First things first: I'm a pretty liberal/democratic, heterosexual white woman from the Northeast, and I am fully aware that I have some more privileges than others living in this country. This article reflects my own opinions and thoughts based on my personal experiences and beliefs.
Second things second: I'm not an unintelligent nor an unreasonable human being, I try to base my opinions in truth and I am more than willing to be corrected or educated in the case that I am wrong or less knowledgeable.
Now then, we shall proceed.
I have spent twenty years living with American rights and immersed in American culture - forming certain inherent society-based beliefs because I hadn't known any different. After beginning my study abroad semester and living in Ireland for two and a half months (thus far), I have watched America descend into chaos due to one situation or another and watched the overhanging dread following the presidential election. Honestly, I'm thankful I don't need to experience this mess firsthand but I'm nervous about the situation of the country when I arrive back in December. Who will be President? What will our culture be like? What will be the stance of my LGBTQ+, Latino, Muslim, and African-American/black friends in society? The future is uncertain and that terrifies me.
I'm not a patriotic person, this is not new. I appreciate the rights given to me (and support the ones that need to be amended to include me) only because I consider such rights to be basic human necessities that people everywhere should receive within their respective cultures and governments. Interestingly, however, it seems some of our "true American rights" are more restricting than they seem.
I was talking with my Irish friend about veterans and mentioned how there are many homeless veterans in America and that they're highly regarded here due to their bravery fighting in wars. I respect veteran sacrifices, don't get me wrong: there are no men in my family that I know of who were in the military and I have no connections at all, which often makes me feel and seem like I give no shits about what soldiers have done to protect my rights. Since the last major war in Ireland was the Rebellion beginning in 1916 (aka, one hundred years ago), many veterans here have died off, leaving none. He joked about how people who are overly nationalistic/patriotic are kind of just treated as drunken fools, and was shocked when I told him that sort of talk would get him harassed to no end in America. He replied with "Don't you have freedom of speech?" to which I had no answer. Our "freedom" of speech is much more restricted than one would believe.
Another thing I think about extremely often would be how Christianity so dominates this nation. I'm actually physically tired of trying to explain to others the origins of the religion and its similarities to what currently goes on - my favorite being how the pre-Constantine pagan Romans executed Christians as heretics, while modern people following other faiths are subject to the exact treatment - funny, huh? It seems you can talk AT others when it comes to opposing views, rather than having a respectful conversation about them. Many seem to forget this country was formed under the desire for religious freedom from the overbearing Protestant English - maybe this is my Roger Williams/Rhode Island mind, but separation of church and state is something we need a little more of here. "Under God" was added to the pledge of allegiance and our currency - it was not present at the founding of the United States.
There's so much more I could rant about regarding this country, but I've decided to finish up with this mess of a Presidential election. I've tried so, so hard to be impartial and not harp on people for holding opinions different from mine. I think the issue with such division in the election process lays in the fact that Americans are ironically so afraid of change. Trump sucks, this is true, and by all sane reasoning Hillary probably won't turn this country into 1940s Germany reinvented. She's also clearly much more qualified (and intelligent). I cannot even fathom why someone might want Trump to run America - the most popular reason should be that he "speaks his mind" - by that reasoning, my honesty should be the sole qualification that I should be President, instead of years of experience as a politician.
I'm done for now. Say what you want about my "un-American views," but I don't care. I've got the freedom of speech just as much as you. :)