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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?

What’s Your opinion?


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61 Responses to
I’m glad to live in Canberra and not Anytown USA today
1
chewy14 9:52 am
10 Nov 16
#

It’s media articles and attitudes like this that have won Trump the US election.

You say “we” should engage people who are feeling disenfranchised but then go on to label their views with insults and ad hominem attacks.

The reason that Trump won is the moral posturing of left wing supporters and media. I fully agree that Trump is not fit to be the president of the USA because of his policies and positions but the media have actively driven his supporters and victory with their vitriol.

2
rommeldog56 10:52 am
10 Nov 16
#

Yes – more noise/scare from the bastion of leftism, Canberra. Whilst I’m certainly no Trump fan, fact is that Clinton represented the same old, same old to US voters. Heard a report last night that claimed a world wide trend as Governments viewed as being left leaning, are being replaced – including because of border protection/migration.

So, the left have adopted the mantra of Canberra being “progressive” and voted back ACt Labor/Greens. So be it.

Is it being “progressive” and “open minded” to make housing unaffordable by drip feeding land releases? Is it “progressive” to make housing unaffordable by increasing Annual Rates by avg. 10% pa (units 20% increase this year + 15% next year) so that even if unit/homeowners can afford to buy into the market, they risk losing it later due to artificially high Annual Rates ? Where does that “progressiveness” leave average wage earners, the aged, the retired, the disabled, etc, who have a house/unit or aspire to ownership !

The ACT already has the 2nd highest rate of homelessness in the country (2nd only to the NT with its much higher indigenous population !) and this morning, a report that performance of the Canberra Hospital has again worsened (shame that report didn’t come out a few weeks back !), ACT Labor/Greens poor fiscal priority setting and too much wasted Ratepayers $, the Territory deficit, issues redevelopment/infill, the war against cars, trams, degradation of municipal services, impact of Unions via the MOU etc, etc…….

Too many in Canberra are being left behind, as in the USA. So much for a “progressive” and “open minded” Canberra.

It remains to be seen what Trump will actually do/can do now in power. Best to judge that by what happens in the next 12 months, rather than run scared now.

3
justin heywood 11:02 am
10 Nov 16
#

Charlotte Harper said

“….because many, many citizens are not living the cushy life of the inner-city elite…..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.”

There’s the problem. Right there. The ‘inner city elite’ dominate the public agenda. Look at our public broadcaster, look at our ‘quality’ papers, the SMH, The Age, our public intellectuals. And Waleed Aly.
Green Left groupthink dominates the thinking, and rarely will any public figure risk the wrath of the twitter-sphere by straying outside ‘correct’ thinking. People from the suburbs, people outside the political or media class are not even listened to, let alone understood, and therefore ‘they’ must ‘live in fear’ or be stupid, usually both.

In my experience, people living outside the city centres, who live normal lives with normal concerns, are not generally fearful or stupid. In fact, they are often intelligent, hardworking people who resent being told what they should think or be concerned about. They reject the idea that an Arts degree and a suit automatically confers authority.

Trump is undoubtedly a buffoon, but his election demonstrates how sharp the disconnect between The Establishment and the people has become.

4
bronal 11:08 am
10 Nov 16
#

I think the best thing is to take a ‘wait and see’ approach. All of Trump’s statements have been made from a position in which he has had no authority or responsibility. Up to now he has merely been a candidate. All that will change when he assumes office and is briefed on the implications and repercussions of his proposals.

5
dungfungus 11:31 am
10 Nov 16
#

You forget to mention that he eats babies too.

6
dungfungus 11:46 am
10 Nov 16
#

“Mr Trump’s blatant dishonesty……”

I missed that. Can you give some details, please?

7
Charlotte Harper 11:49 am
10 Nov 16
#

chewy14 said :

It’s media articles and attitudes like this that have won Trump the US election.

You say “we” should engage people who are feeling disenfranchised but then go on to label their views with insults and ad hominem attacks.

The reason that Trump won is the moral posturing of left wing supporters and media. I fully agree that Trump is not fit to be the president of the USA because of his policies and positions but the media have actively driven his supporters and victory with their vitriol.

I did not set out to insult or attack anyone. In general I try to avoid doing so at all times.
You’re right about the media. Most of the high profile newspapers in the US are based in big cities on the east and west coast: Washington Post, New York Times, LA Times etc, which makes it difficult for their journalists to connect with citizens in other states.
Social media is a huge issue, too. We tend to follow influencers/ media companies who are of like mind/reflect our views, which as we increasingly get all of our news from social media, creates a huge divide. I have Facebook friends from all over the place, including a couple of dozen in the US, but only one even hinted that they weren’t pro-Clinton. It was an echo chamber of anti-Trump sentiment. Clearly the social media spheres of those in the pro-Trump camp were the opposite. Facebook creates a digital wall between those who hold contrasting views, which is very dangerous, I think.

8
bd84 11:55 am
10 Nov 16
#

There’s similarities between the US and ACT election too.

A poorly performing ACT government treating it’s people badly with poor decisions and running a policy that was widely criticised publicly by experts and most in the community. Most people were expecting them to be kicked out because they didn’t deserve another term.

A US candidate treating most people badly, running policies being criticised and ridiculed widely. Most people expecting him not to be elected as he didn’t deserve to be there.

The next 4 years everyone is at their peril.

9
Charlotte Harper 11:58 am
10 Nov 16
#

dungfungus said :

“Mr Trump’s blatant dishonesty……”

I missed that. Can you give some details, please?

Sure thing, dungfungus:
‘When Politico attempted to measure how many lies Trump told over the course of 4.6 hours of speeches, they found that he lied, on average, once every five minutes. When Huffington Post catalogued his lies over the course of just one town hall event, they came up with 71 lies. ‘
Here’s a list of 101 Trump lies:
http://www.dailywire.com/news/4834/trumps-101-lies-hank-berrien#

10
dungfungus 12:07 pm
10 Nov 16
#

Charlotte Harper said :

dungfungus said :

“Mr Trump’s blatant dishonesty……”

I missed that. Can you give some details, please?

Sure thing, dungfungus:
‘When Politico attempted to measure how many lies Trump told over the course of 4.6 hours of speeches, they found that he lied, on average, once every five minutes. When Huffington Post catalogued his lies over the course of just one town hall event, they came up with 71 lies. ‘
Here’s a list of 101 Trump lies:
http://www.dailywire.com/news/4834/trumps-101-lies-hank-berrien#

I wasn’t aware that “fact checking” was such a big industry. It appears that Trump is indeed a terrible liar.
Can’t understand why the American voters chose him over the pristine Hilary Clinton.

11
Rollersk8r 12:14 pm
10 Nov 16
#

I know Americans here in Canberra who voted for Trump – which was far more a vote against Hillary than it was a vote for Donald. This is something we really don’t understand here. People in the USA really, really hate the Clintons, despite all their celebrity endorsements and the fact they apparently had the votes of many minority groups.

12
JC 1:17 pm
10 Nov 16
#

bronal said :

I think the best thing is to take a ‘wait and see’ approach. All of Trump’s statements have been made from a position in which he has had no authority or responsibility. Up to now he has merely been a candidate. All that will change when he assumes office and is briefed on the implications and repercussions of his proposals.

So you are saying he has done an Abbott? Say what the public wants to hear rom a position in which he has had no authority or responsibility. Get the votes, but when he gets in power will carry on and do as he likes because he now has the authority to do so. Hmmm

13
dungfungus 1:21 pm
10 Nov 16
#

Tony Abbott is getting some respite at last.

He has relinquished his title-hold over sexism and misogyny to another world leader who is also being blamed for everything that will go wrong in the next four years.

Just like Obama getting the $1 million dollar Nobel Peace Prize in 2008 on speculation that he was going to good and great things during his first four years.

At least he got to keep the money.

14
JC 1:35 pm
10 Nov 16
#

I can understand to an the underlying voter sentiment, same with Brexit and the resurgence of One Nation here. But what I don’t understand is why they think Trump can and will make any changes to suit them. The only thing that makes him different is he doesn’t have a political or government back ground.

But he is still a republican and represents the views of that party. He, more than anyone has benefited personally from everything that the country bumkins despise. He has made money off Wall Street. He owns dozens of hotels, who if going by my US hotel experiences will have employeed latina house maids and other minority groups as cheap labour, and his official hats, made in China. Indeed reported in the paper today, yeah I know those lefty liars that he is proposing to put in place Steve Mnuchin, who worked at Goldman Sachs, you know one of those Wall Street bastards the public want to bring down as Treasury Secretary.

I’ve always though Trump was a clown and it looks like the joke is really on the American people.

15
bronal 2:09 pm
10 Nov 16
#

JC said :

bronal said :

I think the best thing is to take a ‘wait and see’ approach. All of Trump’s statements have been made from a position in which he has had no authority or responsibility. Up to now he has merely been a candidate. All that will change when he assumes office and is briefed on the implications and repercussions of his proposals.

So you are saying he has done an Abbott? Say what the public wants to hear rom a position in which he has had no authority or responsibility. Get the votes, but when he gets in power will carry on and do as he likes because he now has the authority to do so. Hmmm

I’m saying that it’s very easy to spout off during an election campaign and it will be much harder for him to live to live up those promises when he takes office. Remember Obama ‘yes we can’. Can what? Of course Trump will come up with some policies that will cause some people to choke on their Chardonnays but expect others to be toned down.

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