How We Can Help (If We’re Not American)

by Brenna Holeman


Sunset in Phoenix, Arizona

The night of November 8th, I went to my local pub with a friend. We talked about a lot of things, but mainly we talked about the American election. Though he’s Scottish and I’m Canadian and we both live in London, it’s pretty difficult to deny that American politics don’t affect us all in some way, no matter where we live in the world. The president of the United States, after all, is “the leader of the Free World”, arguably one of the most powerful positions on the planet.

That night, I couldn’t sleep. I kept checking my phone and reading the news, hoping that something might change. At 6am, I texted my friend.

“We should have kept drinking,” I wrote. As the sun slowly rose over the city, I cried.


It’s hard for me to put into words how I’ve been feeling since yesterday morning, just as I imagine it is for so many people around the world. I was at a conference at the ExCel Centre, and the air among everyone there was one of disbelief and horror. I can’t even fathom how it must feel to be an American who did not want this result. My Facebook and Instagram feeds are all filled with sorrow, anger, and fear. There is so much I want to say and yet I, too, am too angry and too sad to articulate it properly. But, I have to admit, I am not completely shocked at what has happened. After watching what the UK decided this summer with Brexit, and after watching the American presidential campaigns unfold over the last year, I have been horrified at the racism, misogyny, bigotry, homophobia, and hatred that has emerged – especially from certain voters and members of the public (though it would be close-minded and incorrect to assume that everyone who voted Republican feels this way). Perhaps it was inevitable that it would come to a boiling point. My fear is that this result will make some people feel that they have the right to be openly racist and/or intolerant of others, that this result will legitimise hatred.

But now, the day after the results of the election, I sit here wondering what I can do. As mentioned, I’m a Canadian living in the UK – a privileged migrant – and some may argue this is not my fight. However, I believe that it is, in fact, our duty to reach out in times of need, no matter where we come from or what our backgrounds may be. I have spent considerable time in America, have many American friends, have lived next to America for the majority of my life, and, most importantly, I do not want to idly stand by when there is so much work to be done. The fight for human rights is on all of our shoulders, no matter our gender, religion, sexual orientation, country of origin, or colour of skin, but those of us with privilege – white, straight, able-bodied, financially stable, take your pick – need to fight even harder.

So how can those of us who aren’t American help out right now?

We can donate our money. There are a variety of organisations in America that help minority groups and champion equal rights for all. Jezebel has a great list. I have personally donated to Planned Parenthood and the NAACP today and I urge you to find an organisation that you feel passionate about, too.

We can reach out. I would wager that most of us around the world know at least a few Americans who are affected by this outcome. Reach out to people and send your love and support.

We can use our voices. If we live in countries where free speech is allowed, we should use it. Champion the rights of minorities and groups who need our help, be that on social media or in person. I’m ashamed of myself for not doing more online in the months leading up to the election because, I’ll admit it, I was scared of the backlash and the trolls. While this blog will always primarily be about travelling, I plan on writing more essays and opinion pieces, including those about human rights.

We can stay educated. Personally, I follow The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and BBC and CBC. I also follow many politically-minded American comedy shows with hosts like Seth Myers, Samantha Bee, and Trevor Noah. There are many more news outlets that I trust, and many that I don’t. But staying on top of news from around the world, and staying educated on what is happening in our own countries and abroad, will help all of us communicate better and with more meaning. Similarly, following people from all different backgrounds on social media is a great way to see life from all sorts of perspectives, not just from the perspectives of people who look exactly like us.

We can open our arms. There has been a lot of talk about Americans wanting to leave the USA and relocate abroad, especially to Canada. If anyone follows through on that decision, and decides to move abroad, let’s welcome them with open arms. I’ve so often been proud of Canada’s acceptance of immigrants, and that won’t stop today.

We can travel. Recently, I discussed Why We Need Travel More Than Ever in regards to terrorist attacks around the world. I strongly maintain that view, because I believe that travelling opens our minds and our hearts – it helps us learn about each other, communicate with each other, and empathise with each other. I for one am going to continue to travel to America; to paint all Americans with the same brush is foolish and unfair.

We can talk to one another. Clearly, as Hillary Clinton said in her concession speech, “America is more deeply divided than we thought.” And, seeing what happened with Brexit, perhaps the world is much more divided than we thought, too. It’s easy to forget how much miscommunication there is when you only follow liberal, progressive people and media on Facebook – I admit that I live in a bubble. I wrote a post earlier this year called, “People Are Good,” and yes, of course, in times like this it’s hard to believe that. But what is true is that tens of millions of people voted for the man who will take office in 2017. And it wasn’t all just straight, white, uneducated men who voted for him, either. We are all on this Earth together whether we like it or not, and the only way that we can stop fear and stop hatred and stop violence is by opening our minds to one another and listening to one another, no matter who we vote for. If only it were so easy.

And yes, I get it, I’m preaching to the choir, because I’m confident everyone who reads this blog is already open-minded and culturally aware. But we cannot assume that everyone who voted for that man is evil, nor can we even assume that they are racist or sexist or xenophobic or homophobic. We need to know why they cast their vote that way before we can truly judge. We cannot use violence, but we can use our words. It might be hard, so hard, but the only way we’ll contribute to meaningful change is if we keep going, and keep fighting for the rights of all human beings, no matter where they pray or who they love or where they come from.


Further Reading:

Kate just published a post called “Leaving is Easy. Fighting is Harder.” In it she discusses being an American expat and why she decided to come home. As she says, “Travel bloggers may extol the virtues of leaving, but coming back to fight for your country is admirable as well.”

Jackie published a very honest account of her anger, titled “Still With Her, Still a Nasty Woman.”

The New Yorker posted “An American Tragedy” by David Remnick: “despair is no answer.”

The New York Times did a round-up of the thoughts of their opinion writers. I especially like what Roxanne Gay, the first black woman to be a lead writer for Marvel, wrote: “For now, we need to breathe, stand tall and adjust to this new reality as best we can. We need — through writing, through protest, through voting in 2018 and 2020 — to be the checks and balances our government lacks so that we can protect the most defenseless among us, so that we can preserve the more perfect union America has long held as the ideal.” And in this round-up, when Lindy West said, “The fact that we lost doesn’t make us wrong; the fact that they don’t believe in us doesn’t make us disappear.”

Wait But Why posits, “But if we want to make the best of this, we need to ask a question: Why did those 50 million people vote for [the president]?” I don’t agree with everything in this post, but there are some points to consider.

A Letter to America by Leslie Knope, because fictional or not, she outlines some very important points regarding the future, especially for the girls of America.

Jezebel posted How to Fight Back, saying, “Everyday resistance needn’t be huge or flashy, but you can fight back every time you step out of your house.”

Electric Literature provides a list of Practical Ways for Writers and Teachers to Get Involved Right Now.

If you have other articles you feel are worth sharing, please leave them in the comments below and I can continue to add them to the post.


So yes, I am angry and I am sad, and I think that it is entirely natural and even healthy for people to grieve about this for a while. But it’s always darkest before the dawn. As someone wrote in a Facebook comment today (I can’t find the proper accreditation for this, my apologies): “Even in the chaos and darkness, challenge yourself to be the light.” Seeing what has unfolded over the past 24 hours – the outpouring of love, donations, support, and togetherness – has given me faith that this is something that will be overcome.

To my friends in America who are scared, angry, and dismayed, please know that there are millions of people around the world who will help you fight for human rights in every way that we can. We’re with you. If enough of us donate our money, our time, our support, and most importantly, our voices, I believe we can create meaningful change. We cannot stand by and do nothing because “it’s not our country”. We must join the fight.

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Cate November 11, 2016 - 12:12 am

Thank you so much for this Brenna! I am a high schooler in Nebraska, and very much a supporter of Hillary. I cannot articulate the fear, uncertainty, and sadness I and fellow americans feel about Donald Trump in the white house. It is horrific, and many protests are already popping up all over the states, including in my home town. Thank you to all international friends who support our cause, and the fight against a man that was elected by the system, not the majority of americans (Hillary won the popular vote)

Brenna Holeman November 11, 2016 - 2:54 pm

Hi Cate, I am so sorry that you are dealing with this right now. The international community is here to help in any way we can.

Sophia November 12, 2016 - 5:02 pm

I totally agree with you, Cate. I’m a high schooler as well, in New York. I am a huge Hilary supporter and am lucky enough to live in a liberal city, Buffalo, with liberal parents. One thing I have been holding onto since the election has been the majority of Americans did vote for Hilary, proving that our country did not support him, even though many did. Throughout my city and in neighboring towns, people have protested but also supported his election. About 20 miles from where I live, someone spray pained Make America White Again, with a Nazi Swastika on a softball dugout. I am deeply disturbed and scared for the future, but seeing people from around the world care has been incredible.

Brenna Holeman November 13, 2016 - 8:19 pm

Thank you for your comment, Sophia. What a horrible, horrible thing to do at the softball dugout… I really hoped that in 2016 we’d all be so much better than this. It’s going to take time, yes, but I agree that seeing everyone come together over the past few days has been amazing.

Danny November 11, 2016 - 12:21 am

I’m an American who’s been living in Germany for the past four years, and I’ve been grappling with the election results ever since I woke up yesterday morning. I have trouble putting my feelings into words, but I feel disillusioned, confused, anxious. Most of all, though, I feel like my country has become unrecognizable overnight.

Thank you for your support, your advocacy, and – most of all – your love. In times like these, all we can do is love.

Brenna Holeman November 11, 2016 - 2:58 pm

Thank you so much, Danny – I will do everything I can from London.

Adventurous Kate November 11, 2016 - 12:31 am

Thank you, Brenna.

I haven’t felt this angry, upset, confused, and fearful since 9/11. Today I had two panic attacks for the first time ever.

But the silver lining is that I have seen SO many people choosing to volunteer, donate money and time, and make the world a better place. I signed up for the national bone marrow registry today.

Brenna Holeman November 11, 2016 - 2:56 pm

Hi Kate – yes, that is a fantastic silver lining. Hopefully this will really light a fire under people to help support the causes that need it most.

Heather November 11, 2016 - 1:32 am

Thank you for this! I’ve been feeling like a stranger in my own country, surrounded by enemies. I thankfully live in California where we overwhelmingly said NO to Donald Trump, but it wasn’t enough. This state has been like a funeral the last couple of days. Nobody is laughing. Nobody is out having fun. Just depression, anger, and fear. I’m heading to a protest in downtown San Diego today because to protest is a constitutional right and my anger needs to be voiced. We need to send a message to those who chose to say yes to discrimination that we will NOT stand for this. This isn’t about Republicans and Democrats. This isn’t about differences in opinion on policy. This is about hatred and discrimination trying to take hold in the country of my birth and we need to fight back. I’ve been politically mobilized like never before. Since Tuesday, I have donated and have become a card carrying member of the ACLU and I’m fired up to fight for decency and compassion in this country. This isn’t over. He may have won this election, but the fight is just beginning.

Brenna Holeman November 11, 2016 - 2:59 pm

Thank you so much for your comment, Heather, and I’m so sorry that you’re dealing with this. You’re right, the fight is just beginning.

Laur Kamy November 11, 2016 - 1:55 am

Thanks for the kind words Brenna. Like you said, just because this is the American election, this is not just an American fight, it’s everyone’s.

I come from Connecticut, a state that went for Hillary. We are also a state that overwhelmingly voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary. Both times we voted for the more popular candidate and both times that was not upheld based on a rigged system that people are only now starting to realize needs to be changed. Part of the anger spawns from that, in that we feel our government cheated us again and again. Our voices were not heard at a time when we are taught they will be.

My biggest hope in the aftermath of this is exactly as you say, that people will keep travelling because it is so important now more than ever. I really hope people don’t see the election results and think this is how Americans actually feel. It is not. We are terrified of the next 4 years and the way to combat terror is to educate. We need people from different backgrounds to come to us and teach us that there are people out in the world who care and we need to teach them that just because we elected this…I say man in the loosest of terms does not mean we all talk and think like he does. He is not a representation of my country, he represents everything we need to fight against.

Brenna Holeman November 11, 2016 - 3:00 pm

I agree – the system doesn’t seem to be working, not when the popular vote doesn’t actually mean that person is elected president. And I also agree that we need people from all over the world to come together and communicate with one another… I’m just hoping that people are willing to listen. Thanks for your comment, Laur.

veena November 11, 2016 - 3:16 am

Brenna, I cannot thank you enough for this post. The last 48 hours have been a whirlwind, and my emotions are still in turmoil. I am so sad, not just at the outcome of the election, but also at how much hurt and anger still abounds and how much this election has divided our country. It helps to know that most of my closest friends are also angry and hurt and sad, and it also helps to know that there are those outside our country who are lending their support and their voices. We will come out of this stronger than before, but as Hillary said, this hurts, and it’s going to hurt for a long time. Reading your post makes it hurt a little less tonight. Thank you xx

Brenna Holeman November 11, 2016 - 2:57 pm

I agree – it will hurt for a long time, but your international friends are with you. I’m glad that the post helped, even in the tiniest way. x

Cheryl November 11, 2016 - 4:00 am

Your post sets the situation out so well.
As an Australian I have been watching with much interest.
I am totally gobsmacked at the outcome of this election. I truly believed that this would never happen, however, it also says that there must be a lot of disillusioned people in the US, as there are in Australia.
Interesting times we live in.
I for one, will always stand and be counted when anyone is being treated badly, we are all human, not matter your ethnicity, religion or sexual persuasion.
We all need to be staunch in making sure we do the same.

Brenna Holeman November 11, 2016 - 2:56 pm

Interesting times we live in, indeed. Thank you for your comment, Cheryl.

Paige November 12, 2016 - 5:21 am

Thank you for this one Brenna. I feel like I’m caught in an emotional loop (deep sadness, anger, fear, wanting to run away honestly) and probably will be for some time. I’m so grateful to be surrounded by the people that I am in Boston but also fear that the feeling of being in a safe bubble led to this horrifying outcome in some ways. I feel like I’m grieving but I’m also ready for the fight.

Brenna Holeman November 13, 2016 - 8:20 pm

Thank you for your comment, Paige… I’m so sorry that you’re going through this right now. The international community is with you.

Sayla Blackwood November 12, 2016 - 3:25 pm

Thanks for this post. As an American (from Chicago,) it has been incredibly heartbreaking to watch this unfold. I already have friends that are scared they are going to get deported, have their rights revoked, and are afraid of being the targets of hate crimes because of their race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. I can’t tell you how sad and upset and angry many of us are, but I can reassure you that we will not lay down and let this happen. We are fighting back. Your tips for donating money to organizations that help our country are amazing. Thank you for being outspoken. It is needed.

Brenna Holeman November 13, 2016 - 8:22 pm

That is so incredibly sad and yes, heartbreaking. I will do everything I can from across the pond… it’s times like this that the world has to come together. This and Brexit has made for such an awful year.

Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad November 13, 2016 - 4:36 pm

Brilliant post, there is so much vitriol coming from both republicans and liberals and it’s nice to see some level-headed posts. We are beginning to understand why Trump got in, and as weird as it might sound to some people, I don’t think it’s all for bad reasons. I am not that scared of Trump or his policies. I don’t think a lot of them will be passed, and as far as I’m aware he’s NOT anti-immigration etc, he just wants it to be done right. What IS scary is the way he gave his campaign angles of hate to gain popularity, and this has given his supporters some self-entitled “right” to feel as if they can be racist and bigoted and, even more so since the election, get away with this behaviour. People are literally fearful for their lives, and that is not right in any political situation. But I don’t 100% blame Trump for that (though he’s not exactly doing a lot to help it either). I blame disillusionment and people who don’t know any better. We saw it with Brexit and we’re going to see it on a bigger scale now.

Something I keep asking myself this week – is it REALLY so hard to just respect one another? I can’t get my head around it, I really can’t.

Brenna Holeman November 13, 2016 - 8:29 pm

I agree, it’s really scary how he used hate in order to win votes (and even scarier that people listened). And yes, I don’t get it either… why can we not just respect each other? I mean, I totally understand and support that people will have different political views, but racism/misogyny/hatred for others is NEVER ok.

Megan November 14, 2016 - 11:25 pm

Donald Trump’s wife is Slovakian, I doubt he actually hates all foreigners, he doesn’t like illegal immigrants or muslim terrorists, and that actually makes sense. I think a lot of the people who voted for him think that the pressing issues are the ones based on life and death right now, rather than issues like LGBT rights.
The situation for racial minorities, women, gays, trans people, (essentially whatever group the media has cinched on this week) has actually never been better. It’s improving all the time, constantly, exponentially, I can hardly watch a home TV programme in the UK without at least one gay couple, one muslim and a black womam appearing on it, and this isn’t a bad thing, but it doesn’t look like we need to stretch for cultural diversity, it’s happening anyway, the difference even just these last 10 years have made have been insane!

All of this improvement is happening without the help of Hillary Clinton being president, meanwhile terrorist attacks are becoming more widespread and its hard not to blame people for picking whichever candidate promises to make an effort to stop them.

I love travelling, obviously, cause I’m here and my top 10 visited websites involve skyscanner, tripadvisor and wikitravel, but I think I’m the only even remotely right-wing traveller in the world right now. I’d like to think I’m not an idiot, I’m well educated with a degree in what our lecturers would deem a ‘proper’ subject (a science) but I still can’t fathom how so many white middle classers think Hillary is so great, and part of me thinks a lot of people voted for her simply because she’s a woman and feminism is so ‘in’ right now. You said you cried the morning you found out? Me too, but with happiness. Political correctness has went too overboard and she would make it so much worse.

Anyway, can you enlighten me? I love your blog, you write some good shit, what negatives do you think will actually happen now that Donald Trump is in?

Brenna Holeman November 15, 2016 - 11:51 am

Hi Megan, thanks for your comment. I definitely disagree with you on all of your points, but I thank you for keeping it fairly civil. Allow me to respond. I may come back and leave another comment because I’m in a bit of a rush right now, but wanted to address a few of your points quickly. I’m not sure what you mean by ‘proper’ degree – I wonder if my BAH and MA qualify by your standards – but I do have some things to say, and I also don’t believe you need a degree in order to have valid opinions or a grasp of the human condition.

Firstly, no, political correctness has not gone overboard at all. In fact, it has not gone even the slightest bit far enough. You mention that you see people from minority groups on TV all the time (a black woman, singular), but there is still the rampant use of whitewashing in Hollywood and beyond – white people still make up the majority of not only our TV programming and movies (see #OscarsSoWhite), but our governments. We need more diversity, period, because right now things on TV and in government do not in any way mirror what the real world actually looks like (I’m sure you see more than one person of colour in your day to day life). Yes, things have been getting slightly better in some regards, but one only needs to take a look at the situation for black males in the US (and why so many are being killed by police) to see that we are not an equal society yet (statistically, there is something very wrong happening with the amount of unarmed black men being murdered unnecessarily). I did not say that the president-elect hates all foreigners, but he certainly has openly lambasted many, often painting everyone from one cultural background with the same brush (i.e. you mentioned “Muslim terrorists”).

Why did I cry last week? Because a man who has openly mocked disabled people, bragged about sexually assaulting women, called for a ban on all Muslims entering the US, said that nuclear weapons should be used, called for a wall to be built to separate US and Mexico from people he painted as “rapists and murderers”, wants to turn over Roe vs. Wade, repeatedly talks about women not by what they’ve accomplished but by how they look, is endorsed by the KKK, and has no political or military experience just became president of one of the most powerful countries in the world. That does not bode well for any of us, American or not, though especially if you’re an American minority.

You think that part of the reason people voted for Clinton is because she’s a woman? I’d argue the opposite, that many DIDN’T vote for her because she’s a woman. And fuck yeah, I’m a feminist, and quite frankly it makes me sad that another woman would mockingly say that ‘feminism is so in right now’. It’s because of feminism that you and I can vote, are starting to earn equal pay in the work force, have control over our own bodies, and a host of other things that still need a TON of work. I honestly don’t know why all women don’t claim to be feminists – it’s not a dirty word, it’s a word that means equality in society. That’s it.

Finally, you ask to be enlightened. At the very base level, I think that this election is going to (and clearly already has) legitimise racism, misogyny, and prejudice against minority groups even more than before. You can see this in action already here: and here: Casual racism – and not-so-casual racism – already exists all over the world. With this man’s win, there are millions of people who feel even more unsafe in America, and many who think it’s now OK to hurl racist abuse at one another (I just saw an article about a mayor who called Michelle Obama an “ape in heels”). So yeah, I cried, and I’m going to continue to cry. I’m going to cry about MLK and Rosa Parks and Harvey Milk and Fred Hampton and all those who have fought so hard to have a voice, and who are now frightened that that voice might be taken away, either by the president-elect himself or those who feel that it’s OK to persecute them. You said that people are more concerned with issues of ‘life and death’ rather than things like LGBT rights. Well, to many people around the world, those ARE issues of ‘life and death’ – people are still abused (verbally, physically, and online) on a daily basis because of their skin colour, country of origin, religion, sexual orientation, and gender. If you honestly think that the world is fine, that diversity is at its best, well, I am probably not going to convince you otherwise, though I urge you to read blogs by minorities and read some liberal media outlets (I’m not asking you to become liberal, just to see it from the other side; there are some examples in the post). I’m one of the most privileged people in the world – I’m white, heterosexual, Canadian, and middle-class – and I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit by and not help in any way I can. I’ve had life handed to me on a platter, and I’d be foolish to think that everyone had it the same way.

None of us know how all of this is going to turn out. But so, so, so many people are scared right now – scared for their lives, their families, and their homes – and it breaks my heart. I urge you to have some empathy and just imagine what it might be like to be, for example, a Muslim in America right now. Again, I’m not asking you to become a liberal, I’m just asking you to consider what others might be feeling.

And finally, you said you feel like the only right-wing traveller out there. I’m curious to know why you feel that way, and why you think the majority of travellers are liberal? I have an answer for this, of course, but it would be interesting to hear your perspective.

Megan November 17, 2016 - 6:12 pm

I’m gonna reply to a few point in chronological order.

I do think your degree qualifies, no hate there.

White-washing in Hollywood: Hollywood movies are made in a country with 70% white people and target audiences in predominately white, English speaking countries (UK, New Zealand, Aus, Canada and the US obviously). The movies are marketed all over the world but initially to a whole big group of white people and those countries have the people that want to star in those movies. There are hundreds of thousands of teenage white girls flocking to Hollywood to make their big break and become a star, if there was even 10% of those numbers of blacks or hispanics or asians filling up the audition studios then the directors would hire them. We don’t need quotas, they don’t help anyone, we need good talent in every profession. Bollywood is awash with Indians, Nollywood is awash with Nigerians, are we gonna start complaining about that? Hollywood pulls from white countries, so it’s gonna have a hard time hiring too many non-whites.

For racism in America and the UK etc and minority groups being treated so badly: If it really was all that terrible then those groups would stop coming to these countries. There are millions of middle eastern and african and mexican people who would give their right arm to come to these developed countries and are flocking in droves to try and do so, because the government run by a whole bunch of white men treats them better than the corrupt awful government run by people of their own race in their own countries! I’m not saying we don’t have a problem sometimes, but instead of saying that we must accept every migrant with an inhospitable home country (which could be half the world) we should send aid to those countries or sort out their shit government, we can’t take in everyone, Australia are pretty decent at that, they set a fairly good example.

Unarmed black men getting killed? This is pretty awful on all fronts, but the police also deal with proportionally a lot more blacks than whites based on population and prison numbers, I’m not sure if its a race thing ’cause there have been black men killed by black cops, and white men killed by white cops, but I think the whole issue needs to be sorted whether its race related or not, it’s a bad situation.

Feminism: I like the theory, but we need equality for both sexes. There’s a huge push for women to be employed in the STEM sector and top line jobs like lawyers and all that because men do those, but men also so the most dangerous jobs like logging, fishing, agriculture, metalworking, and menial jobs such as waste disposal or street cleaners or window cleaners, if the goal was actually equality, we’d be pushing for women in those jobs too, but no-one is, because they don’t want them. There also isn’t the same drive for men to be employed in women dominated sectors like nursing, social care or primary school teaching, which I think is a real shame cause male nurses could help male patients feel more comfortable, and male teachers provide a role model for the boys who are mostly surrounded by grown up women. All the guys in my school had the same favourite teacher, cause he was the only man and he could relate to them.
Men are more likely to commit suicide, be involved in accidents in work, be the victim of murder and violent crime, drop out of school or achieve lower grades and become involved in gangs and drugs. And this is in developed countries. I think feminism is needed in a lot of countries where girls have no choices and little value, but for women in the US? they’re doing pretty well.

Travellers are mostly liberal because they’re hippy-ish, peace and love, the whole world needs to get along, war solves nothing type of people. It’s not a bad type but its unrealistic. What’s the phrase? ‘If you’re not a liberal by the time your 20 you’ve no heart, if you’re not a conservative by the time your 40 you’ve no brain’ or something like that. Everyone would love if world problems could be solved by more tolerance and being kind, but that’s not gonna happen, we need things like nuclear weapons not because we want to use them, but if someone came along threatening my home or family or well being I want to be able to turn around and show them exactly why I can’t be bullied, it’s Darwinian logic, survival of the fittest, always will be, biggest and best wins out. This is why military funding is so important, we don’t want war, but if someone starts it we need to be able to finish it on top.

Oh and ‘Muslim terrorists’. I’m not saying all Muslims are terrorists, I took Arabic classes throughout my time at university and through that have tried to make stilted conversation with many lovely Muslim’s who have no terrorism agenda, but most of the terrorist attacks around the world are carried out by the Islamic state or another Muslim group. There’s no arguing with the fact that most terrorists are Muslim extremists.

Brenna Holeman November 17, 2016 - 11:49 pm

Thanks for your response, Megan, but once again I completely disagree with nearly everything you’ve said, especially since so much of it has absolutely no evidence or statistical support, and, quite frankly, comes from such a white, privileged point of view. I’m so sorry that you feel that love and respect and kindness and diversity are unrealistic (or unnecessary, i.e. feminism, even in so-called developed countries). I for one will always believe that those things are realistic – you can call me a hippie all you’d like. Again, I’d ask you to have some empathy for those not like yourself, which your comment makes no note of.

I’m on holiday at the moment but when I return to London I’ll try to pull out some articles, especially on all of the information you’ve given regarding whitewashing and Hollywood, immigration, women in the workplace, and incarceration in America. I definitely have different viewpoints about these things and have some interesting sources I’d hope you’d take a look at.

I’m also totally open to chatting about this more personally, other than faceless blog comments, i.e. over a coffee or on Skype. We might make more headway that way.

Megan November 14, 2016 - 11:37 pm

I just went to re-read my wee post there and realised that I made a mistake, Melania Trump is Slovenian, not Slovakian. I actually just turned in to that person who states ‘I don’t know which is which’ when those countries are mentioned, and now I feel like a tool. My apologies to Slovenians everywhere.

Abigail November 16, 2016 - 9:01 am

Beautiful post and very well articulated. Jessica also wrote a piece about her thoughts on the elections result on our blog, would love to hear your thoughts on that one. But I agree with you, the results of the US elections has an impact everywhere in the world, no matter how little or indirectly that might be, especially given the status of the US as the most powerful nation in the world. I’m hoping that something good can come out of this!

Brenna Holeman November 17, 2016 - 11:51 pm

Thank you very much, Abigail. I’m not sure which Jessica you mean – do you have the link?

Nina Lee: World into Words November 16, 2016 - 2:23 pm

Thank you so much for this. I am still reeling from the results. Being a US citizen abroad has been super difficult for me. And, I’m not going to lie, I was so shocked and upset by the results I thought for a while about going back to get involved in turning this movement of hate and division into one of peace, by getting back into a classroom there and being in the middle of the action. I realized that changing my life and going back out of fear of what can happen over the next four years is not the answer, because I was deeply unhappy there to begin with. But as a traveler, writer and teacher, there’s so much I can do here and now in Spain. The key always and forever is dialogue. Talking to people. All people. Not just ones who we agree with or who we have things in common with, but ALL people, especially those who think differently from us (perfect example in Megan’s comment and your response). The only way we can turn the tide on what seems to be a world that is becoming more divided is by forming connections with the people right in front of us. It’s easy to get caught up in the bigger picture, but it’s the daily encounters that matter the most and can lead to change.

Brenna Holeman November 17, 2016 - 11:54 pm

I’m so sorry, Nina – I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be American and not support that man (it’s hard enough being a non-American). I’m sure you will do so much good in Spain, and yes, the key is dialogue (although sometimes it’s so difficult, especially when people are so close-minded/so stuck in their ways). I hope that we call all help in some small way so that meaningful change really does happen.

Zalie January 8, 2017 - 11:11 pm

Although I am reading this two months later, I so appreciate all of your wonderful suggestions and the advice you provided for all of us who would like to show our support in some way.

Brenna Holeman January 9, 2017 - 8:28 pm

Thank you so much, Zalie xo


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