‘Rebirth of democracy’ celebrated


A couple of United States expats in Central Otago are not waiting on President Donald Trump to concede defeat in the US election.

They were willing to push him along by turning his catchphrase, ‘‘You’re fired’’, back on him.

A party dubbed a ‘‘rebirth of democracy in America’’ attracted 60 guests to The Orchard Garden near Alexandra last Sunday.

For organisers Timothy and Marilyn Fleming, it was the least they could do.

Mr Fleming, a cardiologist and physician from Seattle, now transplanted to Alexandra, said the party was to review the past four years and celebrate a reset in his homeland.

He had watched the rise and fall of Trump with shock and awe.

‘‘We were devastated a real estate developer and reality TV person would ascend to run the world’s largest economy.’’

He had hoped the US Congress would keep Trump ‘‘in check’’, but he had been a law unto himself.

Ironically, he believed the party might appeal to the incumbent.

‘‘He is a narcissist.’’

Mr Fleming remained engaged in US politics and was still actively involved as an emeritus professor at Washington State University.

In 2000, he and wife Marilyn made the move to New Zealand.

Otago Medical School cardiologist Gerard Wilkins was one his first ports of call, he said.
Associate Prof Wilkins put Mr Fleming to work.

That involved working at Dunedin’s Marinoto Clinic, Dunstan Hospital and with general practitioners in Central Otago.

He and his wife usually returned home in the northern hemisphere summer to see their children and grandchildren, who lived in the Seattle area and the Netherlands, but Covid-19 had put paid to that.

‘‘It is too hard to go and too difficult to come back.’’

Mr Trump’s reneging on multiple international agreements and his insults directed at the late US senator John McCain and a reporter with disabilities were contributing factors to his political demise, but his handling of Covid-19 was the final blow, Mr Fleming said.

‘‘He’s been responsible for innumerable deaths.’’

He could see why people voted for him, but the pandemic had been a game-changer.

‘‘Covid turned the course of the election.’’

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