GUEST BLOG: Andra Jenkin – The Powers that Be

By   /   May 7, 2017  /   5 Comments

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We need to call America something different. The name America has been held up as the embodiment of an ideal to aspire to, a land where the helpless and hopeless can come to escape persecution and intolerance.

We need to call America something different. The name America has been held up as the embodiment of an ideal to aspire to, a land where the helpless and hopeless can come to escape persecution and intolerance.

The reality has never matched the ideal, from the first of the wars with the indigenous people history has been distorted until rapes and kidnappings are represented as Disney love stories. The fatal clashes between colonising and indigenous cultures has culminated in a saccharine holiday ironically called Thanksgiving.

Abuses have continued for as long as America has existed, the horrors and humiliations of slavery, the rise of the KKK, oppression and vilification of homosexuals, misogyny, installing and propping up foreign dictators.

Now, if number 45 can be held up as the embodiment of American ideals, the man voted into the office of president, then the ideal is an orgy of hate. Let’s call America something more reflective of what it stands for, RichWhiteManIstan.

In more tales from the dark side, the man who is so white he’s orange has weakened LGBTQ rights this week. He has attacked the Johnson Amendment which prevents those with tax-exempt status from ‘directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of [or in opposition to] any candidate for elective public office.’ With 71% of Americans against allowing places of worship to endorse political candidates, especially other places of worship, how can anyone endorse the rhetoric that Trump is a man of the people?

America is sick, and there’s no respite, now that the Republicans have passed a bill to repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act. As the name implies, affordable healthcare is now a thing of the past for Americans, with the full ramifications not yet known, the Harvard doctors who study such things say that 43,000 will die due to this decision.

Trump snatched America’s healthcare and went home, unfortunately for him, to a city that knows the man, and boy are they angry. “Say it loud, say it clear, immigrants are welcome here,” was the collective chant from the multitude of protestors in New York who kept him from going any closer than 10 blocks to his home in Trump Tower.

But the travel ban, whoops, now I’m doing it, revisionist history has become revisionist contemporary. But no matter that lies are called alternative facts, a travel ban is still a #Muslimban by a different name and we all know it.

I can no longer keep up with the rest of what number 45’s evil henchmen have been up to so far. It’s hard to keep up with each and every atrocity committed by the current cumbersome incumbent, and would take more time, thought and effort to list them than Trump took making them happen.
So what do we do with a problem like Trump? Like Bannon? Like Pence? I really don’t know. I don’t know how to get New Zealand to wake up from the nightmare National has visited upon us, because I fear that despite the fact so many of us are now homeless, starving, fearful and helpless we are going to re-elect our own rich, white oppressor.

I’ve just had it up to the back teeth with the wrongness of it all. We all know it’s wrong for children to starve, it’s wrong for people to be discriminated against on the basis of race, gender or sexual orientation, we know it’s wrong for anyone to be homeless, let alone people who work one or more jobs. It’s wrong for people to not be able to afford to go to the doctor, or be afraid and anxious all the time that they won’t be able to feed their kids. But that is the reality for Americans, New Zealanders and people all over the world.

Last century New Zealanders were protected by the trading relationship we had with Britain, and by the real opportunities, securities and safeguards offered by the state in the form of free education, welfare benefits, state housing and free healthcare which baby boomers took full advantage of. But having accepted those benefits, baby boomers believed that they earned all those opportunities and that they had nothing to do with luck, timing or hand-outs. So, in power, they have removed those defences and poverty and deprivation are the result.

The children and grandchildren of those boomers have a very uncertain future, one in which it is easier to go to prison than to university. Where living in a car is more likely than owning a home and having a full-time job is no guarantee against destitution.

The only certainty is that to have a chance of stopping the worst excesses of governmental abuse, American’s, New Zealanders, and people around the world must #Resist.

Himmelstein, D., Woolhandler, S,. (January 23, 2017) “Repealing the Affordable Healthcare Act will kill more than 43,000 people annually.” Retrieved from
Morgan, J., (May 4, 2017) “Trumps signs ‘religious liberty’ executive order.” Retrieved from
Powell, C., (May 2, 2017) “Republicans quietly eliminate healthcare for disabled children.” Retrieved from May 5, 2017
Schilling, V., (March 21, 2017) “The true story of Pocahontas: historical myths versus sad reality.” Retrieved from May 5, 2017
Staff reporter, (May 4, 2017) “House passes bill to repeal Obamacare: live updates” retrieved from May 5, 2017


Andra Jenkin co-wrote Double-Edged Sword- The Simonne Butler Story, and contributed to New Zealand Anthology of Women’s Comics ‘Three Words.’

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  1. garibaldi says:

    This is a brilliant piece of writing Andra. Well done.
    If only we could get it out into the mainstream.

  2. Heather says:

    I agree that the myth of the USA being the land of the free has finally reached the point of absurdity. I struggle to see however how this then falls into the simplistic diatribe that it is all the ‘baby boomers’ fault. The economics of the 80s allowed greedy bankers and other money men to accumulate power and wealth. I regret that we couldn’t stop that at he time. Blaming B&B’S many of whom tried to stop this at the time will not create a solution. Having a vision, articulating a preferred future and committing to taking that into a political place is what is needed by the younger generation.

  3. RosieLee says:

    And we need to get through to Labour that this is what they need to be standing up to. No equivocation.

  4. Afewknowthetruth says:

    America is a fascist police state, and the entire narrative of freedom and democracy is a cleverly constructed and cleverly maintained sham. We’ve know if for years.