In 2008 the air was filled with politics—even in Europe, the mere mention of being an American would flood the conversation with one topic: the election. It was the great election of hope, where Barak Obama was leading the Democrats to what ultimately became a victory, and Europeans watching on the sidelines were waiting to see if we could dig ourselves out of the mess George W. Bush created. Through all of my discussions, with teachers, locals, strangers and friends in Europe, I came to understand that they pay attention to our elections—more so than some of us Americans even—and that their opinions help shape the foreign outlook of the United States way beyond that one pivotal day in November.
Spoiler Alert: The day of the election, because of the time difference, I was holed up in my friend’s apartment in Florence forcing myself to stay awake as the results poured in. For a good part of a year I had paid close attention to the platform Obama had built, and I, like so many Americans, was ready to see this change he had promised us. Now, I wanted to see a part of history as it happened. Unfortunately, I fell asleep around 4 a.m. before any official call was made. But that morning, when Florence’s residents started stirring, it was clear who had won. I heard cheers from the streets—people who do not live in the United States and would not have a direct day to day interaction with the new President and his policies were ecstatic over the outcome—Obama had won.
George W. Bush was not our worst president, but he did bring upon the U.S. enough turmoil with our foreign relations to leave a bad taste in our mouths. Yes, history will cut him some slack based on the circumstances—9/11 was the worst attack on U.S. soil in our history, and something any president would struggle to deal with—but sending troops to Iraq and Afghanistan brought us into a new era of bipartisanship that has only gotten worse. In 2008, Dems were unhappy with Bush and wanted a new leader who lined closer with their ideals. Today, Republicans are facing the same feeling—their distaste for Obama has made Republican leaders increasingly angry and aggressive, and as America works to crawl out of the results of the recession, voters are looking for a savior.
When you compare the two elections on that scale, you can understand why Republicans want to see one of their own back in the White House. But their candidate, Donald Trump, is not the right option.
There are so many reasons we could list as to why Donald Trump is wrong for the presidency. His racist, misogynist, aggressive, hot-headed, unnerving demeanor has turned him into one of the most hated candidates the opposition has faced. But I want to look at one small part of this list: his inability to compromise, and work with foreign leaders.
We saw firsthand this week how Trump would handle a discussion with other leaders—in Monday’s debate against Hillary Clinton, Trump’s unpredictability, and lack of control, was his own undoing. With only a few light pushes from Clinton, Trump spiraled down a rabbit hole of insults and nonsensical commentary that made him look like an utter fool. It was a taste of how he would handle difficult situations in the future—his lack of experience, and his hunger for power and praise would lead America to sever ties with countries past leaders worked tirelessly to negotiate with—it would be disastrous for our foreign policy and relations across the globe.
In my travels throughout this election season, there is one question I regularly face: Why Trump? It seems that other countries are just as confused as I am about how we got here, how of all the candidates out there, Trump was the best the Republicans could produce. Sure, some countries would celebrate a Trump presidency, but for the majority of the world, seeing Trump in office could cause a lot more problems for travelers.
It’s important to see the issues and really hear what each candidate running in this election has to offer—I, myself, have already made up my mind, but I think it’s important to look at the big picture. We’re still only one part of this big world, and if our leader refuses to work fairly and justly with other countries, and throws tantrums every time he doesn’t get his way, it will be disastrous for the millions of Americans here in the country, and scattered around the world.