Editor’s note: This guest op-ed has been edited for factual accuracy, clarity and to adhere to the CU Independent’s standards of grammar and mechanics.
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The 2016 election is different than anything we have seen before. Tensions are high, people are conflicted and everyone seems to be more entertained by the candidates battling it out than concerned with the future of our once great country.
Even though Donald Trump has a slim chance of becoming president, it is still extremely unsettling that a predicted 43.6 percent of voters support him despite his vulgar, ignorant, narcissistic behavior, and will check his name off on their ballot. Trump himself may not be here to stay, but the effects of his rise in the political world will resonate for years to come.
In the eyes of other countries, Americans are already viewed as loud, superficial and uncultured, and Trump is living up to those stereotypes beautifully. He is burning bridges in almost every continent, which reflects poorly on us as a country and will have a lasting impression on other nations since we have allowed him to have so much significance in this political race. For instance, Trump called Mexicans coming into our country “rapists” and drug smugglers, and threatened to build a wall to keep them out. It is no surprise, then, that Latin America is so angry with him.
He is also very public about his hate and distrust towards Islamic culture, which places America in a very “us vs. them” situation with the Middle East. If all this wasn’t enough, Trump is also a supporter of, and has been complimented by, the Russian communist leader Vladimir Putin. Putin may be the most hated man in Europe, and he has said that he thinks Trump is “talented” and is “absolutely” the leader in the election. If other countries start to view Americans as supporters of the Putin regime, we may as well kiss our respect goodbye.
Europeans have said that since Trump came into the spotlight, it has made them feel “superior” to Americans, and rightly so. Even China chimed and wrote in a state-owned newspaper that Trump is a shining example of how democracy can fail miserably. According to them, having no democracy keeps sociopaths like Trump from gaining any ounce of power.
The main issue with Trump is that he fascinates people, whether they hate him or love him. He is a bull in a china shop, and it is something we haven’t seen before in American politics. He doesn’t play by the rules, he speaks and acts impulsively, he is misogynistic and insulting and all this while being completely unapologetic. His absurdity has caused him to become so ingrained in pop culture that everyone is talking about him, and I don’t think people realize how damaging it is for our future that we have allowed a man of this nature to get so close to running our country.
We are a democracy — Trump did not just appear out of nowhere, so if this is what America wants, then I think Trump has done us a favor by running and revealing just how messed up the American mentality and American politics has become. Hopefully now we can work on repairing our once just political system, as well as the American mindset.
Nefeli Southern is a CU Boulder student taking a Strategic Writing in Public Relations course; this piece was written for that course.