An American Abroad: 7 great Finnish observations about Trumpland, USA

Photo: DNB Finland

Editor’s Note: Helsinki:now is not a politically-fueled outlet, however, this topic is currently pertinent on the world stage. While seven people are hardly representative of the entire population of Finland, it’s a decent start…and despite my best efforts, it was quite difficult to find a positive reaction to the newly-elected President. 

I cannot help but be totally charged. I am totally charged not with love for my country or optimism for the future, but charged with utter despair and bottomless outrage. I didn’t fully weigh the implications of Trump’s proposed political agenda in the primaries, because let’s face it, I never thought I’d see a Trump White House. I did understand that the “Again” in Trump’s insidious campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” would signify a proposed return to the early 1900s. However, I still didn’t think that aging, spiteful, white billionaires would ever be able to instill legislation that could potentially destroy basic civil liberties.

While I’m fully aware what a Republican agenda typically entails, I still become baffled and enraged when anyone — man or woman — threatens a person’s basic rights of choice. However, this is just the tip of the Trump iceberg.

I currently reside in Helsinki, Finland. I have lived in this amazing city for the past 10 years, and I’m incredibly proud to identify more as a European than an American. While I’m proud to be Californian, in the same breath I shudder in fear for my sisters and brothers trapped in a country resembling a disconnected dictatorship more than a country unified in protecting the constitution. Freedom is fleeting in the current Trump-erica, so prepare for a fear-driven, complete division of the USA as a whole.

With that said, Finnish people are known for specific general qualities. While I try and avoid complete stereotypes, a good character “rule-of-thumb” when trying to describe a Finnish person to outsiders is their general unpretentious demeanor. Finns are prone to humility and modesty (unlike the current American President), and are also known for their exceedingly dark and obscure humor. I really haven’t had a problem getting on with Finnish people. They are kind, loyal, honest (and often times drunk) and I find their honesty really liberating.

I decided to ask Finnish people their thoughts on the current political climate of the USA. This article is an attempt to present viewpoints of people who live in a well-planned infrastructure that meets basic needs — of both men and women — quite equally, and all under a pretty functional taxation system with a low level of corruption.

This is also a shrilling scream to everyone across the pond who feels isolated and alone.

For this article, I was seeking bold, unapologetic viewpoints that were unscripted. Here’s what the 7 Finnish representatives had to say:

  1. “When Trump got elected I was in a shock, like lots of other people. It’s pretty scary to think about what’s going to happen now and how other countries will deal with (a) lunatic like that. It’s scary and really pushes anxiety levels when I think about it.” – Jonna, 24
  2. “Childlike foreign policy will be Trump’s first huge mistake…he just simply doesn’t comprehend what he’s doing.” — Joni, 38
  3. “I love him and he scares the shit outta me……He’s like a living cartoon character with bad policy and an outrageous Twitter account. Let’s hope this isn’t the onset of World War 3.” – Jenni, 20
  4. “It is like a cruel joke. Not reality.” — Anne, 23
  5. “He sounds like a crazy dictator —  baffled…Most of my friends just feel bad for Americans now.” Mikko–30
  6. “I think that for most Finns there’s a distortion in the way we see the USA. We see America mostly through movies, TV and our selected American friends. Art and culture represents (to many) the idea of America, and we don’t really see the religious fundamentalism which exists in a vast area of rural America.

    Trump is a clown and a showman. He’s your Timo Soini (Finnish Deputy Prime Minister) and voted to power because people were fed up with the system. I get that. I’m dissatisfied with the system too. What I don’t agree with is the chosen method of protest (Trump, Soini).

    Also, the christian fundamentalists are another bag of evil that we just don’t understand in Finland. Humanity has flown to space — surely one can’t be this crazy with religious beliefs, right?” – Jari, 45
  7. There’s evil. There’s stupid. And then there’s the combo platter.” – Markus, 54

The world is watching with bated breath, and us expats are as powerless as ever against the orange behemoth and his privileged, pussy-grabbin’ posse. Thankfully I live in a country where daytime drinking is pretty acceptable under the right circumstances, because I’ll be sipping on a cold glass of vodka while waving what’s left of humanity goodbye.


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