Hello from Mérida, one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico. We caught a flight out to Cancún, then rented a car and drove across the Yucatán a couple of days ago. It’s been nice here (although much more expensive than Mexico City), but we’re interrupting our regular updates for an emeregency post about the U.S. election.
Before leaving the U.S., we voted by absentee ballot, hoping to have a country to come back to. Now, we’re not sure what to do. The problem we face is twofold: increased anti-American sentiment abroad, and worsening living conditions back home.
Regarding anti-American sentiment abroad, we’re probably in the place where something is most likely to happen now and this concern will decrease over time. We’ve had minimal trouble so far with the exception of a few people acting coldly towards us–overwhelmingly the Mexicans have been warm and gracious, despite the rhetoric of the soon-president-to-be. Yesterday, a tour guide asked why we were here and not voting, so we told him about voting by mail. But that’s been about it. There’s not much we can do to minimize risks of incidents happening because of this short of coming home or staying in super-touristy areas that aren’t our style. Stoytcho joked we could say that we’re from Canada. But I think it’s important to represent the U.S. abroad to show them that we’re not so xenophobic, and while things right now seem terrifying our country still has and can do good. We could preface every interaction with “We didn’t vote for Trump”, but that seems presumptive for the person on the other side. If you’ve got any other ideas, we’d love to hear them.
To worsening living conditions back home, I’ll preface by saying that we’re extremely, extremly lucky. I have the job of my dreams lined up back in Boston, and Stoytcho’s experience in tech gives him a lot of oppotunities. He’s white and is unlikely to be discriminated against. While I’ve been told I look “vaguely ethnic”, I’ve also been told I could “pass” as white, which in itself feels awful but means I’m also mostly safe from racial discrimination. What I’m not safe against is the likely increase in discrimination because I lack a Y chromosome, because I’m a woman, because I want both a career and family and don’t conform to the idea of traditional gender roles. I’m afraid for myself and all of the women like me who see the president elect’s behavior toward women and shiver, reminded of the creeps we knew in school or at work or as friends of friends, reminded of comments made to us or about us, or worse, actions taken against us. A person like this is now one of the most powerful in the world. People will look to him for what is acceptable behavior.
We thought briefly about not coming back, of staying abroad and changing our citizenship, but it seems unfair to flee both a country that has given us so much as well as those who still live there. We would leave behind friends and family, as well as those who will suffer under Trump’s policies but lack the resouces to flee. So that’s out of the question. But what do we do instead? We don’t know.