I didn’t plan to write this post and I’m not happy that I need to. I’m also aware it will be misinterpreted, so please read it carefully.
First of all, I’m non-partisan. I have long held the belief that politics only divide people. The 2016 election proves that more than ever. Clinton voters are protesting in the streets and Trump voters are quick to point out that just because they voted for him doesn’t mean they are him. Here’s a travel blogger defending his Trump support:
Let’s get this straight, just because I’m non-partisan doesn’t mean I don’t have strong beliefs. I do. There are tons of many social, legal, environmental, and civil issues that I have rather black and white feelings about. I choose to get involved at a grass roots level rather than through elected officials.
One of the ways I try to effect change is through positive media such as this blog. I also try very hard not to spread dissent online because, well, this:
Now that we’ve got the political disclaimers out the way, let’s get on to the meat of this topic. I’m no prognosticator, but these are the headlines that pertain to travelers, women, and travel bloggers in this country.
Sexual Harassment Online Will Get Worse
The topic of sexual harassment online doesn’t get nearly as much airtime as cyber bullying, but for women, it can be a daily affair. This is perhaps even more true of bloggers. For some reason, some men view bloggers as robotic celebrities there for the harassing.
I’ve been blogging at Global Girl Travels for a little more than two years during which time I’ve acquired stalkers on every social network. Some start off respectful and harmless until they become insistent that I meet with them or send pictures or carry on an extended conversation with them.
Even eBay isn’t safe. Just this week, my buyer requested my mailing address and phone number and eBay sent it to him. Then I got a message inviting me to send pictures with his order because “as a photographer and a man” he found me attractive. Gross.
Melania Trump as a spokeswoman for cyber bullying has been called a joke. How can someone who enables an abusive husband be the example of standing up to bullying?
Sexual Harassment of Women in the U.S. Becomes Excusable Behavior
The immorality of the U.S. president-elect cannot be overstated. He described himself as a sexual aggressor, for crying out loud! Will this embolden men to sexually harass women to the point of assault with seeming impunity?
It’s already happening, women are reporting online. Catcalling has been more aggressive for some women and that infamous phrase about where to grab a woman is now in the public consciousness.
Talk of Trump’s behavior was already a trigger for women who have been assaulted, raped, or molested. News of his win was extremely anxious for a lot of American women, myself included. Will this cause American women to stay home rather than venture out even in their own country?
Matador Network published a harrowing account of eight women sexually assaulted while traveling abroad. A trigger warning definitely comes with this article. I’m certainly not suggesting that Donald Trump’s misogyny will impact the entire world of men, but it doesn’t help that the leader of the most powerful nation on earth brags about sexual assault.
If you’re a female traveler, and you’re scared, read this: 5 Ways to Stay Safe When You Travel.
Travel to Environmental Risk Hotspots May Become Impossible
Beijing is already in the red with air pollution. Honestly, I don’t want to go there because of the toxic air, but many travelers do.
Donald Trump has pledged to disavow the Paris climate treaty and cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs while lifting restrictions on $50 trillion dollars worth of fracking and pipeline constructing. Don’t believe it? Read his agenda for the first 100 days in office.
Will Trump’s disregard for climate change accelerate industrial growth that is more harmful than ever? Possibly. Will his decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement have a domino effect among other top polluting nations such as Russia? That remains to be seen.
Will destinations like Beijing become unvisitable or simply undesirable for tourism?
Freedom of Press May Be Limited As An Act of Retribution
I’m not trying to be a scaremonger, but Trump is known to hold a grudge and most of the mainstream news outlets did him no favors during the election. Will he punish them through presidential bullying or even crippling taxes? According to NPR, “Trump has also personally threatened to punish the owners of news organizations whose reports have proved embarrassing or critical.”
Putin’s Russia has all but eliminated all the civil rights and free speech gains from the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Read more at Human Rights Watch.
Will Trump follow suit with unconstitutional restrictions on the press, including online publishers like bloggers? It remains to be seen whether his petulant threats will be given teeth. Not that he has any grievances against travel bloggers, but most of us promote open borders and tolerance of foreigners. These are not exactly world views Trump espouses.
Travel to Certain Foreign Countries May Be Limited for American Tourists
Within 100 days of taking office, Trump promises to “build a wall” on the Mexican border, “begin removing the more than 2 million criminal illegal immigrants from the country and cancel visas to foreign countries that won’t take them back, and suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur.”
Could Trump’s actions result in certain countries being off-limits to American tourists, much the way Cuba was?
On the other hand, the Obama administration invited travel bloggers to the White House for an historic Travel Summit in December 2015. The summit was “an opportunity to discuss U.S. government initiatives and strategies for encouraging American students to study, volunteer, and work abroad.”
Trump’s Views on Islam May Make Travel to Muslim Countries More Dangerous for Americans
How many of you have been to a Muslim country? For the vast majority of us who have, we were pleasantly surprised how well-received we were as Americans. See, travel does that for humans — it breaks down barriers and melts the icy, nationalist propaganda of our respective governments. People are just people, you learn over and over when you travel.
Other travel bloggers have had wonderful experiences in deeply Muslim countries. Check out Gary Arndt’s post about travel to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan or Expert Vagabond Matthew Karsten’s revelations about Afghanistani views of Americans.
Meanwhile, here’s the reaction of jihadists to Trump’s victory. According to a report by the Washington Post, “‘Trump’s win of the American presidency will bring hostility of Muslims against America as a result of his reckless actions, which show the overt and hidden hatred against them.’ continued the essay, provided by the SITE Intelligence group, a private organization that monitors jihadists’ web sites.”
Then there’s this from the Islamic State-affiliated al-Minbar Jihadi Media network, one of several jihadi forums to post commentaries on the results of the U.S. election: “Rejoice with support from Allah, and find glad tidings in the imminent demise of America at the hands of Trump.”
Continues the report, “Al-Minbar is among several jihadist-lined online publications that sought to capitalize on Trump’s controversial statements about Muslim during the election campaign, saying that the alienation of ordinary Muslims is key to their recruitment of foreign fighters.”
According to a report in Time, Trump’s rhetoric “play(s) right into the hands of ISIS.” That same report says: “His ideas fuel the group’s efforts to radicalize and mobilize its followers to take action. In fact, Trump himself has been featured in ISIS propaganda videos following the Brussels attack and the Orlando massacre.”
I’m not saying any U.S. administration has brokered true peace among Muslims, but I can’t see it getting better under a president (and a party) who is notoriously suspicious of this demographic.