I knocked on doors and made phone calls to help Barack Obama become president in 2008, but for the majority of President Obama's two terms, I have lived in Shanghai. Even though I am 7000 miles away from my home, the United States, I keep up with current events and, like other Americans, the presidential election had my full attention.
 

I woke up Wednesday morning, opened my pirated CNN stream, and watched the returns come in. I planned on heading to the gym around noon once the polls on the west coast closed, and Hillary was declared the winner. Soon though, FL, OH, and NC were called for Trump, and it became clear what was happening, I became glued to my computer, paralyzed by disbelief, anger, and fear.

If it weren’t for my family, friends, and many other decent people in living in America, I’d say bring on the Trumpocalypse.

From China, this election seemed, at least in part, a referendum on diversity and an American culture that is rapidly changing. These changes were rejected. Black lives don't matter in America; neither do Latino ones, those of Muslims, women, or the many people Trump has insulted throughout his life and during the campaign.

Text messages from friends of various nationalities started coming in asking what the hell was happening. I had told them that there was no way America would make a reality TV star our Commander-in -Chief. Talking to other Americans and other expats here, not many were particularly thrilled with Clinton, but all agreed that Trump was unacceptable. So after teasing my British friends over Brexit, I'm about to find out what it was like being an American abroad during the Bush years, but only much worse, I suspect.

President-Elect Trump on Chines Newspapers
Photo by GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images

The petty side of me has been in a bit of a “chickens coming home to roost” mood. If it weren’t for my family, friends, and many other decent people in living in America, I’d say bring on the Trumpocalypse. Slavery, America’s original sin, has never been fully atoned for and whenever there is too much perceived progress by blacks, or “others,” there is a swift “whitelash.” So if this really is the beginning of America’s downfall, it feels appropriate that it’s initiated by the election of a man who made his name in politics by questioning the legitimacy of our nation’s first black president.

China is not a perfect place—no place is—but at least here there's no pretense here of the democracy and freedom and goodness to add insult to injury.

To be clear, I knew there was a certain segment of the population back home that was angry. I just had no idea how widespread that feeling was, and the self-destructive lengths people would go to express it.

I’ve often felt conflicted about living abroad while there’s so much unrest and turmoil back home, but with Trump’s election, the constant execution of  black men by police, and the rhetoric of citizens and politicians back home, I genuinely feel safer here. China is not a perfect place—no place is—but at least here there's no pretense here of the democracy and freedom and goodness to add insult to injury.

I and a lot of my friends in China fully expect America to be back at war soon, and if Trump delivers on his economic promises, another recession. They know that American policies still have a vast impact on the world. I hope we're just as wrong, concerning these matters, as we were about the possibility of a President-elect Trump.