Self-image

Awkward.

America’s friends sighed and exchanged glances as the election results came pouring, then trickling in. They waited for the United States to say something, but it didn’t. “So,” Canada said, then cleared its throat. “So, uh, after that last election, you were pretty —”

“Pretty adamant,” New Zealand said. “Pretty adamant that this whole electing Donald Trump thing was a random fluke, an aberration, and not who you were at all.”

It’s a good joke, and it stings. I have to say, though, that I haven’t been saying that, and I’m far from the only one. This clearly is who we are and that is sickening.

“But you certainly don’t vote for him by mistake a second time,” Canada said.

“He might not win!” the United States said, quickly, not looking up.

“See, this is what I’m talking about,” Britain said. “Sure, America, he might not win. Let’s even say he probably won’t! But it’s not what you would call a resounding defeat, right?”

“Certainly not a wholesale repudiation of his entire ideology and all that he stands for,” New Zealand said.

Well now let’s be fair here. He doesn’t have an ideology. He’s not clever enough or coherent enough for that. He has Fox News, and an infinite supply of hatred and contempt, and enraged hostility to people who disagree with him. That may look like ideology in a weak light, but if you sat him down and told him to expound the ideology to you, you know what would happen. It would just be a patchwork of blurts stitched together with accordion gestures. He doesn’t have an ideology, he has only his angry impulses.

“I don’t understand,” the United States said. “This is not who we are.”

They exchanged glances. “Isn’t it, though?” Canada said. “I mean, at a certain point, you have to look at yourself and say, ‘Is who I think I am aligned at all with what I am actually doing?’”

Well we are the country that overthrew the duly elected Mossadegh in Iran and Arbenz in Guatemala, for a start. We backed Pinochet’s coup against Allende. There’s the little matter of Vietnam. There’s the fact that it took us until nineteen sixty fucking five to pass the Voting Rights Act…which the Supreme Court has now mostly repealed. So yeah, Canada’s not wrong – we’re more like Trump than we are like Obama.

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