Monday, November 12, 2012

Are refugees from 'Obamanation' heading downunder?

Near the end of Michael Mann's Heat, the best movie to come out of Hollywood in the nineties, the jaded bank robber played by Robert De Niro urges his sweetheart to leave Los Angeles behind and emigrate with him to New Zealand. For De Niro's disillusioned villain, New Zealand is a distant paradise where the sirens and gunshots of America can be forgotten.

In the aftermath of last week's presidential election, some Republicans are also fantasising about making new lives in New Zealand. As I  noted last week, many right-wing Americans were confident that Mitt Romney would thrash Barack Obama, despite a long series of opinion polls which suggested that the Democrats' man was on track win four more years in the White House. Now that Romney has gone down to defeat, the mood on many Republican blogs and messageboards has turned apocalyptic. A few bloggers have claimed, on the scantiest evidence, that Obama 'stole' the election through ballot-stuffing or some more high-tech form of trickery; others have blamed the result on demographic changes with have made 'takers' like African Americans, Hispanics, and young people into a majority of the population, and rendered the 'makers' who support the Republican Party powerless.
For most relatively detached observers, Obama is a moderate social democrat who has, like Franklin D Roosevelt in the thirties and Jimmy Carter in the seventies, used Keynesian measures like quantitative easing to try to deal with an economic crisis created by his predecessors. For many on the right of Republican Party, though, he is an Islamo-communist who is well on his way to destroying America. Warning of the sharia law, nationalisation of all property, and slaughter of whites which are coming, many right-wingers have talked of fleeing the 'Obamanation' that their beloved homeland homeland has become for some remote arcadia.

Although it was produced before the election, an article at a site called Activist Post  about the five best sanctuaries for refugees from America has been circulated widely over the last week by distraught Republicans. Activist Post ranks New Zealand as the world's third most desirable bolthole, after Uruguay and Costa Rica but before Argentina and Iceland. According to the Post, New Zealand 'might be the most isolated fully developed nation in the world', and boasts both 'friendly people' and 'many remote places to hide away'.
Activist Post hints that American refugees might like to make homes in one of New Zealand's 'smaller islands', like 'the Cook Islands or Chatham Island'. I can't see the Cook Islanders being happy at once again being made subjects of Wellington, and I wonder whether the perennial Antarctic winds and extraordinarily tangled local politics of the Chathams might make even the most fervent Obamaphobe long for the good old US of A.

If angry Republicans do head our way, they won't be the first group of American refugees to seek sanctuary in the Pacific. When the Civil War ended with the liberation of slaves and the break-up of many big plantations in 1865, diehard Confederates tried to recreate their old lifestyle in other parts of the world. Thousands of Dixielanders tried to gouge colonies out of Mexico and Brazil, but others headed for the South Pacific, and began growing crops like sugar, cotton, and coffee in places like Fiji and Queensland.

In his fascinating but depressing book called The White Pacific, the African American scholar Gerald Horne shows how the Confederates brought their old racial attitudes with them when they fled to the Pacific. In Fiji, they put locals to work as virtual slaves on their plantations, and formed a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan to destabilise the government of the indigenous King Cakobau. The Klan's violent rhetoric and actions won it wide support from Fiji's white community, until Cakobau decided in 1873 to accept British sovereignty rather than risk Confederate hegemony.
Both Confederate and Yankee war veterans settled in small numbers in New Zealand. The great Kiwi poet Kendrick Smithyman remembered a couple of old men from opposite sides of the war who saw out their days at the retirement home his parents managed in the small Northland town of Te Kopuru. Whenever the two veterans ran into each other in the hall they would shout ancient insults and begin fencing with their canes.

In the twentieth century American refugees to the South Pacific tended to espouse left-wing rather than conservative politics. Back in 2008 I blogged about Robert Ford, the Spanish Civil War veteran and nephew of the famous film-maker John Ford who came here in the fifties to escape Joseph McCarthy's anti-reds crusade. In the sixties other Americans preferred a few years in New Zealand to a tour of Vietnam.

In its coverage of America's election, the Guardian found the time to mention the many Republicans talking about resettling in New Zealand. Britain's favourite liberal newspaper quoted a Kiwi tweeter called Ali Ikram, who doubted whether Republicans would feel at home downunder:

4 Republicans moving 2 New Zealand here Romney is a sheep breed, we haven't had a revolution yet & The White House is a strip bar 

I can think of a few additional reasons why refugees from 'Obamanation' who wash up in New Zealand may be disappointed with their new home. Our healthcare system is considerably more statist than anything envisaged by Obama, our gun laws are relatively strict, our political representatives do not, with the exception of John Banks, take the Book of Genesis literally, and our premier summer game is, let's face it, a lot slower and more complicated than baseball. Perhaps those would-be refugees should think their decision over for four years or so?

[Posted by Maps/Scott]

6 Comments:

Anonymous R Mitchell truthteller no bullshit said...

I have written previously on the theme that Barack Hussein Obama, aka Barry Soetero, might be insane. It is a worthy topic!

We are witnessing a President of the United States literally declaring war on some of its citizens! Obama has just declared that Republicans are his enemy. He is inciting violence towards conservatives. He is demanding that Latinos be his enforcers against his sworn “enemies.” Obama, in essence is openly advocating racial warfare in The United States of America. He is making racist statements, imploring the Latinos to rise up and punish his “enemies”.

7:31 am  
Anonymous R Mitchell truthteller no bullshit said...

Let’s take a guess. Obama’s core values constitute the following:

Destroy America’s ability to defend itself
Bankrupt America
Enrich himself and his cronies
Tear down border defenses and allow unbridled trespassing upon United States soil
Control the actions of American citizens via the rationing and withholding of medical care
Impose complete governmental control over the manufacturing sector of the economy
Impose complete governmental control over the financial industry
Impose complete governmental control over the press, wiping out Fox News and any other news organization that dares to broadcast or print opinions that oppose Obama’s agenda
Declare war upon American patriots
Indoctrinate children in Marxism
Apologize to the world for any and all instances of American exceptionalism
Destroy all carbon-based energy production companies
Impose control over every aspect of citizens’ lives
Incite class warfare
Incite racial warfare
Impose redistribution of wealth on a massive scale
Remove God from the lives of all Americans and replace the worship of God with the worship of the state and Obama
Create a system of central command and control over the economy through appointed Czars, bypassing the authority of the United States Congress
Make the courts of the land subservient to the will of Obama. Appoint stooges as judges so that all court decisions will follow communist doctrine
Dictate what types of food people may eat
Force students to obtain their school funding through the government by eliminating the right of private financial institutions to offer student loans
Make illegal the selling of incandescent lightbulbs
Destroy the private sector of the economy – all jobs must come via government
Mandate the killing of unborn babies through taxpayer funded abortions
Make Americans slaves to communism


This is no longer a fight between conservatism and liberalism. This is a fight between good and evil.

7:32 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol yanks are nuts

5:50 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The comments above must be some sort of window from Bizzaro World, where these things actually have happened, rather than been imagined by an anonymous blogger.

In that world, Stalin appointed himself Czar after he defeated MechaKaiser Wilhelm in single handed battle, after which he launched a Socialist Crusade to Jerusalem, via Washington DC

1:32 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.theroot.com/buzz/gop-pep-talk-send-obama-back-kenya

9:18 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Romney is a zero. Obama is not. Ronald Reagan was not a zero. Carter was a zero. Regan vs. Mondale. Right. Mondale: zero. Bush Sr. vs. Dukakis. Close. And we know Bush Sr. won. But think. Side by side. If they were both running a campaign right now into that great unknown, which one rates zero, and which one does not? Remember, this is only a comparison to the other. Because compared to most men or women on the street, both those guys are zeros. So, Bush Sr. vs. Dukakis. That’s what I thought. Dukakis: zero.

Now. Bush Sr. vs. Clinton. Right. Bush Sr.: zero. Clinton vs. Dole. Hmmmm…. just kidding. Dole: zero. Gore vs. Bush Jr.. I know, I know. But, Gore: zero. Close, aren’t they? Which is why the election was close. So; Bush Jr. vs. Kerry. Give me a break. Not even close. Kerry: zero. And finally, McCain vs. Obama. You could live in a cave and know this one. McCain: ZERO! HUGH! And finally, part two. Obama vs. Romney. Romney: zero. Need I say more?

Other than to mention a fantasy. Or thought experiment. Hillary Vs. Palin. Not. even. close. Gargantuan.

10:05 pm  

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