Americans in New Zealand

Warning: this post is not my typical banter of beauty, fun, and living in a distant land. It is sad and serious.

The news from the US this morning is grim (June 13 in New Zealand, June 12 in the US). Fifty people were murdered in Orlando, Florida in the past 24 hours, 56 more were injured–some may ultimately die. They were killed by a man with an assault weapon while enjoying themselves at “Latin Night” at a bar. There are other important details: the killer was homophobic, it was a gay bar, the killer claims ties to ISIS, he bought the assault weapon days ago. There is no use for an assault weapon other than killing people: you don’t choose an assault weapon to go hunting; it is not the choice for self-protection; it is not common for target practice–you can’t miss a target with that many bullets in that little time.  An assault weapon kills, period.

On the NZ news, a commentator said (near quote if not exact): “Americans are bloody idiots. They value their guns more than their people.”

Our conversations with almost everyone in NZ eventually turn to the US 2016 election. Without asking directly, New Zealanders universally seem to want to know what we think about the election.

We are embarrassed, yet feel lucky.

We are embarrassed that the US election has devolved into a brawl with the Republican nominee, Donald Trump, offering little more than name-calling, hate, division, illogical inconsistencies, and reality-show antics. The Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, has been so continuously demonized to the point that her successes are watered down with crazy-talk. I believe Trump will be elected. Dan thinks surely not. We agree that the problems in the US will not be solved by either result.

We feel lucky to be living and working on the West Coast of New Zealand.

We are learning a calmer, more peaceful, and yes, even more provincial way of life. It is like we are seeing the US through a periscope.

noun: periscope; plural noun: periscopes
an apparatus consisting of a tube attached to a set of mirrors or prisms, by which an observer (typically in a submerged submarine or behind a high obstacle) can see things that are otherwise out of sight.

Dan and I are Americans. We love our home country. We love all that America is and can be at its best. We wish the United States collectively would strive to be at its best, today and everyday.

Bob’s your uncle.*


*Kiwi slang. See this blog for lots more. The blog explains: Similar to the saying “hey presto”, meaning something is done or happens.
“Just connect the cables and Bob’s your uncle, all ready to go.”
Sometimes said as “Bob’s your uncle and Fanny’s your aunt” or someone may reply to the “Bob’s your uncle” with “And Fanny’s your aunt.”


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