I spent the morning after Donald Trump was elected president of the United States of America replying to gracious, heartfelt condolences and reassurances from speechwriting-biz friends in Europe, UK and Canada. They spoke to us as if we'd been kidnapped by this president and his supporters.
Different circumstances, but the sorts of messages Americans received from all over the world after 911: We are so sorry this happened to your country. We stand by you in solidarity. We will survive this, together. And, in this case, with the occasional offer of a place to live should the whole U.S. shit house go up in flames.
I worried, in light of Trump's election, that speechwriters from outside the U.S. would be hesitant to attend the PSA World Conference the following October, in D.C. But a third of our crowd was from outside the U.S.
But Sunday as I watched the morning news shows discuss Trump's assface behavior before , during and after the G7 meeting in Canada I began to wonder if that will be the case this year. We've already got several non-U.S. folks regstered, but our early-bird deadline is this Friday and the conference isn't until October. So it's much too soon to tell what the total international percentage will be.
We're also holding a Military Speechwriting Training at the U.S. Air Force Academy this fall, and I've got an email into a Canadian military speechwriting maven, inviting her to send her folks. I haven't heard back from her yet, and I'm thinking I picked the wrong week to send that email. (With my follow-up, I'll send her this post.)
And we're holding the first-ever Asia-Pacific Speechwriters Conference next February in Sydney, Australia. Though I can make the case that this is the moment that all sensible speechwriters must gather to talk about global rhetoric in the Age of Trump, I'm not exactly leading with the fact that a U.S.-based organization is convening the event. Anyway, I just got off the phone with one of our partners there, and I couldn't detect any anger in her cheery Australian voice.
But I'm honestly wondering whether the sympathy the world once had for Trumpjacked Americans is starting to give way to a desire to take a little break from us, and send a little message to the boss.
As a convener of a global association and as a human being, I'd absolutely hate for that to be the case. And I could surely argue that the best way to defy Trump is to be as little affected by him as possible.
But after a weekend of the Trump Doctrine ("We're America, Bitch"), I really started wondering: Communicator friends from Canada, England, Scotland, Poland, Norway, Denmark, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium, Australia, Jordan, Botswana, Mexico (or as I call you, the G15)—please tell me:
Has your attitude toward Americans hardened since election day?
Hello from a Government of Canada communications strategist. When I woke up this morning the sun was shining, the temperature was a comfortable 10 degrees Celsius going up to 26 and we are proudly celebrating National Public Service Week here in the nation’s capital. In other words, It’s summer in Soviet Canuckistan and the world hasn’t ended yet.
My wife and 18-year-old son are consumed by the news in ways that I rarely see from them. Personally, I’m worried that the next round of tariffs might include small fibreglass RVs assembled in Minnesota.
None of this is your fault, but we all could very well become collateral damage if this turns into a full-blown trade war. We don’t blame you personally for Trump, but if we impose tariffs on Kentucky bourbon then I guess just about anything is possible — even Chicago intellectual property.
On the other hand, if you are ever in Ottawa, look me up. We’ll raise a glass of Canadian Club with a Sam Adams chaser. It’s not the politicians that are going to keep this relationship strong, it’s ordinary people like you and me.
Renée Broekmeulen says
Here in The Netherlands we are all under the spell of Liz Garbus’documentary The Fourth Estate about The New York Times after Trumps election…. You are living in interesting times, as the Chinese would say. And I think we are part jealous (the constant waiting for total meltdown is interesting…), part sorry for the ‘good’ Americans (their neighbours chose the megalomaniac idiot) and part angry (how could you elect a man who destroys everything we believe in?).
Will it stop speechwriters to go to your conference? Yes, some are boycotting the US, most just think you organise interesting conferences. Not cheap… but mostly the boss pays anyway…
I just hope you did not vote for him… 🙂 Then you are always welcome to seek asylum in The Netherlands. We make you a honorary member of our Dead Horse Society!
Renée Broekmeulen says
And this will cheer you up, if you haven’t seen it yet: America First, The Netherlands Second:
Lucinda Holdforth says
David, thanks for asking! For what it’s worth, the short answer is: you’re fine. We all know that America has had its share of awful Presidents just as it has had some of the world’s finest leaders. Sure, Trump takes the world into new territory (though I confess right now I find it madly hilarious – that Singapore Summit produced some of the weirdest rhetoric ever).
I suspect the deeper point for we speechwriters is that the whole modern system is under strain – faith in democracy, the role of finance, global population movements, climate change, technology and its discontents. Perhaps Trump is more a symptom than a cause?
In which case we need thoughtful leaders and thinkers and speechwriters more than ever. And Australia will warmly welcome all American (and other) friends to the Asia-Pacific Speechwriters Conference next year.
David Murray says
From Canada, The Netherlands, and Australia so far (in addition to more countries on my Facebook page) … insightful—and reassuring. Thanks, all.
Meanwhile, our Canadian military maven replied to me, with typical Canadian humor and grace:
“I am most certainly NOT upset with any of you down there in unfair softwood lumber practices USA! 🙂 I am so very sorry that I’ve left you with any impression otherwise. Things have been hectic hectic hectic over here. … Apologies for not responding sooner, and thank you for the mention in your blog post.”
More comments welcome ….