America Votes: United States Embassy Lunch @ the NPC

9 November 2016

It started with optimism and ended with the perfunctory release of the huge netted balloons in red white and blue at the election party held by the US Embassy at the National Press Club. And we didn’t have a result, but knew where it was heading. The posse of journalists with furrowed brows and looks of disbelief scurried to their safe havens on the hill and the so very hospitable embassy staff started packing up.  

We’d been welcomed with smiles, security of course, loaded tables of American style food, badges of both persuasions for all and sundry and fluttering flags, bunting festooned on high, cut outs of the contenders for the mandatory selfies and a waiting and watching brief as the screens played endless blathering by the pundits as we learnt about endless counties in states across the USA. And then the “rust belt” entered the equation and Antony Green’s algorithms.

But we loved the good stuff not eaten since stuffing oneself with those huge servings you become used to in the USA with gumbo to remind of New Orleans and Paul Prudhomme, mega ice cream sandwiches straight off the boardwalk in Ocean City Maryland, slabs of Danish you’ll find in every American diner and the very Spanish churros with chocolate among the ‘delicacies’. Some drank champagne, most the softies and the screens went to Kim Beazley in Perth for his summation. Oops!

 How did so many get it so wrong.

To keep the guests amused we had competitions for a pair of Hillary and Donald nodding dolls. Just the desk decor for this room full of journalists of every persuasion, camera men scurrying for live sends and photographers feeling a little jaded by the lack of demonstrable enthusiasm. A group of junior military were enjoying a break in their day and students from Gungahlin College probably still confused by the system and what we’d been led to believe stayed the distance.

And now the back pedalling and posturing begins. And the embassy ponders what might be for them in the announcing of the Trump presidency’s nomination for the best house in Canberra; but we do know they will continue to be so very diplomatic and hospitable. Thank you all, it was as American as apple pie and fun to be there.