As I’ve mentioned before, the Peace Corps is a politically neutral organization. Though I have this disclaimer already posted on my blog, I’ll post it here, too: The content of this website is mine alone and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government, the Peace Corps, or the Kosovar Government.
I have been struggling with how to wrap my mind around the Election Day results. Like a lot of you, I have been asking myself how this could have happened.
Then a friend posted this eye-opening article to Facebook. It states that liberal, college-educated voters are out of touch with the rest of America. “The reality is that six in 10 Americans do not have a college degree, and they elected Donald Trump. College-educated people didn’t just fail to see this coming — they have struggled to display even a rudimentary understanding of the worldviews of those who voted for Trump.”
As I was reading this, I could see the argument’s merit. And yet, something still didn’t sit quite right with me.
I wasn’t born a liberal, college graduate. In fact, I am the first person in my family to graduate from college. I was raised in a Christian, middle class home, in a fairly rural part of Michigan. And so I feel like I do have some understanding of how “the rest of America” thinks.
Where I grew up, hunting is a common hobby. Can I understand why some people are opposed to anti-gun legislature? Yes.
Having attended Christian church and Christian school, can I understand why some people are passionately against abortion? Yes.
But here is where my empathy begins to fail me. I don’t understand how anyone could be so passionately devoted to any one issue that they not only ignore the other issues, but become blinded to the very character of the person running for office.
A lot of awful people voted for Trump. But a lot of decent people voted for him, too. And I find that disturbing.
I have been asked how Kosovars have been reacting to our Election Day results. There is a common expression here: “Cka po bon?” meaning, “What can you do?” People have been saying that to me all week. In a country that fought a war on its own soil a mere 16 years ago, it would seem people here have learned to accept that which they cannot control.
That said, even here in Kosovo, Trump is not without his supporters. Kosovo is a poor country, and I think a man with a lot of money is impressive to some.
I have seen a lot of platitudes posted on the web recently. “I hope our country can begin to heal,” and the like. The only thing I have left to say may sound like a platitude at first, but hear me out: I am now even more thankful to be here in Kosovo, to have the chance to show people that Americans can be kind and compassionate toward those who are different from ourselves. There are all kinds of ways to be an activist — donate money to causes you care about, get involved with local campaign efforts, etc. Being in the Peace Corps is my way forward, at a time when I feel helpless and unsure of what the future holds.