Whanganui Americans reeling post-election

By Laurel Stowell

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The idea of Donald Trump as United States president makes Dani Lebo feel sick. PHOTO/ FILE
The idea of Donald Trump as United States president makes Dani Lebo feel sick. PHOTO/ FILE

Shock was the most common reaction to the United States election result by Whanganui people with ties to that country.

Everyone except Britt Bunkley used the "s" word. He was not so surprised because he's been looking at right wing websites and reading newspapers from Republican-leaning states.

Hillary Clinton wasn't the right person to put up against Donald Trump, he said. Bernie Sanders would have had more appeal to US people who feel poor and neglected.

Dani Lebo comes from a family of strong professional women. She was more than shocked, she was feeling sick to her stomach. She's talked to her mother and sisters in the US, one of whom has been in tears.

She fears for friends in same-sex marriages, who may face custody battles, and for women who want abortions because the Christian far-right wants to ban them.

The only positive thing she could say was say only about one sixth of Americans had voted for Mr Trump - at last count on the Politico website that was 59,611,678 people.

"I think we have been pretty disillusioned with the US dream for a while. It's the reason why we're not living there," she said.

Dee Nolan has lived in New Zealand for 60 years. She said Donald Trump appealed to people who felt they had been neglected. She comes from rural Iowa, where lots of people voted for him.

She's embarrassed by the rhetoric of the US election, and said Mr Trump may be able to do whatever he wants, because Republicans have won so many seats.

He's inexperienced, so she's hoping he will take advice.

"It's going to be interesting to watch," she said.

Linda Speck is also wonderng what Mr Trump will do. She was in the US in September, and didn't like him. And she has trouble imagining his wife as First Lady.

The US has been going downhill for a while, and she wonders how people overseas will view the country.

"I'm pretty bewildered by the whole thing," she said.

Mr Bunkley said Donald Trump's win was emboldening the far right worldwide, and bringing out the worst in people.

This is a good time to reform the US democratic system, he said. He's personally depressed, but not prostrated.

"It's time to fight the fight. It's invigorated me."

- Wanganui Chronicle

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