Across my facebook feed in the past week, friends and relations have been identifying their partisan colours. I am all at once, surprised and dismayed, buoyed and comforted. It’s confusing. I love all of these people, how can it be that all of my friends see politics so differently? American politics, like American television, has seeped into our culture, even all the way down here at the bottom of the world.
The rains have come today, if only it would wash all the acrimony away.
We are an unassuming little country, our population is small but we box above our weight in some things. Our home is peaceful …when we’re not being shaken to the core by tectonic trouble; there is a lot we take for granted here. Last night, watching the footage of helicopter evacuations from the earthquake zone, I saw a bloke who’d been helping the people of Kaikoura. He was exhausted. Understating things in true kiwi style, he just wiped his arm across his forehead and said “might be time for a beer”. Even in the wake of seismic shifts, we take for granted the basic benefits of our life here. It goes on. We get up. Roads and buildings are repaired. Bad things happen.
I think we are lucky. It’s easier to stomach disasters when they are visited on us by mother nature than by human, political choices.
Self harm is so much more destructive to the soul. It affects everyone close to you. America got the razor out. Our hearts are in our mouths as we listen at the door, fearful of what may come. We couldn’t stop you, but we wished so often we could. Like a sibling standing outside, listening to the tears and the cutting and the distress, we rattle the doorknob but your mindset is fixed. You won’t let us in.
Donald Trump was elected president, and our world shifted. Literally.
“If you are not American, stay out of our politics” said one internet apologist.
“You don’t understand why we vote like we do”. And it is true, we don’t. We are not there. We have only the American media to show us what went on. But ohhhhh… the view from over here is not pretty. I’m not the only one who is shocked by the narcissistic buffoon that has been voted in. It’s like a bad reality TV show. Like all of the shallow, hideous aspects of American culture have finally overtaken all the loveliness. It makes me sad for my American friends, and sad for our world.
I think of all the American Aid in Africa that man intends to de-fund. Of all the environmental protections he intends to cease. Of my friends in the LGBTQI communities, of the people marginalised by his policies. He didn’t even pretend to care about any of those things on the campaign trail. He was clear about it. So how he intends to be a good president for all Americans now, bemuses me. I was talking to a guy recently about the challenges of growing up a woman in the church culture. He looked at me curiously, like I was speaking a foreign language. Shrugged, and dismissed what I said. And it occurred to me, very few men can see beyond their experience of being a male; for the majority of men, their perspective on life is limited to the lens of their privilege.
I can see how Donald Trump doesn’t offend them, his words to them have not been red flags, his behaviour, to them, does not seem appalling, but to many, it is horrifying. We are not horrified by the ‘image’ of the man, but by his own words. Very public, documented, words.
Dear friends across the world who think Trump in power is a good thing, can you please explain it to me? If you are a caring human being, how can you expect Donald Trump to represent you? If you are a professing Christian, what part of your values finds a home with his rhetoric? I honestly want to understand. Down here, the earth still shakes today. And so does my head. I just don’t get it.