At the risk of being overly political, I would like to briefly discuss the recent U.S. Presidential election from a global perspective, and why I voted the way I did. For the better part of the last year I have watched the news with a sense of surreal disbelief. In a bizarre backlash to recent political discourse, a new kind of rhetoric entered the conversation. Hateful statements that would have once been condemned as ignorant made their way from the fringe to the center of politics. The very notion of truth fell under attack as waves of false news stories proliferated the internet. Educated men and women pleaded with pundits to fact-check statements made by presidential candidates, but emotional appeals were consistently more highly valued than factual accuracy. This phenomenon has come to be called post-truth politics. If you are of a similar mindset as me, you may associate these phenomenons with one candidate in particular: Donald Trump – the President-elect. However, it would be a vast oversimplification to say that these disturbing trends have emerged solely because of Donald Trump. Xenophobic rhetoric and post-truth politics have begun to flourish outside of the United States as well, just look to Brexit and the campaign which preceded it. In both the United Kingdom and the United States, post-truth rhetoric rode a wave of nationalism. Truth was not the only idea under attack, the very idea of globalism fell under attack as well.
In this political climate, I chose to cast my vote for Hillary Clinton. I had a variety of reasons to do so, but as a Global Engagement Fellow my main reason was to defend the notion of globalism and to combat xenophobia. Donald Trump’s rhetoric is antithetical to the principles of international cooperation- of progress for the world as a non-zero sum game. I wish that I could have cast a vote against Brexit as well, because I believe that the nations of the world are at their best when they cooperate. I understand the desire to forsake others to protect our own country, but it is a desire based on fear. I believe Donald Trump’s rhetoric not only capitalized on the fear of millions of Americans, but also stirred up more of it. I was proud to vote against that fear-mongering, because I still have hope for peace; for reducing poverty, childhood mortality, and illiteracy for all citizens of the world. I still believe in globalism.