There is only one topic tonight – the election of Donald Trump as 45th president of the United States. Like many others, I am draped in a cloak of disbelief. How could this happen?
I am not a great fan of Hilary Clinton but even a shred of decency should have been enough to drive people away from Trump in droves.
However, the decision has been made and unfortunately we are all going to have to live with it. The ramifications of a Trump presidency have the potential to be far-reaching and affect people far beyond the boundaries of the United States.
So, what does this mean for Australia? According to early media speculation, an increasingly isolationist America would almost certainly impact on trade, defence and foreign policy. Strategic alliances with Indonesia, our populous Muslim neighbour, relations with China and the problems in the South China Sea and of course trade agreements are all at risk.
Closer to home, this election victory has given Mr Trump’s Australian surrogates such as Liberal senator Cory Bernardi, One Nation senator Pauline Hanson and the LNP’s George Christensen, the opportunity to claim an endorsement of their own views on topics as diverse as immigration, refugees and climate change.
I am fearful of what this means for our future but I am also hopeful that commonsense and decency will prevail.
I have to admit I’ve never seen a reaction here at home to an election like this, and I used to be heavily involved in politics. People are crying, hugging. I walk around and people ask each other “how are you?” and the responses are no longer “I’m good.” My friends are honestly afraid. Their children are worried about their safety at school. Some people say they haven’t felt this horrible since a family member died. Some say it feels like another 9/11. Some people I knew left work early on Wednesday because it was just too much to cope with. No one I know is taking this well.
Thanks for the local insight, Joanna. I feel for your and your friends who are taking it badly. I truly hope that some sanity will prevail.