What to Do When “America First” Outlives Trump

Written by Andrew Henderson

Dateline: Bogota, Colombia

Just the other day, I wrote about why I stopped following politics rather than stay and fight against a system that I did not agree with.

Today, in light of Joe Biden’s inauguration, let me just further cement why entrepreneurs and investors who want to enjoy a life of freedom and prosperity should stop allowing their life to be consumed by politics and simply go where they’re treated best.

If you’re a regular reader here or one of our loyal YouTube subscribers, you know that I renounced my US citizenship. At a certain point, I realized that being a citizen of the United States wasn’t part of how I wanted to live my life.

These days, I have multiple houses around the world, I enjoy traveling, I love the freedom that comes with being a global citizen, and I pay much lower taxes.

Through my work here at Nomad Capitalist, I help six, seven, and eight-figure entrepreneurs and investors do the same by creating holistic offshore strategies that allow them to save money and create a life of greater freedom overseas.

But back in the US… well, you probably know what’s going on.

So, as a new POTUS takes office, I’m just going to take a brief moment to reflect on the US political climate, how it affects folks like you and me, and what you can do – not about “it” but what you can do – to ensure that you are where you will be treated best.

I Was Never a Patriot

To be clear, the political climate of the US did play a role in my decision to renounce my US citizenship, but it was not the only reason I said goodbye to my country of birth.

The truth is, I was never very patriotic.

I just didn’t get it.

I’m from Cleveland, Ohio in the United States – home of the Cleveland Browns football team. Now, I don’t follow sports, but I know that the Cleveland Browns have a really bad record. They lose far more often than they win. It’s really dreadful.

Even so, I know people who have supported the Cleveland Browns for the last 35 years or more and I always wonder: Why? They’re terrible!

It doesn’t make sense that just because you’re from somewhere you have to support whatever the place does. And I never felt that type of patriotism toward my country, let alone the Cleveland Browns! I certainly never thought that everything about my country was fantastic.

When 9/11 happened, I did change my attitude for a while. I got into the flag-waving thing. It was a very sad time in US history. But overall, I found that flag-waving wasn’t for me. I just didn’t agree with what the country was doing.

This isn’t to say that I hate Americans or that I hate everything about America. Now that I left the country and have a clearer focus, I can see that there are a lot of good things that I can respect about the United States.

But patriotism was never in my bones.

That is why the “America First” mantra that Trump began during his first election campaign and continued throughout his presidency just never struck a chord in me.

My Thoughts on “America First”

Before I dive into my thoughts on “America first” and what it means for globally-minded investors and entrepreneurs, the first question we must ask is: What does it even mean?

Four years ago today, Trump proudly declared in his inaugural speech: “America first! America first!” But believe it or not, Trump was not the first to brandish this phrase. Its roots are deep and draw their strength from intense isolationist sentiments in the United States.

Trump certainly built on that, but he also sought to take ownership of the phrase and even set up an entire organization to implement his “America first” policies.

In the Trump era, “America first” represented everything from nationalism and xenophobia to anti-interventionist positions and a trade war with China. Overall, it meant pulling the US out of global politics while ignoring allies and cozying up to autocratic leaders.

While “America First” was a promise to defend US primacy in 2016, in practice, it became an effort to remove the US from global engagement.

I was in South Africa when Trump got elected and, honestly, didn’t know how to feel about it.

If I had voted, I probably would have made a self-serving vote for Hillary – not because I thought she would be a good president by any means, but because she represented the status quo. She would have certainly been an annoyance, but she wouldn’t have bothered folks like me who were overseas because she had a more global view.

But when Trump won, the libertarian in me was glad. I appreciated the anti-establishment nature of Trump. But part of me also realized that I would probably have to make a change because I just didn’t believe in “America first.”

Within a year of Trump’s inauguration, I had renounced my US citizenship.

The return to isolationism meant nothing but bad news for people who wanted to live a more international lifestyle. It legitimized the undercurrent of disdain for anyone who dare think beyond the borders of their own country.

Sure, “America first” was probably a good thing for a factory worker in the US – nobody blames factory workers for voting in the interest of factory workers – but it was not in my best interest.

I believe in going where you’re treated best.

“America First” Will Outlive Trump

Today, Trump leaves office, but the “America First” sentiment will live on. Biden has made promises to restore the US to global political engagement, but the reality is that it wasn’t just Trump who believed in “America first”.

The majority that put him in office four years ago believed it.

The 65% of Americans who liked Trump’s “America First” inaugural speech approved of it.

And almost half the country voted to re-elect the man who has made “America First” the overriding theme of his presidency.

Biden alone cannot hide the fact that isolationist tendencies run deep in the American psyche. Trump was just the embodiment of a widespread sentiment throughout the United States.

It is the same sentiment that fuels the “tax the wealthy” agenda that Biden embraces and that has also driven the Calexodus. American culture today is largely against folks like you and me who are more entrepreneurially and globally minded.

It’s a sad reality, but a reality nonetheless.

By the time I began to seriously consider renunciation, I was starting to see the US like the psycho girlfriend who is shouting and throwing a frying pan across the kitchen. Who knows when she’ll lash out next?

When it gets to that point, you have to step back and keep your distance.

“America First” was a red flag that American culture is no longer welcoming to people like me who want to live and explore and do business overseas. It was a clear signal that there would be problems ahead. I’m glad I got out.

Go Where You’re Treated Best

The best way I have found to counter the “America First” mantra has been to lean into my own mantra: go where you’re treated best.

Right around the time I renounced, I began to fully adopt my mantra into every part of my life.

I removed some people in my business and professional life who were not a fit, who were difficult and took advantage of me. At the same time, I brought in some new people who were really supportive and loving.

As someone who works hard around the clock, feeling love and support was amazing.

Soon after, I met the now Mrs. H. I had been traveling for a while on my own and I decided that I wanted to make a change and bring more caring people and deeper relationships into my life. That realization was a great power for change.

Knowing that I have people who love and support me – both Americans and non-Americans – all around the world brings me greater happiness than anything that is or isn’t going on in any political realm.

If you feel that you aren’t being treated best by the country you live in or by the people who are surrounding you, it’s time to make a change. If you want to improve your quality of life, you can’t stay in a country that’s going to treat you like garbage. You don’t want to surround yourself with people who constantly take from you and give nothing in return.

Your relationship with a country isn’t that much different than your relationship with anyone else. You want to be with someone who treats you the best. You want to go where you’re treated best.

If you’re ready to do that, we’re always here to help.

Andrew Henderson
Last updated: Jan 20, 2021 at 12:50AM

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