America lovessss the underdog, that’s no secret. We love David and Goliath stories, the Upset, the unlikely champion, the American men’s hockey team winning against the Soviet Union at the 1980 Winter Olympics. Our collective heart has a soft spot for the little guy, and I think it makes sense because we used to be the little guy. A bunch of dudes one day decided to give the bird to Big Bad Britain and sail across the pond to build their own country. Which happened to also included grand theft and mass genocide of the people already living here but for the purposes of this post, we won’t get into that. (Though I highly encourage you get into it on your own!)
What I think is important to key in on here is how America sees herself, because (much like with individuals) that’s what influences the way she relates to the rest of the world. Sure, we started as the underdog. This little fledgling country built on the wild idea that all people (read: white men, but again trying to stay focused) are created equal. On the radical idea that a functioning government can be constructed by people working for a common cause rather than by mandate of a remote monarch, or religious authority, or awkwardly both.
It was a gamble, and it was not favored to work, but it did. And we grew. And we won a couple World Wars and everyone was like “Fuck yeah America!” At some point in the last 240 years, we stopped being the little guy and are now, for all intents and purposes, an empire. We are Goliath. We “doth bestride the narrow world like a Colossus” (#Shakespeare, educate yourselves). You know how I know this? Think about the fact that American culture is everywhere—American movies are known worldwide, American music is international, and now try to name one of the most popular entertainers in Australia. Without looking it up! Tell me some random tabloid gossip about French celebrities. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.
Coming up empty? Right, because we are officially the most popular girl in school. I say all this not to boast but to try to convey an accurate picture of America’s international standing, since people seem to be getting it reallllll twisted right now. We are not in danger of being consumed, and we are not vulnerable. So the idea, the very notion that we need to build a wall on our southern border and ban refugees to protect ourselves and ensure national security is ABSOLUTE LUNACY. In case I wasn’t clear enough earlier, WE. ARE. LIVING. IN. THE. MOST. POWERFUL. COUNTRY. IN. THE. WORLD. What the fuck are we afraid of?! People are saying “America first!” like America hasn’t BEEN first for a fucking long time. Like America hasn’t been putting herself first since her inception. Newsflash: We’re first! That’s why we’ve been beefing with Russia for like 60 years, you can fucking relax.
You know what could actually be detrimental though? You know what has toppled empires over and over again throughout history? XENOPHOBIA AND CLOSED BORDERS. I’m literally like can someone get this administration a UCSD Roosevelt College MMW curriculum? Or like literally ANY history textbook. Why don’t they understand that acting out of fear is what brings destruction? That isolation and finger-pointing is the thief of flourishing. Everyone calling for the wall and the ban has got their panties in a bunch for no reason but we can’t just laugh it off this time because this level of paranoia is not harmless! Like comedian Kumail Nanjiani said, “A Muslim Ban accomplishes nothing but hate.” Turning our backs on an entire religion, or groups who need help is not the way to make friends and influence people. It’s stupid, I literally have no other words for it. It’s completely asinine. I get that we like to think we’re vulnerable because we love the drama. But we’re not. We’re fucking fine. And we need to lock it the fuck up before we create ACTUAL problems for ourselves.