partners as economic enemies. Simultaneously, the Trans-Pacific Partnership was ratified (including, among others, the huge economies of Canada and Japan), establishing stronger ties between those nations and leaving us on the outside looking in.
I’m not really writing today to debate the merits of these moves as much I would like to point out that moving forward, there will be two types of countries on this planet: those that isolate themselves and choose to look inwardly, and those that recognize that the world is growing smaller and smaller, and that reaching outward rather than trying to wall ourselves off from the globe will be essential in so many more ways than economically.
Your stupid, wasteful, pointless border wall is the perfect symbol, Mr. President, for who you are and for the version of America you are dangerously working to advance. You claim the wall will protect us, though in reality it cannot (even assuming, as I do not, that there is good reason for it in the first place). It makes us look foolish to the world, and it insults people of other cultures who label us as xenophobes. It redirects precious funds that could be used for good. It distracts us from the real issues we should be debating – including your sanity and competence as a leader. And it is all about limiting our participation in the larger world, settling for base tribalism over searching for commonalities and, yes, for love among us all.
I learned in school that America’s unique strength was that we were made up out of so many cultures and peoples. While I am not naïve enough to think that this has always been celebrated, I have believed that it was our aspiration. You have destroyed that belief in me. America is no longer welcoming. We no longer look outside our borders to invite people searching for freedom and democracy. We are no longer the envy of the world in how we manage to co-exist as many cultures that form one people. E Pluribus Unum – “out of many, one” – is no longer a motto the country, under your leadership, stands for.
All this is to say that we have much work to do. We, the people. Working to reestablish the foundational beliefs that for so long defined the kind of nation we have wanted to be. To improve the union we have struggled so long to perfect. Please, leave. Abdicate your throne so that we can again have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. And that we can take our place in the global community again, not shrinking inside ourselves, closing our eyes and our hearts, and thinking we are “great again” only because we are unwilling to look outside ourselves to imagine anything more than what we have already been.