U.S. Passport Is A Sail, Not An Anchor -- Let's Keep It That Way

  • by , Featured Contributor, February 15, 2024
Yesterday, I traveled back to the U.S. after a week in Kyiv and Lviv, working with local leaders and entrepreneurs to help create jobs, business and start-ups in Ukraine. Keeping the country’s economy operating is critical while Ukrainians fight off the horrific full invasion of their country by Russia, dealing with the massive uncertainty of support from their allies and trying to live lives and raise their families.

As I progressed through half a dozen checkpoints both in leaving Ukraine and entering Poland, it was clear how privileged I was to have a U.S passport. I sailed through those checkpoints, frequently with a smile, moving much faster than so many others with passports from Ukraine and other European countries. As someone who travels internationally at least five times a year, it is a privilege that I have experienced at least a hundred times over the past three decades.

Carrying the little blue book embossed with the Great Seal of the United States when crossing a border is a sail with a tailwind. Not because of who we are as Americans today, but because of what our nation, our leaders and our fellow citizens have represented for centuries.



That legacy is in danger. When a nation stops keeping its promises and living its values, leaves allies swinging in the wind and threatens to shirk from its global treaties and duties, the privileges and respect that the nation has built over the past 250 years will disappear quickly.

I believe that the U.S. is entering that moment.

It is critical that our nation keeps its promises to the world and allies -- NATO, Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, among others. It is why we must live, support and enforce our core values, like freedom, democracy and rule of law. It is why we can’t stop standing up for what being an American means.

If we don’t, we will find that carrying a U.S passport across borders will soon become an anchor, not a sail. It won’t happen overnight. But, much like Ernest Hemingway's description of going bankrupt in “The Sun Also Rises,” it tends to happen in two ways: “Gradually. Then Suddenly.”

Let’s not let that happen.

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