I make no secret of how invested I am in American politics. No matter how you look at it, the entire world is affected by American policymakers (much to my chagrin – I am nothing if not a proud denouncer of American exceptionalism) and considering I live in the United States, partake in this country’s social security, insurance system, higher education system, and so on, it matters less and less that I’m not American; the domestic politics of this country are to a fairly considerable extent applicable to me. And it was really exciting to realize I would be in the US – Boston, no less – during election season, surrounded by people with a vested interest in who would herald a key four years (roundabout, anyway) in America’s indefinite future.
Politics, as I should know by rote at this point, is a two-level game; the domestic and the international are the simultaneous playing fields that must be honored no matter what country you represent. I’m embarrassed at how often political plurality can elude me considering I study the damn field, but it’s easy to be taken in by fervor especially when people like Trump and Cruz are skidding around the arena leaving strategic vitriol in their wake. It’s easy to be taken in by apparent revolutionaries such as Bernie Sanders who appear to be scions of a socialism I would love to see become the status quo.
And then I remember that I am not, in fact, American. I can escape the domestic politics whenever I want. I cannot escape foreign policy; and therein lies my conundrum. I cannot become wholly invested in the internal politics of a country whose foreign policy will only churn out chaos in mine. No matter what way I look, be it a left after my own heart, worrisome right, or that increasingly elusive moderate, their foreign policies spell the misery of my own people. Even if the elections weren’t a complete shit show (I am an academic), I would still be thoroughly disenchanted. I refuse to support the onset of an administration that, although progressive domestically, will continue the interventionist policies that have caused coups around the world and the low-key decimation of sovereignty that has killed my very own.
I suppose an alternate title for this blog post could be “How Bernie Sanders Broke My Heart” but I will not give that notion more satisfaction than I have already granted it.† Us third culture kids in the US, we will have our politics and our opinions torn asunder again and again. May as well steel myself now so that when next November rolls around, I’m ready for whatever comes next in my adoptive country’s future.