Lessons From History: Tourism and Trump

I woke early this morning and remembered Trump had won the Presidential election. Further sleep was impossible. The television has been turned on in the room on other side of the wall behind my head, so I guess I am not the only one feeling a horrified fascination with the result.

We got an intimation of how it was going yesterday lunchtime at Federation Square where Vcki and I had headed via a boat that looked remarkably like das Boot, only quite a bit bigger.


There was a screen at the square, and the subtitles were reporting gains for Trump. We watched, appalled, for a few minutes, hoped it was wrong, and headed off on Trail 7, Victorian Melbourne. We moved swiftly from the big riverside buildings to homes that have been through cycles of varying status.

It maybe an evolutionary safety device to help us hold onto our sanity in the face of the unthinkable that allows us to inhabit several planes of thought at once.

I love the lace decorations on the older houses in Melbourne, and yesterday’s walk was full of them.

There was a house that had belonged to Captain Cook’s parents. It was transported from Yorkshire and has been re-erected in the park. I passed on the opportunity to get into costume while I visited. The broad beans in the garden looked delicious.

So we were enjoying ourselves. All was well.
Then a woman returning to her house with her dogs told us Trump had won. No, we said in unison. I think it’s wonderful, she replied. That was the end of that conversation. Suddenly the neighbourhood felt a lot less attractive.

Fortunately we met an older woman who was watering the roses in her front garden. She seemed as appalled by the news as we were, and we were getting on famously until she said that immigrants were a drain.

A drink in the bar by on the roof of the Princess theatre did much to restore us, but that feeling that the world is teetering on the edge of a horrible precipice continues. In thirty years people will make films about these days, and show people like Vicki and me sitting with our drinks in front of us, apparently indifferent to the seismic changes in our world; Neros fiddling while Rome burns.

Why is it that we need to relearn every few decades the lessons of the past? Why do we forget and ignore the outcomes of hate fuelled rhetoric, and seek out scapegoats, throw up barriers and create societies that exclude rather than include? And how do we work now to mitigate the damage, to diffuse the bomb that is ticking?








6 thoughts on “Lessons From History: Tourism and Trump

  1. Morning, day after: a very quiet and gentle commute with folks offering small smiles. Evening commute: some raucous conversations amongst strangers on the train. The more practical among us remember that the sun comes up, the wheels still turn and what is most important is keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe. But I am heartened that “we” are in the majority and will not be ignored. As is already a cliche a day after the election, don’t mourn, organize.

    • On a sunny afternoon in Melbourne, enjoying the sights and the warmth on my back, Trump’s victory seems unreal. I was both interested and saddened to learn Hillary got more votes but lost the election.

  2. How the world can change so quickly, Isobel. First Brexit, now Trump. I find it hard to comprehend how people actually voted for either of these disastrous events. The decent people in the world will have to fight hard to have their voice heard. You’re right, we just don’t seem to learn the lessons from the past.

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