Are We Ready to Confront the World’s Perception of Who We Are?
by Tone Daley
What kind of reception can we expect once the world opens again to American travelers? Yes, I’m one of the shunned, part of the plague-ridden society that is being led by science ignoring plutocrats who are whoafully equipped to confront a “Bully in Chief”. If you are from the U.S. you are perceived to be either infected with the coronavirus, infected with right-wing fanatical conspiracy theories or both. Our closest allies, Britain and Canada, are openly mocking our response to the pandemic, police on black violence, electioneering and the autocratic signals coming from the White House. Each one of us has a responsibility to counter these beliefs through statements and actions once we are given the opportunity to travel again. It’s through the statements and actions of many that we will eventually gain back the respect of the world.
It has always amazed me that two countries, Canada & the U.S., that share a border and language could be seen by the outside world so differently. On a human level they could not be more different. Just look at healthcare, one is asking the courts to eliminate coverage for pre-existing conditions and preventative care, while the other offers universal coverage. Consider the response to immigration and refugee matters, one seeks to curtail all government assistance and redefine what it means to be a refugee, while the other provides a humane transition to a new, better life in their country.
While certain stereotypes will persist after a change of administration in November, we can begin the rehabilitation process now. If you are like me, being couped-up has created a stronger need to travel. Find a place to go in the U.S., I chose Montana and I’m glad I did. Easy access from my home airport with only one plane change and lots of outdoor activities once we arrived. Practice your clean travel techniques in route and find lodging that has reliable sanitation standards. We returned after two weeks confident that we could take on international travel once the country is removed from the global blacklist.
In the meantime, reach out to your international friends and solicit their input as to the state of affairs between the two countries. Ask them pointed questions about what could threaten your acceptance after arrival and how to comport yourself so as to limit your chances of rejection. Being sensitive to the preconceptions held by many around the world. You might try breaking the ice by saying something like:
“I know you think I’m a right wing, racist, anti-Semitic, science denying, misogynistic, immigration hating American, however if you will allow me, I will prove that I am none of these things and in fact these are the things I detest the most and fight against every day.”
If that doesn’t work, send them an Amazon Gift Card and plead for their forgiveness.