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From a student perspective

American politics

Autor(en): Maria Cordes , Evan Cooley am Donnerstag, 26. Juli 2018
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Quelle: pixabay.com

Stars and Stripes

Die Amerikaner und ihren Präsidenten verstehen. Ein Wunsch vieler Europäer. Ein Beitrag unserer Praktikanten aus Cincinnati, Ohio.


Maria Cordes and Evan Cooley are American students that have been studying in Munich for the past four weeks and have encountered many questions regarding the current state of U.S. politics. More specifically, President Donald Trump.  It is difficult to truly understand the political climate of the United States from the outside looking in, so today they will be discussing how they have reacted to international perceptions of politics in the United States since they have been abroad.

Fascination with U.S. Politics

Politics of any kind is a common conversational topic, and internationally, I feel that Europeans have a fascination with U.S. politics since it has become such a spectacle; particularly after the 2016 presidential election.  In my experience, if I tell someone here I am from the United States, they are quick to associate that with Donald Trump.  As someone that frequently disagrees with him, that is not the impression I would like the rest of the world to have of Americans. That being said, one of the most common questions we have been asked since being in Europe is simply, “How did Donald Trump get elected?”  I personally did not realize how big of a shock this was to other countries because while there was shock throughout the United States, we are very aware of how large and radicalized the political divide has become. This was a huge contributing factor to President Trump’s campaign because not only is there a divide between the two major political parties, but also a generational divide in opinions, as well as a racial divide.  Related to that, many minorities, younger citizens, or people with liberal ideals do not go out to vote, and radicals do.

Fake News

Internationally, people are familiar with the term “fake news”, but often do not realize how this is further widening the divide.  There are no major news outlets that are completely neutral, and on the contrary, some have very clear biases.  If one only watches news that aligns with one’s viewpoints there is no diversity of opinions. Those viewpoints then get reaffirmed to the point where one becomes completely close-minded to an opposing opinion.  So in the case that another network has something that is contradicting to what you believe, it is often labeled as “fake news”.  This becomes dangerous because some people dismiss the viewpoints of others just because they disagree with it, claiming that is false information.  Nowadays it is hard to have a civil conversation with people of differing opinions, because the media is so polarizing. I love hearing different opinions, and that is something that I appreciate about Europe because in my experience, people are generally more diverse and well traveled here.  In the U.S., unless you are in a major city or university, it is not likely you will be exposed to much diversity, which is a realization I made when I started university.  Exposure to different cultures and opinions is vital to understanding, and that is one of the biggest issues when it comes to the political situation in the U.S. currently.

International Effects

One of Trump’s key promises to American voters during the election was “America First,” a mindset of governing that takes the lives and prosperity of Americans into account first. While this seems harmless, Trump has misconstrued this concept with treating those who don’t benefit him in any way with contempt and utter disrespect. This includes minorities, members of the LGBT community, as well as foreign nations and those who inhabit them. My President is a man who has said "Crime in Germany is way up…..allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!" as well as “Germany owes us vasts amounts of money”, and “Germans are very bad people”. All of which are incorrect, as the German government does not directly owe the U.S. government anything, crime in Germany is at a 30 year low, and Germans have been nothing but welcoming to me.

Patriotism vs Nationalism

Donald Trump and his supporters have shifted America’s focus to nationalism rather than patriotism. Working hand-and-hand with foreign nations is seen as almost traitorous, even though reciprocal respect ensures the best interest for the citizens of both countries. I have a deep love for my country, and that is why I am critical of Donald Trump and his fallibility. On July 4th, the United States’ Independence Day, there was a party in a popular Munich courtyard surrounded by Americans as well as students from all over the world. An hour into the party, a few guys set up a Trump flag in the middle of the crowd. Now, instead of happily celebrating my nations’ holiday, I was embarrassed that Germans who walked past would label all attendees as supporters of Donald Trump. But due to his constant inflammatory remarks and immature behavior, the actions of only a handful of people made passers-by roll their eyes as they looked upon what they perceived to be a crowd full of intolerant people. That is what Donald Trump has done to the United States of America.


Platte des Monats

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