I never expected Donald Trump to be the President, so waking up in Finland to find out he won the election came as a shock.
For the past few days, everyone I meet asks me how I feel about the election. But what is most interesting to me, are their opinions about him and the United States.
This afternoon, my friend, Gilbert, the volunteer directer for AIESEC in Finland, set up a space to meet at a coffee shop with a high schooler from Finland, Vilma, and other AIESEC volunteers (all under the age of 30) to get to know each other and talk.
At coffee, there was Vilma from Finland, Marzie from Iran, Hajen from Tunisia, Magdalena from Cyprus, Maria from Greece, and Gilbert from Brazil.
I asked each of them their opinion of Trump what impact he might have on their countries.
This is what they responded:
"I think he is islamaphobic, sexist, racist, and populist. I am afraid it will be hard to study and travel in the United States because many Finnish students, including myself, want to go there. Hopefully this will make Americans and the rest of the world appreciate Obama more. Trump as president might affect Finland because for many years Finland has considered joining NATO. We would really like to stay neutral and not take sides with either NATO or Russia, but with the conflict of Russia and neighboring countries, Finland has felt pressure to join NATO. Because Finns believe that Trump has a good relationship with Putin, now we might be safe to remain neutral."
"I don't know him very well to have much of an opinion but I'm worried. And people in Iran are worried that it will cause in increase instead of a decrease in sanctions. Its hard to say anything good about him when he says bad things about my country."
"I think he is very harsh and not diplomatic enough to be president, not politically the best. He is very stubborn. I don't trust him and it's hard to expect what he is going to do. He doesn't know his limits and doesn't respect anyone. If he does what he says it would be a disaster, because many immigrants are doing good for the USA (working as doctors, teachers, etc...). My country is nonexistent to the USA and it will stay that way."
"From what I've heard, he is very racist and has racist ideology. He's not familiar with politics and how to manage situations. There is a general panic at the moment, and as the US people are in chaos, we are as well, but as things keep flowing it will probably mean negative economic impact for us."
"He's extremely racist, and I hate him for that. What annoys me most is that so many Americans voted for him, and that's disappointing. Because when you vote for someone, you endorse his opinions. We have a group in our country that thinks racist and it will make people in our country to feel even more racist. This will make it worse. He makes it ok for people to think this way."
"It's a massive embarrassment for so many people to elect a clown to be their nations representative. Although, I think he should finish his four years because he was demographically elected (throwing shade at Brazils coup). He is giving a voice for ignorant speech. Many ignorant people in our country are happy because they think it will be cheaper to go to Disneyland."
These perspectives left me with so many new questions:
Is voting for a president only about what's best for America, or should we consider who will have the most positive impact on our world?
Was racism really decreasing in the United States, or was it just hidden?
Are we abusing our right to freedom of speech by saying words that hurt others?
How will our election affect our international relations?
How will our election affect the political voices in other countries?
What example did we just give to the world?