I’ve stayed relatively silent on social media regarding politics this entire election season. I think that 1) I don’t have anything to say that hasn’t been said by countless others already, 2) nothing I say is going to change ANYONE’s mind at this point – everyone is just digging deeper and deeper into their own beliefs and 3) I’m not as well-informed as I should be on many topics and political discussions.
However, now I have to put a thought out there. I should mention that I’m quite liberal in my beliefs, as is my girlfriend, who is English and hopes to move to the US to be a Spanish teacher.
On Friday night, we had some friends over for dinner and some drinks. Nothing fancy, just some nice burgers and lots of wine. As it has been so wont to do over the past year, politics forced its way into the conversation. I was mildly surprised to learn that one of our friends is a very strong Trump-supporter. Most 20-somethings are more liberal and almost every expat I’ve met in Madrid is quite anti-Donald Trump.
We had a very civil discussion, but disagreed on almost every topic, immigration included.
With yesterday’s news that several “Muslim countries” are banned from entering the US for 90-days, I suppose the first step in Trump’s immigration reform, my girlfriend came up to me to discuss our future.
Just a few days ago, we had a somewhat definite plan (as definite a plan can be in an international relationship) on what we would be doing over the next few years. This summer, I will return to the states to hopefully start a career as a journalist and she will return to England to teach high school Spanish and look into joining me the next school year (2018-19) in the US.
But after yesterday, we’re not so sure. My girlfriend is white, not from a Muslim country, and definitely not a terrorism threat or felon, so those are all in our favor, I guess. And our hopes for the future haven’t changed, but who knows what ridiculous step is next in the plan to “Make America Great Again”? Will she even be able to come into the country?
Our situation is no tear-jerker, especially compared to many of the heart-breaking stories being put out there every hour since the ban began. But, my girlfriend wants to move to the US to teach Spanish. Anyone who works in or around a school will tell you that bilingual Spanish teachers are a commodity in the US. Learning a second language has benefits well beyond communication with a whole new group of people and Americans are WAY, WAY behind in terms of bilingualism. We should be encouraging bilingual teachers to come to our country and teach our children new languages.
But just because she’s a white non-Muslim shouldn’t give her any special rights. I teach English to a lot of Muslim students here in Spain. Should they not have the same right to come to the US to teach Spanish to American children when they are my age?
This ban on Muslims (because that’s what this is) is outrageous and sickening. The president has signed an executive order in direct contrast to American values. It isn’t making us safer, but it’s making us a laughingstock. For the first time in my life, I’m embarrassed to say I’m an American.