“Here in Kosovo, we love Americans. We love America. Without America, there is no Kosovo.” This is what my taxi driver in Pristina, Kosovo told me the moment I revealed I was American.

He went on to explain how grateful all Kosovars are for the support Kosovo received during the 1998-1999 conflict with Serbia, when ethnic Albanians were massacred under Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic’s direction, their homes looted and burned, and their women raped.

This genocide ended only when the United States, under then President Bill Clinton’s leadership, intervened with military force grounded in strong moral conviction for the preservation of Kosovo and its people. In a display of gratitude, Kosovo erected a statue in Clinton’s honor in Pristina, Kosovo’s capital, on November 1, 2009. Comically, a clothing store called “Hillary” later popped up a block away. There is, unfortunately, no Monica.

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Given Kosovars’ passion for America and its values, I shouldn’t have been surprised to see a conference booked at the hotel for the International Republican Institute (IRI). I was unfamiliar with the IRI, so I visited its website. On the Welcome page are three large words in bright white, bold lettering: Advancing Democracy Worldwide. Would we ever see anything like this today in the United States, with the rise of F--- The Fourth rallies on Independence Day?

The economic climate in Kosovo is far from rosy. Government corruption limits business growth and opportunity. Many young people would rather leave for neighboring states like Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Germany, and Turkey for higher-paying jobs. Kosovar youth generally speak English at least moderately well, if not nearly fluently. Yet most wait for years for work visas to the US. These Kosovars still see the US as the emblem of freedom and opportunity for the world. They are largely unaware of the recent domestic decline in freedom, the attacks on democracy, and the rise of domestic fascism, as our corrupt government aligns itself with powerful corporations to crush small businesses and corral all Americans into a monopolistic anti-capitalist economy that rewards relationships rather than ingenuity, hard work, and productivity.

Perhaps we should start thinking about walling off our southern border from criminals, parasites, and others who don’t share American values. Instead, we should be welcoming those who embrace democracy, freedom, and entrepreneurship; those who display their commitment to American values by learning the English language, obeying local laws, and respecting our nation’s borders.

For that, though, we’ll need a new administration. And we’ll need a renewed commitment by Americans themselves to the values America represents, rather than the nihilistic dead-end that is ascendant today.

Mark McDonald, M.D.

Psychiatrist and author of United States of Fear: How America Fell Victim to a Mass Delusional Psychosis