Diary Australia


31 August 2019

9:00 AM

31 August 2019

9:00 AM

Donald Trump’s border wall may not yet be built from coast-to-coast but the barrier between those who support the president and those who loathe him could scarcely be more impenetrable. Over the past month innumerable conversations with Americans in blue and red states confirmed the view that the gulf between those of disparate political leanings has widened in the three years since the presidential candidate selection process was last underway.

Then, Hilary Clinton was considered such a shoo-in as the Democratic contender that supporters of her rival Bernie Sanders could only shriek from the sidelines. Today, there is such a field of contenders for the Democratic nomination that the winnowing process has already become a tiresome competition of wokeness, with candidates agreeing to more extreme positions on the woke spectrum whenever questioned.

This suits the New York Post which has taken to asking those who would see themselves in the White House whether they would support open borders, full benefits for illegal immigrants, free universities and whatever seizes the mind of the adolescent Twitterverse, and as the candidates rush to vehement agreement, the newspaper files their responses to be produced next year when the campaigns begin to get more serious. This unedifying scramble to be the most woke will provide the ammunition to obliterate any claim to fitness for any office.

In New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut, states which are deep blue, support for Mr Trump is covert but it is there and it is there more strongly than when I last plumbed the depth of sentiment in 2016.

Talk to a tradesman, a plumber, an electrician, a driver, a small business operator and the benefits of the Trump administration will be extolled. Talk to an academic, or a person with multiple degrees, a public servant, a librarian, or anyone who habitually listens to National Public Radio, and one learns that the federal administration’s economic policies have no influence on the nation and are certainly not responsible for its booming economy.

A self-identifying Tex-Mex in Dallas will say that illegal immigrants should not be permitted to enter the country and certainly should not be able to access public welfare benefits while three hours flight north, protesters will demand that anyone should be allowed to come to America, even be permitted to vote though they may not be citizens.

National Public Radio, NPR, is the source of much of our own ABC’s foreign news and commentary material but having stayed in one home where the kitchen radio was locked onto its signal it was frightening to hear the constant stream of anti-Trump, anti-capitalist propaganda. No mention of the great socialist nations’ achievements – because there aren’t any of any meaning – but paeans to equality, diversity, the ever-expanding alphabeticals of the LGBTQ?XYZ community, and of course, all the stuff hipster millennials believe they are entitled to for free.

Still it was heartening to see a large white banner bearing the ‘TRUMP – 2020 – KEEP AMERICA GREAT’ slogan flying from a multi-million dollar mega-yacht berthed in Newport, Rhode Island. As the owner of a breakfast joint on Bowen’s Wharf confided: ‘Trump has turned things around, those who can’t see it are nuts. And they get angry if you mention it.’ This gentleman, who made surprisingly good coffee in a nation which has long suffered from over-boiled beans, also allowed that his worst-ever customer had been the former US Secretary of State John Kerry, whom he claimed had drunkenly pushed his way to the front of the doughnut line and demanded immediate service. He was sent to the back of the queue.

On the other side of the nation, the summer heat made most obvious what many hipsters try to ignore – the increasing amount of human excrement deposited on the sidewalks of San Francisco. There’s even a smartphone app, Snapcrap, which residents can use to upload photos of offending turds to the city’s  SF311 San Francisco at your Service website which should then alert the city’s new five-person ‘poop patrol’ and send it to the scene. It’s a long time since Clint Eastwood staked out San Francisco in his Dirty Harry series but you get the drift.

Charles Kesler, the editor of the Claremont Review of Books, devoted a column to the problem in the summer edition of his magazine. As he noted: ‘In California at least, one is struck by the contrast between the fastidious attention paid to the social duty of scooping up and disposing of dog faeces, and the rather more paralysed and guilty reaction to the plague of human faeces. The former is treated as a moral imperative among the enlightened — and the thin plastic bags used as the means to this moral end have so far escaped the fate of plastic straws, well on their way to being outlawed as an environmental outrage. Even social-justice warriors don’t consider it their personal duty, however, to tidy up after their fellow human beings on the streets.’

There’s none so blind as those who will not see but in this case the morally virtuous white-cane brigade may find themselves stepping right into their dilemma.

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