Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speak during the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speak during the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis.

No winners in US election: Opinion

ON NOVEMBER 4, 2008 I stood in front of a small TV in the newsroom of the Northern Star and wiped my eyes as I watched Barack Obama's inspirational "Yes We Can" victory speech.

When asked by younger colleagues why I (and several others) were teary, we had to explain that we had witnessed dreadful things happening in that country years ago; assassinations of both black and white leaders who committed the apparently dreadful crime of rubbing some of the populace the wrong way.

It was an uplifting day, reflected in the joy on the faces of all colours in the televised crowd; the only other time I felt such emotion was when Kevin Rudd delivered his "Sorry" speech to the Stolen Generation, something his predecessor, John Howard, had refused to do like the spiteful schoolboy he was.

There will be no such emotion tomorrow if the outcome of the election becomes apparent. It has been an ugly campaign by both candidates, one neither camp should be proud of and has split the nation that labels itself the greatest democracy in the world.

I fear for the consequences, no matter who is victorious; neither seems fit for the role of most powerful person on the planet. I've even taken the step of advising my son and daughter-in-law who have a holiday to the States booked for next year to check that their travel insurance covers cancellation through political unrest.

Trump is a dangerous man who appears to hide a narcissistic personality disorder - badly - behind buffoonery and bluster, while his ardent supporters seem to be armed and prepared to use their guns to get what they want. American author Mark Dagostino who has spent hours interviewing him believes Trump doesn't even want the job; he just wants to win. Clinton is untrustworthy and supports big business; she is the object of such hatred by the ratbag right that should she prevail on the day, I hope the Secret Service are on the ball.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama will be leaving office having provided as stable a government as Congress allowed. He and his family have not had even a tiny whiff of a scandal, but have lived in the very public arena of the White House with immense dignity, grace, charm and intelligence. Obama was the hippest of presidents while also showing a calm and controlled demeanour. There have been no gaffes, no wayward children, no empty threats. No vomiting into the laps of foreign powers. A man for the people and one who will be sorely missed by many.

My best girlfriend who is American and moved back there in 1994 is starting to wish they'd stayed in Australia.



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