How to rise above the war your government waged

You are not your government. An Iraqi is not theirs. Is it time to retune your perspective?

How does the world view American citizens? It might actually surprise you. Amaryllis Fox is a former CIA clandestine operative who grew up in the developing world and who has spent most of her career so far in foreign countries. "What continues to surprise me in every conversation I have, in each country I go to, is how sophisticated people are at separating the American citizen from the American government." You are not your government, just as an Iraqi is not theirs. That is a humanizing realization that is incredibly powerful for the everyday citizen, and even more so for veterans who have been trained in detachment, inside the military-industrial complex. Fox's organization Operation Zoe brings veterans back into their old theaters of war and uses their unique military skill set for humanitarian missions, like rebuilding homes, youth centers, and health clinics with local townspeople. "There’s a real magic to it when you recognize yourself in someone else," Fox says. Whether you grow up in an autocracy or a democracy, there is often very little say for citizens in the actions of their government. Your perspective on others and personal actions, however, are entirely in your hands.

Trump’s Presidency Will Test American Citizens on the World Stage

Politics is a noble, brave world, says Bernard-Henri Lévy – but that's not what we have here. \r\n

For once, America has not shown the way for Europe but the opposite. Philosopher and documentary filmmaker Bernard-Henri Lévy compares the path of Donald Trump to that of the former Italian president Silvio Berlusconi, who Lévy calls the "godfather of this sort of new spectacular populism, populism based on TV… Berlusconi, created the same sort of division which you are facing today in America." Populist leaders like Trump and Berlusconi strip politics of its nobility, and treat their platform as a circus, he says. Trump’s politics will feed the global sentiment of anti-Americanism, so to mitigate the damage and repair its image, American citizens must stand-up to their "cartoon president," says Lévy. Do not allow the policies that unfold over the next four years to be made in your name – the people must provide the checks and balances on the Trump administration. Bernard-Henri Lévy's most recent book is The Genius of Judaism.

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