So flash forward to today, and between my Twitter or Facebook feed, I see on a daily basis and have done for many, many excruciating months the current President of the United States, Donald Trump and his campaign promise to “Make America Great Again”. Making America great again seems to consist for the most part of an isolationist foreign policy including stepping back from NATO, The Paris Agreements and using a personal Twitter account to create fires for the administration to put out. Constantly.
So I say this with full knowledge that the current administration will quite likely find a way to revoke my ESTA Visa (after all the Australian/USA relationship looked strained when President Trump greeted Prime Minister Turnbull like an inconvenience not worth bearing), but the undignified rants and sexist cyberbullying on social media are not even remotely representative of what makes America great. Even while watching the three Presidential debates and seeing Donald Trump’s performance more akin to David Brent from The Office rather than a statesman worthy of the office of President, I knew more harm than good would come of his leadership of the free world. It just feels dirty. No loftiness. No inspiration. Just a grubby large orange man acting like a petulant child on the world stage.
And I understand that Trump has his loyal supporters and I have seen them cheering him on from the sidelines. I know it wasn’t just the Russians that helped elect him, or the misfortune that more people wanted Secretary Clinton to win but in an electorally inconvenient way, but the fact that Trump has real bona fide grass roots supporters who feel that he speaks for them and advocates their wishes. I get it. He’s not a unique little unicorn but a man that has a tribe of followers.
And I understand the argument of the people that don’t believe that I or others not from America should even have an opinion of who their president is, let alone what he talks about and does. I don’t have a vote in the election and ultimately it is not my choice and should really just shut up and accept the vote of the people. Also true. Can’t fault the facts of that argument either.
But here is what I say to people who say I don’t have the right to an opinion about the President of America. Or certainly say that I should not to voice that opinion. I do care about America. Deeply. And not just because they are the biggest superpower on the block and American decisions do have global consequences. Not just because I run a business that sells products to the USA and I would like to continue doing so for as long as possible. But because in 2009 I went to a Global Moot Corp Competition and saw what America offers the world in innovation and leadership. And I understood how important that was.
When I look around this room, writing this blog on my Apple MacBook, using a host of different electronics that make my life easier and more productive, creating the blog on WordPress software technology, sitting on a couch that was probably not manufactured in the USA, but was a direct result of American innovations in manufacturing and logistics, I see everywhere the pioneering developments that have changed the course of humanity forever. Yes, you can also argue the technology that led to environmental devastations, nuclear proliferation, world wars and a whole raft of other negative consequences were the result of this spirit of innovation and development from America, but there has been undeniably amazing progress that can be used to even more beneficial applications with further study and the right champions.
I believe in the future. And I believe that America has the power and the skill and the leadership to make the future great for the benefit of all mankind. And if not America, who else? Realistically? Not to diminish the contributions of every other nation in the world, but like all of the bright eyed MBA students that went to a business planning competition to learn from the best, we need America to do what America does. Draw on it’s rich history, it’s innovative spirit, it’s focus on pioneering new methodologies and creating new technologies.
America, from a fan and a loyal supporter, Donald Trump doesn’t understand what makes you great. He simply doesn’t get it. You are great because you make us feel like you are elevating mankind. And you do that best when you work with all of us. Don’t let your President shut us out. You need us as much as we need you. And if we are ever to put an end to the evil and the violence in this world, it will be united together.
That’s what I learnt on a university cross cultural exchange of business practices.