My daughter was born in Britain, so despite having American parents, she’s British. My husband and I always intended to get her American citizenship too, but because it involves a fee, paperwork and a day spent at the US embassy in Edinburgh, we kept putting it off.
“We’ll do it eventually,” we said.
Now I’m not so sure that we will. I’m not convinced that US citizenship is worth much these days.
It hurts me to say that. America made me, after all. It’s where my daughter’s grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins live. It’s a country of rich diversity, amazing food and the most wonderful things, like drive-thru liquor stores and giant grinning peanut statues. It brims with confidence and relentless ambition.
But the country I left a decade ago has become almost unrecognisable to me. Like Britain, it has made a monumental decision based largely on ignorance and fear – especially of immigrants.
So I’m just going to come out and say it.
I am an immigrant.
It’s not a title that I’ve really owned until now. I tend to refer to myself as an expat, which is a term that white, English-speaking foreigners have the privilege of using when they want to sound non-threatening. But there’s no mistaking what I am.
Immigrant (noun): a person who migrates to another country, usually for permanent residence
Immigrants contribute to communities. Pay taxes. Love our adopted countries with a fierceness that native-born citizens can rarely muster.
Forget building walls and banning Muslims. We are not your enemy. We are your friends, colleagues and neighbours. Don’t push us away.
I am also a woman.
A woman who doesn’t understand how any woman could hear Trump brag about grabbing women’s pussies and think, “Yeah, that’s the guy I want leading my country.”
It’s naïve to dismiss his words as “locker room talk”. Let’s not forget that many women have come forward to say that he touched them inappropriately. He isn’t just talking about sexual assault – he’s actually going out and doing it because he thinks that he can get away with it.
You can’t be a “president for all Americans” if you don’t show respect at least half of them.
I am a mother.
A mother who has to face the fact that it’s better to raise my daughter in post-Brexit Britain than Trump’s America. A dangerous idea is less frightening than a dangerous person who is full of dangerous ideas.
But I have hope.
Just the tiniest sliver of it, but still – it’s there.
There are loads of sane people in America. Half the country, at least. Many of them are devastated by the election result, but they’re not giving up. They’re still talking about the issues that matter – women’s rights, climate change, the economy, healthcare – and they’re not going to go away quietly.
So get ready, Trump. We’re not going to make this easy.
A version of this post was originally published on The Squirmy Popple.