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US ELECTION FALLOUT
Support for Trump has left our family divided
My husband is American, and our two children are dual US-Australian citizens. We have lived here for 34 years and all three voted in the US election. What is inexplicable to us are the overwhelming millions, the diehard Trump supporters who cannot see the truth of his lies and who support his policies. Who voted for him.
All of our family in the US voted for him. They are university educated, and we just don’t understand it. They say that he was better than the alternative. To quote one brother, ‘‘I know you all hate him but I believe that he is the best one running, he isn’t bought off, or a lifer in politics and is trying to do things but politicians hate him and go against all he does, even if good. The media is against him and always spreads bad things about him.’’
To prevent major family rifts, which is what would happen given the way our daughter was treated on a recent visit, we have not tried to reason with them, or to simply lay out the facts.
How do you reason with pig-headed, racist ignorance?
Name withheld, Menzies Creek
Divisiveness recalls DLP split
An old school friend and her Texan husband live in Texas and are both Democrats. Two of their daughters support Donald Trump and there has been a family split.
It reminds me of the Labor/DLP era in Australia, when many of our relations turned to the DLP, much to my father’s disgust.
Susan Munday, Bentleigh East
Australia could be in for a shock
With Donald Trump stumped, the world looks up with hope as Joe Biden prepares to take control in America. Already experienced in presidential politics, and aware he is the oldest person elected president of the US, Biden could hit the ground running at home and on the world stage. He must urgently implement his key promises to deal with rampant COVID-19 and act effectively on climate change.
Australia, a long-term ally of America, may get a shock when this friendly president also has some stern words for climate-change laggards like Australia, who reject climate science warnings and don’t pull their weight on this pressing global issue.
To date our Prime Minister and Energy Minister have backed the ‘‘Carbon Club’’ and willingly accepted their donations. Yet is it impossible that our PM may reverse direction, under pressure from Europe and North America plus countries in our region like Japan, South Korea, India, and the submerging Pacific Islands? Our state governments and private investors are already backing renewables.
Neil Wilkinson, Mont Albert
At last, some hope for sanity and civility
What a relief, after four Trumpian years of division, lies, misinformation, turmoil and manipulation, hopefully sanity and civility will return to political discourse in America. President-elect Joe Biden has had a 48-year proven record of reaching out across the political aisle to get things done, despite the toxic partisanship of American political life.
Donald Trump never had the temperament to be an effective president. Throughout his life he has always been a sore loser and true to form he has indicated that he will be instructing his legion of lawyers to file lawsuits to allege massive “voter fraud” without an iota of evidence.
Most Americans have had enough of Trumpism. They want normalcy and decency back.
James Tan, Vermont South
Be thankful for compulsory voting
Let’s be clear, only 22 per cent of the US population voted for Donald Trump – about 34 per cent of those registered to vote. Joe Biden’s numbers were 24 per cent of the population and about 36 per cent of those registered to vote. Sadly 30 per cent of those eligible to vote did not register, so their opinion was not heard.
We should be thankful for our system of compulsory voting, where everyone’s voice is heard.
Chris Appleby, Fairfield
Reject home quarantine
Judy Michelangeli (Letters, 8/11) is spot on. The suggested home-quarantine for ‘‘low-risk’’ returning travellers has more holes than in Swiss cheese. Even if the travellers can be monitored at home, their inevitable and well-meaning visitors can’t.
Many countries are exploding with COVID-19 during the northern winter, and returnees are highly likely to bring it with them. The Premier rightly tells us that our precious ‘‘doughnut days’’ have been hard-won but they are not a vaccine. The community will have zero tolerance for a third wave caused by quarantine failures.
Joan Reilly, Surrey Hills
Backing the wrong horse
Scott Morrison will be busy doing some strategic back-pedalling to wipe the vivid image of the Australian Prime Minister and leading business figures and Coalition supporters shaking the oat bucket in front of the wrong horse in the race for the White House .
Scott Morrison’s recent talk of our nations’ shared values ignores the reality of the US under Donald Trump, who aligned himself more closely with autocrats than democratic leaders, and will be a burr under the saddle of his credibility as he now claims equal support for Joe Biden’s America.
The outstanding speeches of the President-elect and Vice-President-elect referencing respect for science, justice, compassion and truth stand in contrast to the triumphalism of the Trump regime and its appeal to the politics of power and division .
Perhaps the values of the new America are best described by Joe Biden’s phrase ringing like the Liberty Bell even over the clangers of the compromised Australian political landscape: ‘‘Not the example of our power but the power of our example.’’
Peter Macleod-Miller, Albury
Time to take charge?
Josh Frydenberg and Greg Hunt have been very quick to tell Victorians what they could do in relation to opening up.
Now that we have nine days of zero cases, which many people, including the opposition, told us was impossible, perhaps ministers Frydenberg and Hunt would like to reintroduce hotel quarantine but arrange for the Commonwealth to control it with them in charge, perhaps with support from Alan Tudge. That way they could demonstrate their competence in managing the virus.
The only problem is it would mean Scott Morrison and his team would be held accountable, something they appear not to like.
Marg D’Arcy, Rye
A product of provocation
The conventional view of the United States election is the country is bitterly divided. Yet surely its people have been bitterly provoked for decades, but especially over the past four years?
First, by neoliberal vandalising of the American economy, throwing rust-belt workers into unemployment, sending manufacturing offshore, conjuring the GFC of 2007-08. The consequences for many middle and working class Americans have been horrific.
Second, by Donald Trump, the fake president, who in ‘‘draining the swamp’’ has made it a cesspool. His lies, his policies, and his lewd behaviour have mobilised angry white men in the rust-belt, but have done nothing but rile their anger while failing to address the grievances.
Third, by the alt-right media in the USA, which has backed Trump’s agenda, amplifying the lies, condoning the corruption, urging Trump on.
America’s divisions can be healed, but will require statesmanship, transparent governance and policies serving the whole country, not just self-serving elites.
Let’s hope the next president can achieve all this, for America’s sake and for the world’s.
Allan Patience, Newport
Thank you, Waleed
I’m writing to express my gratitude and respect to Waleed Aly for his work. Time and again he manages to provide clarity and insight into the great matters of the day.
His latest article (‘‘Democracy in a post-truth world’’, Comment, 6/11) is balm in a troubled time. He doesn’t comfort and many of his conclusions are terrifying, but having a sane mind shine light on such important truths helps.
I have a far clearer picture not only of how the tribes are formed, but of how I too have stumbled into the pit.
John Bolton, Point Lonsdale
A powerful reminder
The obituary of Noreen Lehmann (‘‘A leader in tackling viruses’’, 6/11) was a powerful reminder of the now extinct Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital, which was so tragically dismantled in 1996 by Jeffrey Kennett during his reign of destruction in Victoria.
Fairfield and its specialist staff had vast experience and expertise in the recognition, diagnosis, control and treatment of infectious disease … skills so lacking and so desperately needed during these past months of pandemic.
Victoria must act now to establish a knowledge bank, in a dedicated space, that can be used for diagnosis, immediate isolation, treatment and control of infection, and for directing proven appropriate quarantine systems when required.
Daniel Andrews has done his very best, and most wisely has learnt by trial and error, but this is a job for experienced medical specialists.
Prue Grieve, East St. Kilda
He’s earned our support
The reason Victorians are still backing Andrews is not hard to understand. He has been steadfast and uncompromising in his leadership. We understand that serious stuff-ups can happen, but as long as we can see that lessons are learnt and a repetition is unlikely we stick with strong leadership.
The Victorian stuff-up, coupled with poor rules in aged care, was very costly but clearly not malicious. NSW by contrast was very lucky that the Ruby Princess debacle did not lead to major catastrophe nationwide.
Australians, I think, accept that perfection is not possible, only aspirational, and as long as any errors are not repeated we accept non-perfection. What we can’t abide is a constant carping negativity with nothing sensible to offer.
If the Coalition had been constructive in their opposition, their standing would be much higher but sadly they appear unable to learn this lesson. It is time all oppositions came up with a new way to gain public approval outside of carping negativity.
Michael Wahren, Merrijig
Listen to the message
Some 74 million Americans shouted ‘‘you’re fired’’ last week. The failures of the Trump presidency have been obvious since COVID-19 occurred and the merits of his achievements are overshadowed by a personal style not based upon truth or facts.
I believe the world is pleased to see a new president. Australia needs to learn that voters expect better behaviour: truth, upheld promises, less corruption, and transparency from all politicians and public servants in charge.
For Geelong and the rest of Victoria, that includes our councils.
Ross Kroger, Barwon Heads
While most of us are celebrating the demise of Donald Trump, it’s pertinent to point out that his intransigence on climate change action, his pro-fossil-fuel stance, his indifference to renewable energy sources and his anti-China rhetoric are eerily similar to Australia’s current federal government.
Phil Alexander, Eltham
A breath of fresh air
Joseph Biden’s demeanour and manner of speaking (halting though it is) is in itself a breath of fresh air.
Here’s hoping he can restore a sense of decency, morality and stability to the USA after Trump’s terrible performance.
Helen Kamil, Caulfield South
Grant gives me hope
The thoughtful, insightful comments of Stan Grant during and after the US election give me hope for the future of an unbiased and even-handed journalistic approach to so many issues.
Comments should be based on facts and science, not rumour, innuendo and the usual firestorm on social media.
It’s a pity that he has shown scant interest in a political career at this stage of his life.
A wise choice, perhaps?
John Paine, Kew East
Hope for a new America
It was a breath of fresh air to listen to President-elect Joe Biden’s victory speech. There were no bitter words, no recriminations or snide references, but only a call for unity and peace between opposing political factions.
Let us hope that Biden and Kamala Harris are able to build a new America and a new world from the ashes of American greatness left behind by Donald Trump. Future historians may well brand Trump as the worst president ever to occupy the White House, and no more than a strange blip in American history.
Let us hope Trump wreaks no more damage to America and the world in the time before January 20 next year.
Bill Mathew, Parkville
A mask’s many uses
Thanks for keeping the masks rule, Daniel Andrews.
My mask hides my schnozz and stops it getting burnt, it hides my nostril hairs and my goatee and it hides the food stuck in my teeth. I don’t have to smile at people and it reduces my hay fever.
I wear it with pride and as a badge of honour.
Well done, everyone.
Ian Baker, Castlemaine
A cautionary tale
Elements of the media seem to view military involvement in hotel quarantine as a foolproof solution.
I was en route to the Northern Territory after it opened its borders to regional Victorians. Having been marched through the Brisbane Airport terminal by a squad of soldiers to my quarantine hotel on Saturday, I was ‘‘discharged’’ after only one night to find my own way back to the airport for my onwards flight to Alice Springs.
There was nothing to stop me jumping on the train to the city, or whizzing up to Noosa to gawk at all the Portsea refugees. Instead, I was the only one sitting in the departure lounge dutifully wearing a mask.
Those who think that military uniforms and basic training would have made Victoria’s hotel quarantine secure have no idea of the logistical complexity involved, and the multiple opportunities for errors.
Queensland is still closed to the whole of Victoria. It takes only one breach to launch a further wave.
Steve Trumble, Aireys Inlet
AND ANOTHER THING
In light of Donald Trump’s appalling conduct, John Howard’s concession speech when he lost the prime ministership reminds us of how lucky we are once again.
John Rawson, Mernda
Mike Pence, where are you? Hello? Mike? Looks like he’s gone.
James Ogilvie, Kew
After watching Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ victory speeches, I realised that I’d been holding my breath for four years.
Jenny Bone, Surrey Hills
One’s character is measured not by what happens to you, but by how one handles it: Donald Trump, please note.
John Groom, Bentleigh
America will now be on board with most of the rest of the world on climate change. Scott Morrison, it’s time to show some guts and come out from under the doona.
John Johnson, Richmond
Now that Joe Biden has won the United States election, it may pay the Australian government to start looking at a proper environment policy.
Louis Roller, Fitzroy North
Scott Morrison invokes the welfare of his daughters when particular issues arise but curiously never mentions their safety and prospects in the face of the escalating dangers of climate change.
Elizabeth Douglas, Melbourne
For safety’s sake with COVID-19 please continue to keep low-cost and effective mask requirements in place.
Damian Meade, Leopold
Thank you, Premier Dan Andrews and my wonderful fellow Victorians, I knew we would get there.
David Francis, Ocean Grove
Forty people permitted in Young and Jacksons, but only 20 in St Paul’s Cathedral – it doesn’t pass the pub test.
Murray Seiffert, Ivanhoe
Nero fiddled. Trump golfed.
David Cramond, Mornington
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