What I don’t get about America—what I really want to know is—are people really that stupid?

Franz was an older gentleman, born in Amsterdam but living in Norway for 39 years and perfectly represented the strong, quiet stereotypes of the Norwegians. He was one of four other people in the room, all of whom turned their heads toward me after he finished his question, as if to say, “Okay, you’re on, make your case.”

Over the next five minutes I talked about my various ideas regarding media proliferation, capitalist influence and Ronald Reagan as to how America’s social fabric has deconstructed and what brought about the timeline that ended up with the Trump administration. I mentioned how the very type of conversation we were having is relatively unheard of in America because individualist competition comes into play even in politically aligned dialogues. That the fundamental understanding of what being a citizen is in a democracy is not really taught as a point of pride and influence, but rather submission. That definition of identity is assumed through purchasing and what is possible for one to purchase, rather than being a part of a community.

It was a stirring political dialogue that ended with the others in the room—an Aussie, a Brit, Franz and his son—all talking about how they perceived America and its recent fall from the rails of normalcy. Their observations and assumptions weren’t wrong, if perhaps just a little confused as to the How could you let this happen? question of American society. I spoke a bit more about how much commercial influence has governed the evolution of what community is defined as, instead of people leading the way. The room seemed to approve of me, which is a test I’m familiar with. Being an American abroad right now is not an advantage, it’s a trial.

At the end of the night, Franz took up and said, I’d best be going, shook my hand on the way out and I asked him not to give up on all of us. He just turned to me, smiled and said, “Make America great again, please.”

Posted to Social at 06:30 on 16 April 2018

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