Visiting America Under Trump
As we are all aware, the United States of America, “land of the free home of the brave” has recently banned Muslims from 7 listed countries from entering its borders. In addition to this, President Trump has vowed to build a wall, funded by the Mexicans, that will stretch from east to west along the U.S-Mexican border. But should such openly xenophobic domestic and foreign policies affect your travel plans to the states in the coming years?
Visiting America Under Trump: Nothing New
American foreign policy has always been a concern to many, myself included. I mean, the United States has been riddled with injustice and oppression at home and abroad since it’s creation in 1776.
From the displacement of indigenous natives, to slavery, segregation, the illegal invasion of Iraq, and its unrelenting support for illegal settlements in Israel, America has a lot to answer for. The stench of blood has polluted its conscience since time in memorial. The ethical dilemma of visiting the states is nothing new!
However, I will be the first to admit that this same conundrum applies across the board. Although the USA is currently under the limelight, if we are going to get on our high horse, we’ll quickly discover that much of the world is suddenly out of bounds to the politically conscious traveller: especially if the corruption perceptions index is anything to go by!
The corruption perceptions index (above) indicates how populations perceive corruption in their respective countries. If first hand witnesses to corruption are anything to go by, three quarters of the world appear to be politically inept. Why then, should we pay such special attention to the states while we continue to visit the likes of China, Russia, Egypt and Kenya, each of which have demonstrated a high degree of political incompetence both at home and abroad?
Ok, so it’s “different”, but how different is it really? Admittedly, Trumpian policy is not what we’d expect from the U.S considering it’s special position of guardianship over the world. And while it could be argued that trumpian policy isn’t exactly “corruption”, the fact remains that his policies are a product of prejudice and discrimination. Policies founded on such ideas at government level or otherwise, should invariably be treated as corrupt.
A Geographical Marvel
That being said, the North American continent makes up some 16.3% of the worlds land mass, and the U.S is home to 4.4% of the worlds population. Despite its dark history and it’s often poisonous politics, it remains a geographical marvel.
Whether you aspire to visit the grand cities of Chicago and New York, the breathtaking landscapes of Montana and Yellowstone’s national park, or the magnificent island state of Hawaii, there’s no shortage of charm to be found south of the 49th parallel. But with Trump at the helm, is continued travel to America an act of support for what appears to be the unravelling of right wing views in the free world?
Visiting America Under Trump: What To Do?
In light of Trump’s controversial policies, many travellers are unsure whether they should (or even can) visit the states.
While I think Trumpian policy is an embarrassment and nothing less than a setback following decades of progress, I also happen to think boycotting the states is somewhat of a pointless and ineffective strategy.
Admittedly, our expectations of say, China, Russia or most of Africa are set fairly low relative to a great nation like the U.S. It is this that probably accounts for us turning a blind eye to human rights violations in the rest of the world. The truth is, we expect better from America, and I guess that’s why it’s become such a big deal.
Many Americans were as apologetic about the presidency of George Bush as they are about Trump. The fact of the matter is, as apologetic as one may be, both men were elected by way of democracy. As far as Trump was elected by the people, he is here to stay. His presidency is predominantly a reflection of affairs within America, and if we are to be concerned about travel to the states, our focus should be directed at attitudes on the ground. For that is where the danger lies.