der Sprachwerk Blog
Mild Chaos: An American in Germany on Donald J Trump
Where to begin?
2016 went by, then so did 2017. Here we are midway through 2018 and I've neglected to discuss the elephant in the room. That is the big blubbering mass of ineptitude that is the current US administration. Led by our president elect Donald Trump who might resemble a pachyderm, but hardly has the thick skin required to take the criticism that comes with being in the Oval Office.
As easy as it is to joke about all of this, it is an incredibly serious and deep topic full of twists and turns, many of which do not amount to anything, similar to President Trump's diction—or lack of.
So where to start in this mess? Even as I write this, new tweets and big stories are being sent out. It is nigh impossible to keep up. So instead of focusing on the drama I would like to provide some insight from my own perspective as an American here in Germany.
Out of respect to those who accidentally voted for him, and it had to be an accident because why would someone intentionally cause this trainwreck, I will not speak about specific types of people who follow him. Nor will I refer to them as uneducated or racist. However, I will say that many followers I have spoken to have a very specific mindset. Almost primal in nature, the number one motivating factor seems to be self-preservation. These Americans tend to look out for themselves, and I don't mean fellow-Americans. I mean me and mine. The Republican party is similar to the German Liberal party despite having a completely different meaning there. When broken down, the average Republican just wants to work, get paid for said work, and survive in a materialistic society that idolizes billionaires who worked hard for their parents' money. With the work done they feel they shouldn't be obliged to share their earnings with others. As I said, it is about me and mine. This is a fine mindset to have and there is nothing wrong with feeling this way. After all, sharing is just what we teach children. Us adults don't need that. The problem comes from the fact that many Republicans are so motivated by the idea of having an ever so slightly larger paycheck that they forget to read the fine print: the part about budget cuts to public education, or how the Republican party consistently votes for bills that offer no benefit and, in many cases, hurt the average citizen. Things like privacy, fair pay, and job security have all been voted against by the Republican party. However, at the end of the day, an extra $100 a month can be rather enticing.
Obviously, there is so much more to this than my basic breakdown. What interests me the most personally and perhaps the reason for such a culture shock is the reaction I have seen here in Germany. The entire election seemed to be covered more than Germany's own political news, and even to this day, I see pictures of President Trump's rather unique demeanor featured on news sites more often than not. I've come to realize that America has a huge influence on world politics. Much larger than I ever thought before, and so much so that there was a lingering fear for a while that the quality of life here would be negatively affected. Also that Europe would begin to break apart. Just ignore those posh guys across the channel. Instead I've noticed something else happening. A spark was lit which opened the way for more far-right parties such as the AfD to have a voice. US politics seem to set a trend. A trend that many see as inherently bad. Altruism is a beautiful word that unfortunately has come to be about me and mine. With the world being more globalized than ever before, we are at a point in time where we need to take true altruism to heart.
In the end, I can only be curious about the future. Being in Germany has opened up my eyes to so much more, not just here, but in the whole world. It is my hope that my fellow Americans learn from these recent events, and as they continue to unfold in tragically comedic fashion, understand the world stage the US is dancing so clumsily upon. Because we all exist in this world together, we are all human, and as such we should be standing together lifting those who are not able to do so on their own.