Fire from Afar

Perspective on American political turmoil from across the world.

Photo Credit: Mirror

Spending the evening on a sleeper class train from Hyderabad to Chennai is a new experience for anyone raised on American public transportation, or the lack thereof. The six people placed in a cozy compartment have no choice but to socialize with their fellow passengers while snacking on the various treats and beverages from passing vendors.

After a time, the back of the shared seat rose to make two bunks with a previously existent third bed already on top. The blue foam mat suspended in the air from hanging chains was comforting in a way, providing a place of rest while the Indian countryside breezes by.

As the eyelids began to drift downward, a ding came from the iPhone in the hanging sleeve: CNN: One person has died as a result of violence at a white nationalist rally…

Not one day has gone by without a new tragedy or presidential mishap making its way to Indian airspace. This weekend alone saw Trump threatening a rising nuclear power with “fire and fury” as well as a white pride rally turning deadly.

One of the main purposes of studying abroad is to have new experiences and live other cultures. India provides more than a Texan could swallow, spreading across a subcontinent of diverse traditional practices and culinary creations. After a short train ride, even some Indians have a difficult time understanding neighboring languages, relying on English or Hindi to communicate.

Constantly living in fear of the latest notification from the United States hinders many a world traveler; especially those in Political Science who find themselves as a liaison for the events back home. The most troubling scenario comes when an Indian citizen asks about an event, and study abroad activities shield the traveler’s knowledge prior to the encounter.

Many spend a semester out of the country to meet new people, try different food, and live a temporary life abroad. While all of these are correct, a relevant motivation comes from the desire to take time away from Trump’s America, regardless of the duration. However, with the advancements in technology and globalization of knowledge, attempts of temporary leave are futile. As long as the Indian phone providers slap a “3G” on the corner of the smartphone, the digital paperboy continues his barrage through the glass window.

The coming years are nothing that American citizens cannot handle, but wherever they may find themselves on the world map, there will be no siesta for a while. Collective actions of love and purposeful change will bring some comfort to a population in constant fear of the ding on their phone.

The train speeding through the night pulled a racing heart along the tracks. Sleep came in small intervals, more time spent in a blank stare at the foggy landscape post-dusk. Eventually, the conclusion that a weary wanderer in another time zone had no control over their American counterparts at such an hour allowed for a few moments of rest.