Unstable

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In this newsletter:
 
*** BAD STUFF
*** MORE BAD STUFF

November 9 at 11:52 pm

When I woke up this morning early, with the sun in my face, for a bright shining moment I thought things were about to get better. That we would celebrate a woman who deserved to win this presidency like no one before.

Someone who suggested solutions, instead of empty rhetoric of revolutions. Someone who listened, who cared. Someone who said hey, our system is already good, let's take this democracy thing seriously.

But it was not to be.

Now I sit here hugging my vodka bottle, tears in my eyes, my stomach a knot. No one knows what to say. What now? Yes, what now?

It is midnight.

I am tempted to say, wake me up in four years but in four years, this will not be over. This has only just begun.

So wake me up tomorrow to tidy my own house, feed the chickens, hug the sheep. Friends here who will now learn what I have known all my life, just how bad this will be.

But what's the point if we don't fight this? What was the point of her fighting this fight for us if we now let her down?

I'm still with her. Wake up with me.

 

November 10 at 3:12 pm

It’s raining. Teardrops falling from the cabbage tree outside my bedroom window as I lie awake, unwilling to face the day.

The day after the world as we know it ended.

My gutter is leaking. I don’t know how to fix it, and it makes an ugly, soggy mess that I have to wade through every time I go out. My backyard strewn with litter, chickens scratch excitedly among the debris, then come to peek at me, wondering if there will be food. The goose says hello.

So much work to do. My foot hurts. It is painful to walk. So I lie a bit longer.

But shutting the world out does not make me feel better, so up I rise, go make some tea. Fresh baked rolls in the oven for breakfast. Bunny, who has been sick this past week, wants some cuddles. Looks like he made it through. My lovey bunny. I would have died from grief if you’d died on me just now.

Focus on the good things.

Fire up the laptop, go on Facebook, everyone does just that. A senator or congresswoman elected here or there who represents the values that we thought we valued. Diversity. Inclusion. Openness. Fairness. Courage, too.

Some people, friends and friends of friends, not content with having wrecked this election, now cast blame on everyone but themselves. People like me, educated, privileged, who see themselves as subscribing to all those high-minded, liberal values. People who think they have the luxury to follow their precious emotions and tender misgivings of what they call a conscience.

People who when called upon to do the right thing, don’t.

Much easier to call everyone else stoopid or crooked, than look at the shape of your own lack of spine. I’m angry.

Let’s not be angry. Today is too sad to even be angry. A friend’s young teenage daughter went into meltdown yesterday night. She will have to bear the brunt of it, as will her sister. And my other friend’s daughters, whom I care about. One just got married, day before yesterday. When the world was still alright.

A concession speech. I’ll watch it later, too upset for it now. Grace, humility, self reflection. A vision beyond own self. We need these things, so so so so badly. Turns out a majority – slim, but – of you voters know this. Small comfort.

This election isn’t over. We each of us now have the choice to say hey, let’s take this democracy thing seriously. Stand up for each other in the face of things to come.

Whatever the formal outcome, we are the majority – slim, but – make sure no one forgets that. Make sure we don’t forget it either.

Work to do. Try to have faith.

 

November 12 at 11:39pm

It is still raining. A week ago I went and bought a bottle of bubbles to toast the first female president with. An age ago. A different time. In fact, a different universe perhaps.

Somehow, somewhere, there must be a reality where Hillary wins this thing. I just somehow missed the right turn.

This can't be real.

What a massive slap in the face to every woman in the world. Especially those of us who thought they should or could achieve something.

Trolling is up. Yesterday in the car park at the Pak'n Save – first time I ventured out of the house since Wednesday – I was looking at the young white men that crossed my path with different eyes. Suspicious eyes.

Did they think these things about women, about themselves? How they are entitled? To belittle and bemean, not just that – to see someone like me, someone like Hillary, as less than human? Someone they could attack and torment for the lolz? Someone whose opinions, whose ideas, whose achievements simply don't matter in the eyes of the world? And even if we think they do, they should, they must – –they know perfectly well that they won't.

Every one of them is now suspicious.

Did I imagine it, or were they more cocky than usual, emboldened by this victory of White Male Supremacy? Or call it Kiwi Blokedom, same thing.

It is still raining. And cold. The sheep has been staying with a friend this whole week, my foot was sore I couldn't walk. Too painful. Good to have him off my hands while that lasted.

He came back yesterday, and today finally I was able to walk him again, up the road, in the rain, in the cold. In the dark.

Police car came round the corner as we left, they stopped a few houses up the street, who knows. Some husband beating his wife perhaps, or someone mistreating their children. Or maybe just drunk people fighting. Or theft, or vandalism, or any of the hopeless petty crimes the kids in this town commit because they're bored out of their skulls.

Because there is no perspective for an alternative. No alternative perspective.

Those people would have voted Trump. Plenty of those in this town, also plenty of ones that would have given their protest vote to Jill Stein. And they have the nerve to call the other ones dumb, uneducated, idiots.

Lots of conversations these last few days, crisscrossing the globe on Facebook. Local, too – we're not officially a part of the US, at least not just yet, but people sure feel that this election will make waves over here.

I'm trying to found a party. A party party. A Listener's party, getting together to find out what makes people tick who vote for this guy. Or for John Key, aka Trump Lite, for that matter. Our own election coming up next year.

Most important thing right now is to get off our asses. To not be bystanders. Will that succeed here in New Zealand? I don't know. People were enthusiast on Thursday and by now, they're already flaking out.

The pattern is clear. We've done the economic crisis and the election of the fascist leader.

Next up, some annexations and a war.

That is beyond terrifying. But if the pattern holds, we seriously have to look that possibility in the face.

There is one aspect of the pattern we can still change. The biggest problem in Germany were the Bystanders. People who did not agree with Hitler's agenda but did nothing to oppose him.

We have bystanders of our own. People who look away when Black Lives don't matter, when Woman's Dignity and Freedom is constrained, insulted and spat on at every turn. When we're groped by the pussy and no one even sees it, let alone believes it when we complain. People who react with hurt and defensiveness when we point out their own shortcomings, their attitudes fueled by our society's racism and misogyny.

Get it: it is not personal. But if you want it to get better, you first have to admit your own mistakes. You, as a nation, haven't done this. You have persistently pointed the finger at others, only to, when put to the test, fail in the exact precise same way.

All the while, you've been turning historic events you could have studied and learned from these past 70 years, into black and white cartoons and profitable B movies, while shutting your eyes to your own history of genocide and slavery. Now it is suddenly ok to elect a president whose stated agenda is to bring America back to those days of its "greatness". But Hitler is still, somehow, more evil.

I bring this up with people in my own social circle, perfectly educated and what is generally accepted as liberal in their views, and they still get defensive and antagonistic. Even after this. No, of course it is not their fault they did the right thing. It is those racist redneck bigots in flyover country whom they could not stand to even talk to. And why is this my business, I don't even live in the US.

I didn't get a vote in this. But boy will I have to mop up the fallout.

Scratch the surface of your liberalism ever so slightly and out jumps the racist, bigoted snob.

What have you done, ye liberal elites, to make sure these rednecks you despise just as much as they despise gay people, could see the alternative perspective, make informed choices? When did your media relinquish their role as guardians of truth, in favour of the funny punchline? When did it become ok to treat an election, let alone one offering such a stark choice, as a circus where the best clown wins?

When did it become ok for your artists and activists to demand that their own extreme positions become the measure of all, and stab the one candidate most likely to actually further those goals, if more slowly, right in the back? Michael Moore, Susan Sarandon, Ianis Ian, even dear Joany, I am looking at you lot. Because you could not forgive her for what she thought about gay marriage 25 years ago? Because she knows more about the complexities of finance and war than you ever will? Because she acknowledges that some things, you cannot fight with peace chants and prayer? Because she knows that sometimes you have to jump down from the high horse of your moral principle, your privileged financially secure middle class tenderness of conscience, to feed the children, to protect the unprotected, to save the world?

That there are situations when no possible course of action is a good one? I hope you're happy now.

Let's not be bystanders. Let's keep talking and tweeting and getting together and brainstorm and organise, let's create our own reality where Donald has no power.

A parallel universe where Secretary Clinton wins. If he can do it, so can we. She will always be Madame President to me. Hallelujah.

Hillary Clinton

Madame President. (WIP)



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November 14 at 12:10am

Yooou-ha, well I guess the world is sort of ending anyway. That was a long one. There'll probably be aftershocks. The goose panicked.

Kaikoura Earthquake on Geonet *** Some images

Yup, and then there was the earthquake. A real big one, as it turns out. I certainly felt it, as I was sitting up late agonizing over the US election, and decided it was safer to wait it out under my dinner table. Two minutes is a long time when you're waiting for the ground to settle yet. Still – it felt weirdly appropriate.

It's hard to tell the impact of an earthquake when you are in the middle of it – it sure was the longest quake I have experienced yet, though not the strongest (that would have been one of the smaller quakes closer to home) – but it wasn't until friends starting asking if I was ok, that I realized it was all over the international news.

The town of Kaikoura, situated in the middle of the traffic bottleneck that is the main highway and rail line linking Wellington to Christchurch and the lower South Island, has been completely shut off. Places have been shifted up to two metres. My house now has new GPS coordinates, apparently. There have been numerous aftershocks.

My house and property haven't sustained any damage, fortunately, and neither has the rest of Featherston – a small town with no high rise buildings, which means there is a lot less risk of things collapsing than in the urban centres. We are a way away from the main epicentre, though apparently this quake has been felt all the way up to Auckland. We are, however, within the area that is likely to experience aftershocks for a little while. This is not done yet.

I haven't had occasion to go to Wellington in the last couple of weeks, but the quake earned some of my neighbours an extra holiday because trains weren't running, and parts of the inner city had to be cordoned off. The photos from Kaikoura are sobering. It will take quite a while to clear away all that rubble and make the road passable again.

So yes, I am safe, for now. The earthquakes will continue and New Zealand has its own election coming up next year. These are things to worry about.

A couple of weeks ago I came down with a bad stomach pain which turned into fits of vomiting, and while I was inclined to directly blame this on the US election result, when I was rushed to hospital it appeared that the culprit was an infection in my foot, which I should have taken to the doctor. So I spent a night at the hospital on intravenous antibiotics because nothing would stay down, then got sent home and told to eat my pills and rest, and ended up sleeping away the best part of the next five days.

Perhaps it was precisely what I needed though. Physically and mentally, I am feeling better now than I have at any point for the last two years, ever since I came down with that bout of Lyme disease. For the first time since I thought I needed to take few week's break two years ago, I feel motivated to do illustration work again, and am now officially back to work.

There are other bright linings: my sheep now has some grazing with a neighbour who came by one day to offer me her left over guinea pig food for my rabbits, and has since turned into a truly supportive friend. It's a big relief to be able to hand over the sheep part time or in moments of crisis, and the first time I've had someone I've felt confident to ask to pick me up from hospital, or help out with the shopping and the laundry!

My washing machine chose this precise moment to break down, and when I was told what a repair would cost me, I jumped on Trademe and bought a new one for about the same price: not money I would have chosen to spend at this point, as I have really been struggling with paying some of my bills, but it looks like I got me a good bargain: a better brand and a gruntier machine, which is in pretty good shape and actually washing my laundry clean. It was about time to replace the old piece of junk anyway.

Strangely, it was while driving to pick up the new machine, that the music in my head, which has been stuck in broken record mode all this while, switched back on big time. So now I have a social life, a decent washing machine, and music in my head. That's got to be a good thing.

Arohanui, from Asni

From: Jennifer Lane. Submitted 5 December 2016 1:46:21 PM NZDT

So glad to see you had no damage from the earthquake! So much else happening and then an earthquake! I'm sure you've seen the good news in Austria and the bad in Italy. The press here is trying really hard to normalize the US election but they can't. There's too much that show's it's completely unacceptable. People are barking back. xo

From: Asni. Submitted 6 December 12:07 PM NZDT

Thanks Jennifer! I hear you. Keep up the barking. :)



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