There's a rather large elephant in this room we call Earth. He's just been elected the 45th President of the United States and quite frankly, it would make me physically ill to even type his name. I am, after all, practically everything he abhors - a migrant, a woman, in possession of a university qualification and a supporter of marriage equality, choice and religious tolerance.
It's a strange, sad and rather bleak world we now face. The dedication, experience, intelligence, humour and passion of the Obama administration and then that brief window of hope with the Clinton presidential campaign has been snuffed out with this one election. Winter really has begun. I'm not here to hate the new president but his lack of experience, repeated demonstration of his poor opinion of women and his lack of diplomacy are not what the world needs right now. To represent his nation, to have the codes for nuclear weapons, to unify Americans and encourage them to work together for a greater future. Is he really the right choice, America? Especially when compared to the candidate who much of the world expected to win?
I didn't wake up feeling this way. I went to work dressed in blue as a reference to how I'm With Her. That's all it felt like. A bit of a fun and token effort from a person half a world away for a woman who would surely become Madam President. The polls were predicting it and honestly? Everyone here thought the election was just a mere formality to begin another historic, ground breaking and productive period of modern American politics.
There are a million memes and satirical pieces going around the internet right now. Advice for Americans on how to migrate (I'd love to see you over here, if you're thinking of moving someplace far, far away), comments about how this has been the last American election, news of the Canadian immigration website crashing as the votes were counted and it became clear who was to win.
But while it all numbs the pain and fear right now, waking up tomorrow is going to hurt. And leave a nation with the seemingly impossible challenge of how to remain unified under the guidance of a man who is hell bent on building walls, degrading women and encouraging oppression to flourish. Perhaps this is the wake up call America and the rest of the world needed. To not be complacent in the freedom and progress we had already made through the work of successive generations of brave men and women. It will all be missed as quickly as it has been taken away.
For now, I am half a world away from the waves of opinion and emotion that are crashing through the United States right now. I live in a world where I come home from work and pick up my son from preschool. We sit for a while as my son finishes the game he is playing with his classmates. One by one, his friends come on over to me with shells from their game. Their little gifts fill the cups another friend gave me earlier. We pretend the shells are telephones and talk to each other. We place the larger shells to our ears and hear the roar of the ocean.
We are of different ages, genders, faiths and races but we are all Australian and I have this smug certainty that they will grow up in a peaceful land of plenty with every advantage and opportunity that their forebears and their parents continue to work towards. But as I think of what has just happened in the United States, my smugness is beginning to slide.
We do not live in a perfect democracy but it is a functional, inclusive and progressive one and one that none of us should take for granted.
It's not always about being great but it is always about being good.