Rachel Stewart: The earthquake makes more sense than Trump's election

Like the NZ earthquakes, Trump’s election is shaking the United States to the core.
Upset supporters watch the election results during Hillary Clinton's election night rally. Photo / AP
Upset supporters watch the election results during Hillary Clinton's election night rally. Photo / AP

The earthquake hits, and a US friend on Facebook says, "I'll take the earthquake over Trump any day."

My first thought was that it was a tad insensitive of her but, upon reflection, she makes a solid point. It's true. America will be stuck with an earth-shattering, cataclysmic, seismic event for four years, and way beyond. Ours will eventually pass.

The thing is, earthquakes are a natural event. Trump is about as far away from anything resembling organic as it's possible to get.

Of course, in the immediate aftermath of both events, the human response is to try to make sense of it all. Where Trump is concerned, that's going to take some time.

I spent the day after the US election comforting and cajoling my Seattle-based family. I'd Skyped in the night before, and at the precise moment that they realised Florida had gone Trump's way.

Three of them were lined up on the couch talking to me, while glancing furtively at the telly. One doesn't drink. She was drinking. To say that they looked like their dog, parrot, turtle and goldfish had all just simultaneously died would be something of an understatement. They were gutted.

The next day was when the shock set in. The non-drinker said she felt like aimlessly wandering into traffic. That could have been the hangover talking, but her mood was as low as Trump's ethics. If he had any.

Theirs is a classic tale of two Americas. Seattle ain't Wichita, and never the twain shall meet.

How to even attempt to unite the two? I know. Let's shape the American media narrative - and, by extension, the world's - by acting as though Trump is in possession of a stable mind.

So now we have an earnest, po-faced Fourth Estate, endlessly discussing Trump's unpredicted rise to the top job - by them, at least - as if he's a legitimate leader. Democracy, you say? Yes, you're right. Still doesn't make him legitimate.

Frankly, you can't stomp on the head of every women and person of colour within cooee and expect to be taken seriously. Can you?

On the weekend, a male friend of mine approached me in a cafe to say hi. He clacked his way towards me, all sweat and yellow Lycra after cycling.

I was sitting with three female friends and, after the introductions, he felt the need to do some serious mansplaining about the Trump result. All I'd said was, "how about that Trump, aye?"

Frankly, you can't stomp on the head of every women and person of colour within cooee and expect to be taken seriously. Can you?

He launched straight into his reckons about Trump being impeached early, and how much better it would be if Pence who "was far more conservative and steady" was at the helm.

I said, "do you know his views on women and . . . " before he cut me off with "oh, sure, putting all that women's stuff aside."

Yes, indeed, except "putting all that women's stuff aside" is quite hard when you're a woman. But, hey, what do I know? I'm just a woman.

It was also the moment I realised that my friend doesn't know who I am. At all.

So, these are my vignettes from the last week. I feel the need to share those over and above trying to make sense of what's occurred. I could be clever and witty and smart about Trump, and jump on the endless treadmill of trying to make some sense of it all. It's too soon.

I will say two things. First, Hillary would have been a band-aid - a temporary and, likely, one-term solution to the massive problems the US, and the planet, is facing.

Trump's victory needs to be re-framed within the context of facing facts. He will crash and burn, as Hillary likely would have too, and he will wake up a country that has been asleep for an extended period. Like coming out of a decades-long coma, America is in for lots of blinking, as it adjusts to the intense bright light.

As for the earthquake, the conveyor belt of news means we must respect the silence more. It will quickly turn into a reality TV format, with closed questions and blatant voyeurism. We've all been here before. Opt for calm and contemplation every chance you can get.

Truth is, earthquakes squarely remind us of our impotence, impermanence and lack of control. Humans don't like that. No matter how we dress them up, they are borne of nature. Not cruel, evil or vindictive. They don't scheme or plot their arrival.

Above all else, nature is not somehow "other". Trump is though.

- NZ Herald

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