Travel in the time of Trump: Auckland

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A flyer in Auckland’s downtown for a protest against Trump’s inauguration.

Even from afar, the image of the new U.S. president was unmistakable. We encountered the above flyer while walking around Auckland’s downtown, and when we walked across the street to read it we found it was for a protest of Trump’s inauguration. For those of you unsure of what “Aotearoa” is, it’s the widely-accepted Maori name for New Zealand’s North Island.

Though sparse on the details of their discontents on the flyer, the Aotearoa Against Trump group had plastered these flyers along the streets for nearly a mile. On some, people had scribbled a Hitler-like moustache onto Trump’s face. Others had profanity scribbled onto them. And yet others were partly ripped down, either by those angry by Trump’s election or angry at the protesters.

Trump is an unarguably a polarizing figure in the Americas, but his appearance as a protest target here in New Zealand illustrates how global that polarization is.  Some people in Auckland took the time to design this flyer, print it out, and put it up all over Auckland’s downtown. People also (ostensibly) showed up for this protest against Trump. Others vented their distaste through profanity or portraying him as Hitler. I wonder if there was also a counter-protest.

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An intact poster next to a torn-down poster for the protest. These were two of about twenty posters we saw in our walk around one corner of the downtown area.

You could argue that the opinion of Auckland’s residents on the U.S. President doesn’t really matter. They’re not U.S. citizens and they don’t live in the U.S. It’s none of their business. But Auckland is the capital city of a country that the U.S. will have to work with, as an ally and a trading partner. The dislike of him here is a reminder that harsh rhetoric wins few friends and has ramifications outside of the election, influencing how other countries view the United States, and us as U.S. citizens. And while Trump and his allies may want to “put America first”, anything the U.S. does will have global ramifications and everyone outside the U.S knows it. Our country might find ourselves with fewer allies in the next four years.

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