The look of horror on my friend’s face was spreading like an ink drop in a pool of water as she heard Trump yell out “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They are rapists.” I don’t understand how this guy has followers, she said, the dismay ringing loudly in her voice. How is this possible, she continued, that he thinks these things and he actually has people cheering for him? It was June 2015, early in the primary campaign season for the 2016 election. I was watching the drama of the campaigns unfold in San Francisco, a blue haven and my home for the last 3 years.
I looked at my friend at the other end of the couch as she professed her dismay for Trump’s renegade campaign unsure if it was safe for me to intrude on her California blue bubble. As an immigrant who had entered the United States 15 year prior, through North Carolina, I had subsequently divided my time living through most parts along the East Coast: from New York to Florida. I had also worked with people from many parts of middle America: Kentucky, Wisconsin, Ohio. Over these meanderings, I had borne witness to many different sides of America. The enterprising side of it that let the best and most hardworking flourish and make a life for themselves. The brightest minds that came from all over the world to study with the most inspiring professors in American universities. And the complete ignorance and arrogance that walked hand in hand with American exceptionalism.