With the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden in the United States this morning (NZ time), Americans living in Whanganui will have one eye on home.
Amanda Meltzer, a local psychiatrist originally from Dallas, Texas, said the events of recent times - the storming of the Capitol building on January 6 - and political division didn't reflect the America she knew.
Meltzer said she "sincerely" hoped there would be no further violence during Biden's inauguration today.
"For the average person (in New Zealand) this is sort of like unbelievable, 'made for TV' type stuff, but for us Americans, this is our homeland. It's very upsetting," Meltzer said.
"This whole thing is just insane.
"I'm unclear where the line between freedom of speech versus inciting violence lies, and we still haven't figured it out."
Whanganui pianist Rick Baum, originally from West Palm Beach, said some people felt entitled.
"And they feel like their country is being taken away from them somehow. They were fed a false narrative, and as far back as I can remember, all the way back to Nixon, there have been cries of this fraud and that fraud during every election."
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Party affiliations and division would be far less of an issue when "the average American in the middle of the country" saw their lives improving, through well paying jobs, health coverage, and a greater Covid-19 stimulus cheque, Baum believed.
Meltzer said she left America around seven years ago and at the time had thought the US was "crazy", a feeling that had been validated in light of both recent events and President Trump's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"I'm experiencing symptoms of survivor guilt because a lot of my friends and loved ones are in the States.
"You see these images of refrigerated trucks lined up outside of hospitals, and I've worked in some of those hospitals, and I know people that work in some of those hospitals.
"This is real stuff happening to real people, and it's devastating and horrifying that whoever was in position at the time of the election had so much disregard for human life.
"It's been a rough four years, and I have condolences for those Americans who are suffering right now."