Why are we obsessed with JEE

Obsessed with freedom


By Ulrike Rylance

Ulrike Rylance is a freelance writer. She is originally from Jena, lived for a while in Leipzig and London and now lives with her family in Seattle / USA.

The day after Trump's election victory, my daughter came home from high school completely distraught. Not only were Trump's supporters noisy and wandering through the school with flags, a Muslim classmate also came to the English teacher, who is popular with everyone, during the break and asked her if she would stand by him in the future if the mob harassed him. (The Trump supporter had already announced that day that it would soon be on his neck.) The English teacher then burst into tears. Incidentally, so did I when my daughter told me about it. It seemed like a dull, dark premonition of how things were going to play out. A few weeks have passed since then and my gut feeling has shown me to be right.

I am not afraid of the man Trump. He's an inflated, crazy egomaniac who should finally change his self-tanner. But I am afraid of what it does in people's minds. Already now you have the feeling that every hillbilly can finally let the pig out and say what he really thinks. Racism, sexism, general vulgarity, boasting have become socially acceptable again, so to speak, now that Trample Trump is setting an example for everyone in the White House. You can rail against Trump, you can mock him with pictures and jokes on the Internet, you can sign petitions and demonstrate. But when the mob then starts walking in the corridors of high school with pitchforks or with wild mockery and insults on Muslim and Jewish and homosexual and anyway all other classmates, then at that moment you are alone as a minority. And yes - that scares me.

The wildest theories are currently circulating on the Internet: Republicans only use Trump for as long as he is useful to them and then saw him off, Trump himself will sooner or later throw in the towel in an outburst because the job bores him and Trump becomes Victim of an assassination and so on and so forth. I do not want to speculate about whether one should draw hope from this. But in the fifteen years I've lived in the United States, I've learned one thing above all: Americans love their freedom more than anything. Even more than their weapons, if that's even possible. Americans are obsessed with freedom; it is the cornerstone of their democracy, their history, all of their thinking. They are not as obedient to the authorities as we Germans, and they do not allow themselves to be intimidated or even shut up like we former GDR citizens. They know nothing but this freedom and they take it for granted. And they don't let anyone take this freedom away from them. From that I draw hope.


The day after Trump won the election my daughter was visibly upset when she came home from High School. Not only had the Trump supporters paraded through school, waving their flags but there had also been an incident where a Muslim student asked the popular English teacher if she would protect him in the future when the mob would come for him (The Trump supporters had already announced this to him.) The English teacher burst out crying and quite frankly, so did I when my daughter told me about it. It seemed like a dark and sinister prediction of things to come. Several weeks have passed now and my gut instinct was right.

I am not afraid of Trump. He is an egocentric, pompous mad man who desperately needs to change his self-tanning lotion. But I am afraid of what he does to people’s minds. It already feels like every hillbilly and his wife can blurt out everything they always wanted to say but didn’t quite dare. After all, racism, sexism, vulgarity and being a pompous ass have been made socially acceptable by the very man himself. But he thing is - you can mock Trump online with jokes and pictures, you can sign petitions and demonstrate with all the other like minded people, but when they come after you with insults and jeering because you are a Muslim or Jewish or gay student or just a somewhat different student in high school, then you are probably on your own these days, no matter what the school claims their “anti-bullying” policy is. And that frightens me.

Right now the wildest theories are flooding the internet: the Republicans will only use Trump for their own purposes and then dump him, he will quit the job himself in a frustrated temper tantrum, he might get assassinated and so on. Whether any of this gives reason to hope I will not comment on. But in the fifteen years I have lived in the US I have figured out one thing more than anything else: Americans love their freedom. They probably love it more than they love their guns if that is even possible. Americans are almost obsessed with freedom; it is the foundation of their democracy and their history and it rules all their thinking. They are not as obedient to authority as the Germans and they won’t be intimidated or silenced. Americans have never known anything other than freedom, they take it for granted and they will defend it with a vengeance. And that gives me hope.


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Published by ctoman

Claudia Toman lives as an author, dreamer and designer in Vienna. She was assistant director and stage manager in the field of music theater, museum guide for children and has been writing novels for Diana Verlag and others under the pseudonym Anna Koschka at Droemer Knaur since 2009. She has also been creating designs for books with the label Traumstoff since 2014. She is known to be a victim of social media, serial junkie, cat owner, second breakfast lover, and a member of the Losers' Club and Dumbledore's Army. More information: claudiatoman.blogspot.com and traumstoff.at Show all posts by ctoman