I’m a US Expat and Was Told to Shut Up! Well … I Didn’t!
Did you march on Saturday too? How incredible was that? Best party ever, woo!
I was amongst 100 lovely women and men in Düsseldorf, Germany. This, and a few other marches, were organized by the Democrats Abroad. You see, I’m a US expat and have been living in Germany for 21 years. We were a small group, but that was awesome because it gave us the opportunity to say why we were there.
Those 4 hours brought so much energy, compassion, love and goodness to my heart and soul, I still have chills! I will never forget that experience, nor the people I met. I’m still Fired Up and Ready to Go! And that’s a good thing because that was just the beginning. I’m afraid, we have a LOT more work to do!
I was told on Friday via Facebook, shortly after the inauguration, that I do not live there, therefore, he IS not my president. That was one woman’s comment to the profile pic I design that read #notmypresident.
She’s a Trump supporter and this is about the 10th time she’s told me I should shut up and instead be ashamed of myself for my opposing democratic/far left views and dislike for Trump.
I unfriended her yesterday. I’ve had enough of her. Sad thing is, she’s a retired teacher. We fought on FB during the height of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and I was shocked to read her words. I actually didn’t think she — or others — thought this way. Appalling!
I have to thank her though because she encouraged me even more to march. To speak up and to continue to fight for people’s rights.
I must admit though, she’s right about one thing, they are not my rights anymore, because I don’t live there.
I don’t HAVE to fight for affordable healthcare or gun control because I already have it.
I don’t have to fight for a leader who respects other people because I live in a country that would never repeat that part of history again.
What I’ve noticed lately though is that it’s a common perception amongst conservative Americans. They have told me that because I don’t live there or because other people are not citizens (reference to Roger Waters incredible performance of ‘Pigs’ in Mexico City on Friday), they have no say and should just keep their mouths shut.
I call BS every single time because I know about the ripple effect and how some ripples turn into tsunamis. I know what damage a wall can do too. And I know what a country that cares for its people can offer. I now live in one and I can compare.
I am still a citizen. I still pay taxes if I earn enough and if not, I still have to file them. And. I still vote.
I get upset when someone tells me it’s not my business because I care about my loved ones. I care about people of color, minorities and immigrants. Where do we ALL come from? History lesson #101.
I care about the LGBT community, the less fortunate and people who need medical care, both physical and mental. I care about issues like gun control, maternity leave, reproduction rights, religious tolerance, animal rights and saving our environment.
I also care about RESPECT and TOLERANCE towards others.
After writing this kind of stuff back to that one woman, another Trump supporter wrote, ‘Jess, it kinda sounds like you’re being intolerant, now doesn’t it?’.
My answer to that? ‘Yes, you’re absolutely right, I am intolerant to racism, homophobia, disrespect towards others, etc.’ And then he started in on how the US kicked Germany’s butt 2x and destruction to the EU, etc. It got real messy. I had to finally say, ‘His name, please stop, you’re embarrassing yourself because you don’t know what the heck you’re talking about’. I wrote some other word other than ‘heck’ though…
My friends, both American and German were quick to my rescue, supporting me the whole time. He finally backed down, but my goodness! What the what? sheesh!
This is what Trump has caused, folks! Some people now think they have permission to speak rudely towards others. And to insult minorities who don’t have the same privileges. It’s just sad and pathetic.
It’s emotionally draining, but I will never shy away from voicing my opinion and defending those who don’t have the same privileges as I. Which brings me to my next point.
Oh gosh, the list really does go on and on, but those are the main reasons why I love living in Germany and why I’ll never move back. Well, that and they brew the best beer ever. EVER!
I also want these things for my fellow Americans and I will continue to talk about these issues because I know there are people out there who are listening and fighting for the same thing.
YES, we all pay our dues, no doubt. The rich pay more than the middle class, the middle class more than the lower class. Germany is (almost) a Democracy with a Social System. I don’t think any country is a true 100% democracy. America, btw, is a republic.
And the words social, socialism or social system are NOT negative. What? The concept has such a bad rap in the states, only because it’s hugely misunderstood. All it really means is this that it’s a ‘we, the people’, not ‘me, myself and I’ system.
We don’t just talk about taking care of each other, we actually do it! Via programs similar to what I mentioned above…
I said in a radio interview on Friday and on Saturday on that podium that I wish every single American would live in a foreign country for at least one year. Just to embrace themselves in a different culture and get away from this American ‘ME’ ideology. That way, when they come back, they will be able to look at their own country with a different perspective. A more open worldly view. To look at the big picture and not just their own four walls.
It enlightened me to get away. Sure, it was hard to hear the huge amounts of criticism of the American system and mentality when I first moved, but then I realized, ‘damn, these people are right! What the heck are we doing? We are so greedy in the states and only care about ourselves’.
I have nothing against the ‘think globally, act locally’ concept, but as soon as it becomes a ‘think locally, act locally and that’s that’ mentality, that’s when problems start.
And with this administration, I fear it will even get worse. It has already started.
It’s not perfect here of course, but no means, but, for me, it’s SO much better. And I know, for a fact, that if Americans experienced what I have over the past 21 years, they may feel the same way.
So after these Facebook wars, I’m ready to breathe again. I’m ready to focus my energy on the actual issues at hand. I will continue to speak my mind, but will choose who is worthy of my time and will only communicate with those people. If I don’t, I will end up having a heart attack.
Let me leave you with this. I think it’s time for all of us to go back to the basics, stand in front of the mirror and say, ‘I am no better than anyone and nobody’s better than me.’ Kudos to this loving dad for showing us one powerful way how to instill tolerance, self-confidence and love in our children’s hearts and minds.
So, continue to voice your opinions because your voice matters and it needs to be heard! And as a fellow marching Canadian expat who knitted me a pussy hat on the fly within minutes said in her speech, ‘Fight for the minority groups who don’t feel they have a voice and who need our support to get them the same privileges’.
YES, power to the people who care about other people!
Originally published at medium.com