“You kept saying, ‘This is not who we are,’” Britain added.
“You said that a lot,” France said. “I had the anguish where it was concerned.”
“Meanwhile, I was trying to tell you these things don’t just happen,” Canada said. “You don’t just wake up one day and vote for Donald Trump by accident. I’m sorry.”
“Which is what you said had happened,” New Zealand added. “And it was like, then what are all these rallies, you know?”
“Unite the Right,” Germany said. “See, to me, that would have been a clear sign that something was up. Although, to be fair, I have experience.”
“We all have experience,” France said.
They glanced around the table. The United States was pointedly not making eye contact.
“But you certainly don’t vote for him by mistake a second time,” Canada said.
“He might not win!” the United States said, quickly, not looking up.
“See, this is what I’m talking about,” Britain said. “Sure, America, he might not win. Let’s even say he probably won’t! But it’s not what you would call a resounding defeat, right?”
“Certainly not a wholesale repudiation of his entire ideology and all that he stands for,” New Zealand said.
“This is after thousands of people have died under his watch,” France said. “Tens of thousands."
“Like, people have experienced him for four full years,” Mexico said. “They don’t not know what he’s going to be like.”
“I don’t understand,” the United States said. “This is not who we are."
They exchanged glances. “Isn’t it, though?” Canada said. “I mean, at a certain point, you have to look at yourself and say, ‘Is who I think I am aligned at all with what I am actually doing?’”
“Which we have been urging you to do for decades now, to be completely honest,” Vietnam said.
“I’ve been urging it for centuries,” Britain said. “You’ve always been like, no taxation without representation! All men are created equal, and I’m like, you literally still have slavery. I passed the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833, and I don’t even have ‘all men are created equal’ anywhere near my constitution."
“What even is your constitution, though?” France asked.
“That’s not the point,” Britain said. “It’s like, this is like when the Netherlands thought it wasn’t that obsessed with windmills. It was all, ‘Windmills aren’t my defining characteristic!’”
“Windmills are not my defining characteristic,” the Netherlands said grumpily from the end of the table.
“And we were like, ‘Netherlands, it will be easier for all of us if you will admit that you are a windmill country, and we can work around that.’”
“This whole conversation is riddled with stereotypes,” the Netherlands said, shuffling a wooden clog back and forth beneath the table.
“I just think you ought to look at yourself honestly,” Britain said. “It’s just exhausting every time you’re like, ‘I love democracy, I am a leader in science, these alt-right types don’t speak for me, I don’t need to work on myself, everyone else needs to,‘ and then you show up at an international summit with this authoritarian goof who seems frightened of science and can only speak in dog whistles.”
“Who are we supposed to believe: who you say you are, or who you keep showing yourself to be?” Japan asked.
“Like, you don’t have to give up on yourself the way — not going to name names, but the way —”
“I wasn’t going to name names,” Ukraine said anxiously.
“But if you keep acting as though it’s completely a surprise every time this happens, you won’t be able to stop it from happening, and then you’ll just be the country where that keeps happening and you don’t know why, which will be sad for us to watch and sadder for you to experience.”
“I just think I am better than this,” the United States said very slowly. “I have to think that.”
Everyone nodded encouragingly. “Of course. If it weren’t for thinking you were better than you are, you’d have no personality whatsoever.”
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