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I’m glad to live in Canberra and not Anytown USA today

By Charlotte Harper 10 November 2016 61

Donald Trump. Photo: iStock

Consider this tale of two elections: the US has over the past 48 hours voted in a president who brags about committing sexual assault, while Canberrans last month elected a parliament consisting of a majority of women in which the deputy leaders of both major parties are thoughtful, compassionate women.

Everyone I’ve spoken to in person or online in the past 16 hours has been as stunned as me at Donald Trump’s victory in the US election, and my social media feeds are filled with comments about the impact his win will have on how America is viewed internationally and on our children’s futures.

What do you think of the US election result?

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This is one as a sample:

“So, if outright lies, misogyny, racism, violence, anger, hypocrisy and aggression can prevail above all basic commonsense and rational thinking, putting an unqualified moron into the highest office in the world, one has to question whether our great western democracy may have reached the end of the road?

When the US president wields so much power and influence over the world, never mind the USA, how democratic is it that a proportionate minority of white Americans can put into power such a destructive world leader against the will of the global community?

Have we really moved on from the 19th Century?

Certainly many democratic countries will no longer look to America the way we once did. It can’t go any lower, surely? Can the US system still be held up as the aspirational, gold standard for the free world? Anyone else not feeling the warm glow of the democratic libertarian ideal?

Tectonic shift? I’d say! I’m glad I’m learning to speak Chinese. Phew, what a day. Here’s a cliche I never thought I’d have to say. I’m shit scared for my kids’ future.”

Hear, hear.

Google was flooded with searches for “Move to Canada” last night. There has been a torrent of shares of posts about the Canadian immigration website crashing as the US election result became clear, parody posts about Canada building a wall to keep US asylum seekers out, the Mexican border being swamped by fleeing Americans and Queen Elizabeth II offering to restore British rule over the US.

Other shared articles include one about the 10 best places to emigrate after Donald Trump’s victory (Vienna, Zurich, Auckland, Munich, Vancouver, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Copenhagen and Sydney) and an SBS story about the 2016-17 Skilled Occupations List for would be migrants to Australia.

In fact, US citizens looking for a new life in a city with a progressive government could do a lot worse than Canberra. Join us! We are (for the most part) adequately housed, fed, watered, educated, employed, connected and entertained. Just don’t come to the country by boat, because our Federal government’s policies on boat arrivals are worse than anything Mr Trump has come up with so far.

Australia’s appalling offshore detention policies exist in my view for the same reason that Mr Trump was elected: because many, many citizens are not living the cushy life of the inner-city elite.

Americans looked beyond or even embraced the fact that this is man who mocks disabled reporters, calls global warming a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese and says women should be punished for having abortions for a reason.

What does their support for such an individual over a competent and experienced woman tell us about their outlook on life?

Among them are voters who are feeling disenfranchised and seeking alternatives who recognise their predicament and promise to act on it.

These are the voters who have embraced Pauline Hanson in Australia, Brexit and the UK and Mr Trump in the US. They say things like “don’t let refugees in because they’ll steal our jobs” because they’re living in fear. They fear for their families’ futures as they are unemployed or at risk of losing their jobs due to economic change driven by globalisation. They’re looking for someone to blame, and for champions who will stand up for their right to a better life.

Rather than vilifying these voters we should listen to them and think about what can be done to assist them in their predicament, because while they remain angry and scared about the state of the world, they will always choose a maverick like Mr Trump over the status quo.

Pauline Hanson knows it. She celebrated Mr Trump’s win last night with champagne in her office. You can belittle and demean her or you can try to understand her perspective. The same is true for the electors who put her there, and those who have entrusted their nation to Mr Trump.

Please don’t think for a moment that because I am encouraging attempts to understand where these politicians and their electors are coming from I support their racist or in Mr Trump’s case misogynistic views. The opposite is true. I am horrified by it, and find Mr Trump’s blatant dishonesty abhorrent.

I am as fearful about what this election result means for us all as the US President-elect’s supporters are of globalisation.

As I said at the start, I’m very pleased to be living in an open-minded, progressive city like Canberra today.

What do you think about the US election result?


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61 Responses to
I’m glad to live in Canberra and not Anytown USA today
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John Moulis 4:53 pm 15 Nov 16

HenryBG said :

Acton said :

Here’s another one to include in your survey:

‘I’m no Trump fan, but I think it’s hilarious to watch the so-called progressive left spit their collective dummies when the working class don’t vote the way they are supposed to’.

Within these lefties is an authoritarian personality yearning for the return of the dictatorship of the proletariat, where a pre-approved leader from a one party state could be bestowed upon the obedient masses.

Absolutely agreed. I don’t normally wallow in schadenfreude, but – and quite unexpectedly (I lost a $100 bet on the election result) – the more upset I see people about Trump’s election, the happier I am…

Maybe these Lefties will understand they need to re-learn how discourse works?

I took the bet on Sportsbet for Trump at $7.50 during all that confected outrage over Trump’s “p#@#y” comments when the media went ballistic over “sexism” and “misogyny” and dubious polls were released supposedly showing Clinton in front by double digits and female journalists saying Trump’s campaign was dead.

I knew that Americans wouldn’t swallow that and that Trump’s campaign benefitted greatly from it. I remembered how social media, the ABC and Fairfax cheered Julia Gillard’s “misogyny” speech and the formation of Women For Gillard and I remembered my own feelings of “hang on, I’m not cheering that. I’m alienated by it”. I figured that if I was feeling that in Australia, how would people in conservative, heartland USA be feeling over being told not to vote for Trump because he said the word p#@#y?

I cleaned up on Sportsbet when Trump won. I knew I would. If I was a US voter I would have voted for Bernie Sanders as the Democrat candidate but I wouldn’t have voted for Clinton. A lot of other men felt the same.

HenryBG 1:31 pm 15 Nov 16

Acton said :

Here’s another one to include in your survey:

‘I’m no Trump fan, but I think it’s hilarious to watch the so-called progressive left spit their collective dummies when the working class don’t vote the way they are supposed to’.

Within these lefties is an authoritarian personality yearning for the return of the dictatorship of the proletariat, where a pre-approved leader from a one party state could be bestowed upon the obedient masses.

Absolutely agreed. I don’t normally wallow in schadenfreude, but – and quite unexpectedly (I lost a $100 bet on the election result) – the more upset I see people about Trump’s election, the happier I am…

Maybe these Lefties will understand they need to re-learn how discourse works?

HenryBG 1:28 pm 15 Nov 16

Here’s a question for you:
If it’s OK for some to say “I really want Hilary Clinton to win because she’s a woman like I am”, is it OK for others to say, “I really want Trump to win because he’s a white man like I am”?
Because some introspection on this question would most definitely help people “to understand where these politicians and their electors are coming “.
People aren’t voting Trump/Hanson because they conform with some racist/misogynistic stereotype.
It’s a protest vote. And it’s a protest against a profoundly one-sided narrative whereby anybody who disagrees with immigration, multiculturalism, globalisation, keeping out illegal immigrants, etc… is shamelessly labelled as a xenophobic, islamophobic, etc…

Acton 8:25 am 15 Nov 16

Here’s another one to include in your survey:

‘I’m no Trump fan, but I think it’s hilarious to watch the so-called progressive left spit their collective dummies when the working class don’t vote the way they are supposed to’.

Within these lefties is an authoritarian personality yearning for the return of the dictatorship of the proletariat, where a pre-approved leader from a one party state could be bestowed upon the obedient masses.

justin heywood 11:00 pm 14 Nov 16

Blen_Carmichael said :

Could you please include this in the selection of responses to your survey:

‘I’m no Trump fan, but I think it’s hilarious to watch the teddies being thrown in the corner.’

Yep. Prior to the election there was plenty of concerned commentary from the left that Trump would not accept his inevitable defeat.

The current protestors don’t have anything to protest about. The election seemed fair. The people have voted, and for better or worse they must accept the decision.

I doubt the sky will fall, but it’s certainly going to be an interesting time.

dungfungus 7:53 pm 14 Nov 16

Blen_Carmichael said :

Could you please include this in the selection of responses to your survey:

‘I’m no Trump fan, but I think it’s hilarious to watch the teddies being thrown in the corner.’

Especially the left corner.

Blen_Carmichael 12:48 pm 14 Nov 16

Could you please include this in the selection of responses to your survey:

‘I’m no Trump fan, but I think it’s hilarious to watch the teddies being thrown in the corner.’

dungfungus 8:15 am 14 Nov 16

rommeldog56 said :

Media report this morning : 53% of women who voted, voted for Trump.

That’s perplexing.

Can anyone explain this ????????

Who was is that said “power is an aphrodisiac”?

rommeldog56 6:27 am 14 Nov 16

Media report this morning : 53% of women who voted, voted for Trump.

That’s perplexing.

Can anyone explain this ????????

sputnik 9:29 pm 12 Nov 16

JC said :

What do you think of the possibility that Trump has a connection to a supposed Russian bank. Now if this turns out to be true then will make inapropriate use of an email server rather insignificant wouldn’t it? Oh yeah thats right this has come from biased lefty media.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/31/trump-organization-server-russia-bank-slate-report

What’s your point? Your article came out a week before the election and is an allegation. (I can only assume that if the DNC had knowledge about proof they would have brought that up, just like the tapes.) And why did you feel it necessary to add that it comes from a “lefty” media? I don’t consider myself right or left.

Clinton was investigated by the FBI. There is no allegation from lefty or right-wing media. She had a private email server. There were at least some emails on it that fall under the category top classified. That is not the same as Malcom Turnbull using WhatsApp (well, to be honest I don’t know what he divulges on WhatsApp). Yet she was allowed to run for president until the very end.

So the answer is: Well, if anything comes of that Trump Russian bank allegation and it was something against the law then I hope it will have consequences for him.

TuggLife 12:45 pm 12 Nov 16

Citizen Phil said :

I wish people would stop righting off as insignificant Clinton’s use of a private email server. Imagine if Julie Bishop did this, set up her own email server and used it for Australian Government business? Wouldn’t we be outraged? Wouldn’t she be expected to stand down? Wouldn’t a regular public servant probably lose their job over something like that?

Well, no, we wouldn’t be, because our PM already does just that, as well as using WhatsApp and Wickr.

http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/questions-raised-over-malcolm-turnbulls-use-of-private-email-server-20151008-gk4vep.html

Citizen Phil 12:12 pm 12 Nov 16

I wish people would stop righting off as insignificant Clinton’s use of a private email server. Imagine if Julie Bishop did this, set up her own email server and used it for Australian Government business? Wouldn’t we be outraged? Wouldn’t she be expected to stand down? Wouldn’t a regular public servant probably lose their job over something like that? Shouldn’t we be outraged that official communications that OUR government has sent to our allies has gone through a communications device not vetted by ANY government?

I’m not a Trump fan but I couldn’t call Clinton competent with decision making like that, and why should regular Americans? There’s obviously a lot of reasons why Trump got elected but I’m sure the above is one of them.

dungfungus 9:38 am 12 Nov 16

justin heywood said :

gooterz said :

Less than 50 % of Americans eligable to vote actually voted. Trump got 20 something percent of the vote.

Russia is happy
China is happy
Most Americans are happy
Stock markets are up

I’m not sure there is actually an issue?

I think there is an issue.

Now the most powerful man in the world is an obvious narcissist with a limited understanding of international relations or even what powers he now has under the constitution.

With China increasingly assertive and Putin increasingly dangerous, now is not the time to experiment with an amateur in the White House.

The “professionals” have been in the White House for a long time and what have we got?

Trump is not beholden to any group and most of the Republicans in the system reject him because he is a threat to the establishment to which they are part of.

Being in politics in more about having a well paid job than having power. Look at Obama, a very popular guy and a seductive orator but totally useless as POTUS. No point in having a popular person in power unless that person knows how to use it and Trump is the man. You don’t last long in business if you can’t make a decision and know how to apply the powers you have.

Being a narcissist is optional but there have been plenty before him.

I predict he will get together with Putin and solve the current problems in the Middle East that Obama and all his advisers (who understand “international relations”) and the useless UN have failed to make any difference to.

I don’t believe an assetive China is a problem and if it is it is not of Trump’s making.

Putin seems strong only because Obama has been weak.

Give the man a chance.

justin heywood 8:47 am 12 Nov 16

gooterz said :

Less than 50 % of Americans eligable to vote actually voted. Trump got 20 something percent of the vote.

Russia is happy
China is happy
Most Americans are happy
Stock markets are up

I’m not sure there is actually an issue?

I think there is an issue.

Now the most powerful man in the world is an obvious narcissist with a limited understanding of international relations or even what powers he now has under the constitution.

With China increasingly assertive and Putin increasingly dangerous, now is not the time to experiment with an amateur in the White House.

dungfungus 8:25 am 12 Nov 16

TracyS said :

I’m thankful for compulsory voting here in Australia. When voting is voluntary, the people who have the least resources and are the most marginalised will face relatively greater barriers to voting and are least likely to actually do so. If you face difficulty with transport, cannot find someone to mind the kids, feel exhausted because you have worked long hours on voting day, or are fearful of violence or intimidation, then voting can easily end up in the too hard basket. This further disenfranchises the disadvantaged and marginalised. Compulsory voting produces a result that is more representative of the community.

If voting was compulsory in the USA the number of informal votes would be enormous.

TracyS 4:08 am 12 Nov 16

I’m thankful for compulsory voting here in Australia. When voting is voluntary, the people who have the least resources and are the most marginalised will face relatively greater barriers to voting and are least likely to actually do so. If you face difficulty with transport, cannot find someone to mind the kids, feel exhausted because you have worked long hours on voting day, or are fearful of violence or intimidation, then voting can easily end up in the too hard basket. This further disenfranchises the disadvantaged and marginalised. Compulsory voting produces a result that is more representative of the community.

gooterz 9:41 pm 11 Nov 16

Less than 50 % of Americans eligable to vote actually voted. Trump got 20 something percent of the vote.

Russia is happy
China is happy
Most Americans are happy
Stock markets are up

I’m not sure there is actually an issue?

JC 7:17 pm 11 Nov 16

sputnik said :

Garfield said :

I think the big question should be why didn’t enough people vote for Clinton? To any rational person, her use of the email server has to pale in comparison to Trump’s bile and past actions.

This came up before. Most rational persons will have trouble when they have to compare apples and oranges.
“use of the email server” sounds harmless but use of a private email server for top-level classified information will get any public servant fired maybe sent to prison.
Some persons will assume that no criminal intent was behind this, so the talk about prison maybe exaggerated. But this has nothing to do with rational, because nobody knows. I’d like to see what would happen to the head of ASIO if he did that. Overall it makes very rational grounds not to vote for Clinton.

bile and (alleged) past actions and (real) past offensive comments also make for rational grounds not to vote for Trump.

Going to the street and protesting after a democratic election has nothing rational to it. Nor does looking to emigrate after this election. Just because media say he is a “destructive world leader”. Is that the same media that had dropped any pretence of non-bias over this election?

What should I vote in this poll?
I’m neither disappointed nor scared. I’m not a Trump fan, but I was afraid a war-hungry Clinton would win and what that would have meant for the future of the world much more than I am afraid of a Trump win.

What do you think of the possibility that Trump has a connection to a supposed Russian bank. Now if this turns out to be true then will make inapropriate use of an email server rather insignificant wouldn’t it? Oh yeah thats right this has come from biased lefty media.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/31/trump-organization-server-russia-bank-slate-report

jim7777 6:15 pm 11 Nov 16

Charlotte Harper said :

jim7777 said :

Charlotte …. have you ever been to the U.S.A i doubt it .. what you have written here is absolutley the reason Donald Trump is president … the MAJORITY of U.S and AUS voters both rich and poor are sick and tired of the left wing elitists dumping there politically correct mantra and trotski political adgenda on them …. i said trump would win in May ..i was right .. i was in the U.S in August .. i came back and new we would be President .. And i say this now that within ten years Pauline Hanson will probably be the PM of Aus.

I have been to the US a few times for work, to Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. I have family, friends and former work colleagues who live there, too. Most of them live in those same big cities or Washington, with a couple in Dallas and a few in Atlanta. In any case, I think in fact we are in agreement here with the exception of the “trotski” reference.

What i see in the US and AUS is that the left is isolating itself with moderate and right leaning voters people are sick of it .. the more the ABC and co preach there one sided agenda the more livid the voters get … i cant even watch tony jones anymore he lost all credibility and i have never been right wing i would consider myself a moderate …

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