America is more divided than it’s ever been. On one side you’ve got vegans getting hung up about dreadlock etiquette, on the other there’s ‘carnivore dieters’ are agitating for their right to own a stash of guns that would make Saddam Hussein blush.
That’s a cruel caricature of the country, but you get the picture.
Then there are the Trump supporters that last week stormed the United States Capitol to halt the certification of the President-Elect. This led to the evacuation of the United States Senate and House of Representatives, with “the US capital descend[ing] into chaos after a massive security breach allowed a mob of rioters to enter the supposedly fortified complex, smashing through windows and making it as far as the Senate floor,” The Sydney Morning Herald reports. They continue:
“Trump posted a video on Twitter telling the protesters to go home, but also repeated the false assertions that the election had been stolen which had inspired his supporters to storm the Capitol.”
“Biden demanded Trump go on national television to call for an end to the ‘insurrection.'”
In response to the news, travel blogger Valerie Joy (founder of Trusted Travel Girl) posted the following comment to both Twitter and Instagram.
“Next time you tell me to be afraid of visiting another country that you don’t know anything about, please replay a tape from the attempted coup in America today.
The statement highlights a double standard many Americans hold – the tendency to forgive or play down the dangers of your own culture or country (or those similar to the one you grew up in).
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To a degree this is understandable. It’s the fear of the unknown vs. the numbness of everyday horrors. You eventually get inured to stuff. But whatever the case – it’s worth thinking harder about.
The statement resonated with Instagram users around the world, with various providing their own experience of the same phenomenon.
One commenter shared how her mother criticised her decisions to travel to countries like Cambodia and Tanzania in 2018/19 because they were supposedly “dangerous” but didn’t bat an eyelid when she travelled to the United States:
“The amount of people that feared for my life when I lived in Cambodia was unprecedented. I felt safer being alone there than I do in the States most of the time.”
Others weighed in with similar comments: “if I saw this happening in another country I’d be shook,” wrote one. Another put it more succinctly: “this is embarrassing for our ‘democracy.'”
This also comes in a context where Americans are often warned not to travel to dangerous areas in their own country, like the La Perla neighbourhood in San Juan, the Puerto Rican capital.
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Prior to today’s events, travel blogger Nomadic Matt had already been encouraging professional globetrotters to look at the bigger picture once international travel picks back up again – a sentiment Valerie Joy and many other bloggers have since retweeted.
When we can all widely travel again, I hope we treat destinations and cultures with the depth and specialness they deserve and not as merely random backdrops for Instagram photos.
— Nomadic Matt (@nomadicmatt) January 5, 2021
Joe Biden will be inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States on Wednesday, January 20th.