“Please tell everyone in Germany that we hate Trump”, a guest at our birthday party begged me. Since I arrived, I haven’t brought up the president with anyone (except maybe Emily) because it feels wrong to visit a place and condescedingly tell the locals how to run their country. But I don’t even have to mention him, he’s the elephant in the room and Americans willingly steer the conversation toward the Trump subject.
Some of them talk about “the situation now” which sounded as if there was a war raging on home territory. Others I witnessed taking a photo of the first amendment and saying “I’ll tweet that to Trump!” I overheard bus drivers discussing which march was happening on the weekend because apparently it’s not a question of whether there are protesters but only which group is protesting this week.
When I went into a little store in Georgetown and the young shop assistant learned I was German, she said, “I probably shouldn’t be asking this, but does the German media report on American politics?” Her tone was embarrassed and it almost felt like I had to console her saying that I know not all Americans are like Trump. “At least there’s Brexit”, she said, “which makes me feel like we’re not the only country in shambles”.
Witnessing public life first hand here has actually made me, to my own surprise, more optimistic about the American people than I was before. Of course, the East Coast and urban areas are generally more liberal and progressive. But let it be known that the majority of Americans voted against Trump.
America is not just a country, America is an idea. Because when it comes down to it, this is about keeping faith with the idea of America. (Bono at UPenn andGeorgetown)