An Open Letter To The World: Please Forgive America’s Temporary Insanity


Dear World,

Another week another heart wrenching headline that makes Americans look as unwoke as humanly possible. Mr. Trump, as he is so lovingly referred to by The New York Times and other outlets that use the non-Presidential moniker to voice their own quiet rebellion, has done it again. In defiance of hundreds of years of global solidarity and scientific research, Trump has taken our country one giant step back, siding with only two other nations-Syria and Nicaragua-who reject the Paris Climate Agreement, meant to unite the world against the devastating effects of climate change. His reasoning is, as usual, muddled. It involves something about Pittsburgh? Or was it Something about Germany being “very bad”?

Around the world, the headlines were brutal. One German newspaper's cover showed a giant Trump head lunging towards the earth with an open salivating mouth. The title was just as ominous: "America First, Earth Last." We get it, we look crazy, but before you cast us aside, please give us a minute to analyze what is going on in Bizarro World USA.

Did Trump pull out of the Paris Agreement, which was carefully negotiated by representatives of 195 countries in 2015, because he truly believes it is the right move for our country or is he simply enjoying his role of political rule breaker? It seems “look at what I’ll do next!,” is our current President’s mantra. Trump is a man who is used to seeing his name in lights and this presidency thus far has been a reflection of that. From physically (and symbolically) pushing aside political leaders to sending messages of “covfefe,” (which as of press time is still unrecognized by spell check), it’s hard to know where the reality show begins or ends. And thus, we can’t help but wonder if Mr. Trump is chasing the spotlight rather than thinking of the best for Americans, present and future. Even former Republican Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke out against Donald with a now viral video in which he reminds the Commander-in-Chief whose best interest he’s supposed to be looking out for.

“My message to you, Mr Trump is that as a public servant, especially as a President, your first and most important responsibility is to protect the people,” said the terminator. “Two hundred thousand people die every year in the U.S. from air pollution, and half of our rivers and streams are too polluted for our health. We can’t sit back and just do nothing while people get sick and dying, especially when you know there’s another way.”

What is even more concerning is the fact that the world is beginning to pull away from the United States due to a President who most of us did not vote for. While we can’t say we don’t understand why there are so many who would rather not work directly with Trump, we ask world leaders to remember that America is more than Donald Trump. There are millions of us positively in a frenzy due to the ill-advised decisions and scattered leadership of this administration. We, the sane, the science-minded and, ahem, the majority of Americans, are in a downright panic about what is happening in our country. We are rising up, we are fighting back, we are trying our hardest to remind the world that the United States is a country that embraces diversity, science, information sharing and working with our allies to preserve our planet.

We cannot destroy the decades and centuries of camaraderie, intercontinental support and unity, because of one divisive President. It must be reminded that many powerful modern countries of today have had questionable and downright horrible leaders throughout history. Having the foresight to remember we must always come back to the table after the dust settles is imperative to navigating these next three years, seven months, 18 days, and 1 hour of this presidency.

Our Fragile President

The fragility of the male ego is an oft overlooked reality, and one that has come to define many of the world’s most tragic turning points in history. On one hand Trump is a fearless bossman who can fire people and reject policies with ease, but on the other he is a sensitive soul who needs to prove he is popular and well liked. Quick to hate-tweet his “enemies” and overinflate anything remotely positive, we want the world to know we see the smoke in mirrors and we are far from entertained by it. Deciphering the truth has never been harder, at least in my young adult life.

Often history’s most notorious personalities were also emotionally fragile, strange folks who could not handle criticism or questioning, yet were bold in their decision making. The fact that Donald has surrounded himself by only like-minded “yes” people including his daughter and son-in-law, make for a soft sounding board when it comes to rendering heavy verdicts. It is rumored that even Ivanka was against this move, although we can never be exactly sure just what is going on in that family.

Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement on behalf of a country that is the biggest culprit of carbon dioxide emissions in the populated universe, sickens the vast majority of us who feel a responsibility to the rest of the world to be leaders in the race against climate change. The dangerous and irresponsible move threatens our planet, our relationships with our allies, and our national security.

The future that Trump is preparing for is one that considers Trump, and Trump interests above all. By isolating us from the rest of the world (which incidentally is the way predators go about catching and killing their prey) creates a future for him that is unburdened by due process or global reprisal. Unlike other leaders (Washington, Eisenhower, and Obama are considered to be top in the bipartisan game) who sought the opinions of experts and lawmakers before making his decisions, Trump believes he knows best. And if history tells us anything, having that kind of ego means he does not.

“But this much is clear now: Mr. Trump’s policies — the latest of which was his decision to withdraw from the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change — have dismayed America’s allies, defied the wishes of much of the American business community he pretends to help, threatened America’s competitiveness as well as job growth in crucial industries and squandered what was left of America’s claim to leadership on an issue of global importance,” wrote The editorial board of The New York Times, which also reveals that in the last few months Trump has ordered rollbacks of every one of the policies on which President Barack Obama pledged to reduce America’s greenhouse gas emissions. “In huge neon letters, it sends a clear message that this president knows nothing or cares little about the science underlying the stark warnings of environmental disruption. Perhaps most astonishing of all, a chief executive who touts himself as a shrewd businessman, and who ran on a promise of jobs for the middle class and making America great again, seems blind to the damage this will do to America’s own economic interests. The world’s gradual transition from fossil fuels has opened up a huge global market, estimated to be $6 trillion by 2030, for renewable fuels like wind and solar, for electric cars, for advanced batteries and other technologies.”

The 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) was held in Paris from 30 November to 12 December. EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON NYTCREDIT: Christophe Petit Tesson/European Pressphoto Agency

World, please do not for one second believe this country condones the actions of our rebellious president. We promise you will see us continue to fight back and mobilize, thinking of what is best for our future and for that of the world. We promise we are not robots and we will not ever become consumed by the lies we are being fed. We see what's going on and we don't accept it.

World, please realize that insanity is, in fact, not contagious. Please realize that Americans are mostly hard-working immigrants and children of immigrants who are just as dismayed as the rest of you with what is unfolding in our nation. All we can hope is we continue to uphold the values we stand for, both as individual states (New York, California and Washington have already pledged their allegiance to the endeavours of the Paris Agreement, and even petitioned to be recognized globally as doing so), as well as individuals. World, please bear with us through these next few years while we endure this roller coaster ride in the White House. We promise he will soon be gone and we can only hope our country does not make this same mistake twice.

Fool us once, shame on us, fool us twice - one-way ticket to bon Paris; That is, if you’ll still have us.

3 Min Read

Help! Am I A Fraud?

The Armchair Psychologist has all the answers you need!

Help! I Might Get Fired!

Dear Armchair Psychologist,

What's the best way to be prepared for a layoff? Because of the crisis, I am worried that my company is going to let me go soon, what can I do to be prepared? Is now a good time to send resumes? Should I save money? Redesign my website? Be proactive at work? Make myself non-disposable?

- Restless & Jobless

Dear Restless & Jobless,

I'm sorry that you're feeling anxious about your employment status. There are many people like yourself in this pandemic who are navigating an uncertain future, many have already lost their jobs. In my experience as a former professional recruiter for almost a decade, I always told my candidates the importance of periodically being passively on the market. This way, you'd know your worth, and you'd be able to track the market rates that may have changed over time, and sometimes even your job title which might have evolved unbeknownst to you.

This is a great time to reach out to your network, update your online professional presence (LinkedIn etc.), and send resumes. Though I'm not a fan of sending a resume blindly into a large database. Rather, talk to friends or email acquaintances and have them directly introduce you to someone who knows someone at a list of companies and people you have already researched. It's called "working closest to the dollar."

Here's a useful article with some great COVID-times employment tips; it suggests to "post ideas, articles, and other content that will attract and engage your target audience—specifically recruiters." If you're able to, try to steer away from focusing too much on the possibility of getting fired, instead spend your energy being the best you can be at work, and also actively being on the job market. Schedule as many video calls as you can, there's nothing like good ol' face-to-face meetings to get yourself on someone's radar. If your worries get the best of you, I recommend you schedule time with a qualified therapist. When you're ready, lean into that video chat and werk!

- The Armchair Psychologist


Dear Armchair Psychologist,

I'm an independent consultant in NYC. I just filed for unemployment, but I feel a little guilty collecting because a) I'm not looking for a job (there are none anyway) and b) the company that will pay just happens to be the one that had me file a W2 last year; I've done other 1099 work since then.

- Guilt-Ridden

Dear Name,

I'm sorry that you're wracked with guilt. It's admirable that your conscience is making you re-evaluate whether you are entitled to "burden the system" so to speak as a state's unemployment funds can run low. Shame researchers, like Dr. Brené Brown, believe that the difference between shame and guilt is that shame is often rooted in the self/self-worth and is often destructive whereas guilt is based on one's behavior and compels us to do better. "I believe that guilt is adaptive and helpful – it's holding something we've done or failed to do up against our values and feeling psychological discomfort."

Your guilt sounds like a healthy problem. Many people feel guilty about collecting unemployment benefits because of how they were raised and the assumption that it's akin to "seeking charity." You're entitled to your unemployment benefits, and it was paid into a fund for you by your employer with your own blood, sweat, and tears. Also, you aren't committing an illegal act. The benefits are there to relieve you in times when circumstances prevent you from having a job. Each state may vary, but the NY State Department of Labor requires that you are actively job searching. The Cares Act which was passed in March 2020 also may provide some relief. I recommend that you collect the relief you need but to be sure that you meet the criteria by actively searching for a job just in case anyone will hire you.

- The Armchair Psychologist