One of the things that I am most certain of is that there is nothing more beneficial to the broadening of minds than international travel. Such a belief is the reason that I urge my students to take every opportunity to travel frequently as it assuredly opens all facets of the mind in a way that nothing else can.
Unfortunately for Americans, it appears that the equally annoying and unwise antics of its new President are threatening to curtail the opportunities mentioned above. While many silently champion the scurrilous manner that President Trump has transformed his innate xenophobia into U.S. policy via a series of Executive Orders, most Americans fail to realize that such activities will invariably curtail their ability to travel beyond American borders.
Despite the urge to protest and disclaim whomever the current Oval Office resident, experienced travelers will tell you that all Americans carry the mistakes and therefore the burden of U.S. international policy on their backs like a bullseye when they venture abroad. Every time that I travel, the natives to that particular land make some remark regarding my being an American.
During my travels to Ghana in the moments following President Barack Hussein Obama’s first Presidential victory, it was common for passer-by’s to make the somewhat humorous observation that I was “Obama’s brother.” Considering that there is no physical resemblance between former President Obama and me, Ghanaians of all ages were making what they thought a natural linkage between all Americans and the U.S. President. Whether we like it or not, in the eyes of foreigners, he is not only our President but also his policies are our policies and priorities. Considering the Oval Office’s current resident, such is a scary thought indeed.
It is within the borders of such an unfair association that the dangers of traveling abroad will become an increasingly dangerous proposition for all Americans. If President Trump continues a clear pattern of allowing sophomoric barroom conversations to guide his immigration policies, all Americans, including those who vehemently disagree with the new President will find their lives in increasing peril both at home and abroad.
It is ironic that within a political climate that has been dominated by immigration policies and the building of walls, literally and figuratively, to keep people out of America, we may have ignored the most significant barrier of all. The new President’s rather bizarre policies promise to do a much more efficient job of keeping Americans in than it does of keeping those that he considers undesirables out.
This entire sordid tale reminds me of a colloquialism that reads as follows, “There is no right way to do the wrong thing.” If these initial movements by Trump are any indicator of future policies decision, his Presidential era will be remembered by all as not only a period of isolationism that will rival the post-World War I era, but also a moment when this nation was led by a “can’t get right” President.
What a frightening moment we exist within.
Dr. James Thomas Jones III