Da chokket havde lagt sig efter sidste præsidentsvalg i USA og Trump var valgt, var der gang i den politiske debat i USA. Nu holder republikanere og demokrater sig hver for sig, naboer tør ikke længere tale sammen. Min egen nysgerrighed har også ændret sig, en udmattende træthed har desværre overtaget en sprudlende nysgerrighed….
Trumps America: exhaustion has settled in most people… unfortunately also in me
When the shock had subsided after the last US presidential election and Trump was elected, the political debate in the United States was under way. Now Republicans and Democrats are sticking to each other, neighbors no longer dare to talk to each other. My own curiosity has also changed, an exhausting fatigue has unfortunately taken over a bubbling curiosity.
Yesterday I met the grandmother of one of my children’s friends on my afternoon walk. We had a long talk about the upcoming presidential election and her frustration with the political situation in the United States right now. She told about the young people who live on the other side of the road opposite her house. They drive around with a fluttering American flag from the trunk of the truck, which is littered with messages like “Do not take my rights away from me!” – a hint that they do not want gun laws – and “Trump 2020”. “They are young, they have not seen what we older people have seen. They lack content in their lives. I have decided to meet them with kindness and love, ”she said. “But I’m afraid we’ll end up with a dictator in the White House, all the signs are there. My mantra at the moment is: vote, need everything in the world your democratic right. ”
And then there’s the craftsman who’s currently working in my house. This morning, I spoke to him and asked if he had voted in the primary election that has just been held here in the state of Washington. I told him that I am interested in how people view voting by post, that the process here is so much different than in Denmark. To my surprise, he replied that he did not vote. “My vote does not matter here in Washington. I’m a conservative, so I’m not quite right-wing, I just belong more to the conservative wing than the one the Democratic Party stands for. We live in a blue state, so it’s just as much about voting. ” I asked him how he felt about living in a state where he did not feel he had any influence on the decision-making process. And then he said something that I think is very telling for how people deal with differences here – political, cultural, religious, etc .: “I surround myself with people who have the same values as me.”
That’s exactly the problem right now. Whether one agrees politically with the grandmother I met on my stroll or with my craftsman, it is a huge democratic problem that people do not feel heard politically. Here it is the Republicans who do not have a vote, in many states in the south the same applies just with the reverse sign for those who vote for the Democratic Party.
What about the curiosity about it differently?
The way the American electoral system is put together is, if anything, helping to divide the United States and its people, and it will certainly not be lessened by the current politically heated situation we are in with the Corona pandemic, the military in the streets and constant various political crises. , which Trump has been so adept at initiating, breathing in and exploiting.
I feel the change in the atmosphere at my own setting. I have become more cynical. When we got here, I was interested in hearing the views of as many different people as possible. I found it exotic to hear about religious ideologies, about the view of the role of the public in the life of the individual, about the attitude to owning and carrying weapons, yes to everything that was different from what I came from – my curiosity contained an openness and friendliness in relation to the individual human being. Now I no longer do what I was convinced upon arrival in the United States would make me grow as a human being that I was eager, accommodatingly sure, would open my horizons.
Because I no longer reach out and invite as many different people as possible to dinner in my home – in my private life I do exactly like my craftsman Charlie, who right now is struggling to get the basement of my house ready for the kids’ online home schooling. after the summer holidays – I surround myself with those who share my views. I’m still interested in other people’s opinions, it teases me to meet people who have completely different approaches to life than I myself have. And nuances work fine for dinner party purposes, I just can not stand the discussions around the dinner table with people who have fundamentally different attitudes and values than I myself have.
In the time immediately following the election of Trump, after the shock of his election had subsided, politics were hotly debated in the streets and alleys, in restaurants, and in virtually every social context. Not so anymore. People carefully avoid the subject, it is too delicate, and one risks becoming unfriended with one’s neighbor. Trump’s time in the White House has not benefited the conversation between dissidents or the Democratic conversation.
For how far do you have to go when discussing politics, religion and culture with people? When does the boundary cross, when is something interesting, foreign, consciousness-expanding, and when is it decidedly misinformation, ignorance, and conspiracy theory? There are many answers to that, depending on who you talk to on your daily walk around the neighborhood.