As a native Northern New Yorker now living in Europe, it pains me to watch what’s happening in my home country from afar. It’s both heartbreaking and infuriating to watch the abysmal handling of the novel coronavirus, especially knowing that it didn’t have to be this way. I was in Northern Italy when the first corona case was confirmed and despite its initial struggles, the government took immediate action to lock down the entire country and implement nationwide restrictions, which included social distancing, limits on the size of public gatherings and a mask mandate.
Today, the country is starting to get back to normal with certain restrictions still in place, which includes masks in public places. There is no reason this couldn’t have been the case for the United States as well. With proper leadership, listening to the health experts, a national strategy and consistent messaging, this unforgivable tragedy we are witnessing could’ve all been avoided. The truth matters. Leadership can literally be the difference between life and death.
Many Americans abroad have watched our reputation on the world stage deteriorate, relationships with allies erode and trust in the American government fade. After four years, we’ve seen enough. Enough of the chaos, the division, the lies, the corruption, the hateful rhetoric and a total disregard for decency. President Donald Trump’s lack of leadership has made our country more fractured and divided, less safe and less equitable.
We can’t afford another four years of this and neither can our democracy. We may be far away, but we still have strong ties to our home country through family, friends and the American way of life. We are still American no matter where we live, and another four years of a Trump presidency will affect us all. There are about 6.5 million eligible American voters living outside the United States, and together with our friends back home, we will work hard to restore decency, integrity and compassion to the White House.
Teresa Coloton Hak