So, how about that US election, huh? That sure didn’t go as we expected it to, huh?
I wish I could say I was surprised. I really do. I woke up Tuesday morning to the news of President-Elect Donald J. Trump, and it felt like I had been punched in the stomach. Not disbelief as such, but fear.
For the first time in my life, I am genuinely concerned for the future. I cannot imagine how people who are not white and cisgendered feel. I imagine it’s pretty fucking awful.
But the more I think about it, the more I realise that this is the most natural result. I hate that the world works this way, but … ya know … hell is other people.
In the end, the last many elections across the west have been dominated by fear, frustration and anxiety. Those emotions easily translate into hate and bigotry. It’s always easier to lash out at “others”. But it’s based around the basic idea that for many people around the world, they can no longer go to sleep at night comforted by the idea that tomorrow will be better. They’re losing their jobs, their homes, and that creates a huge bubble of fear and insecurity. Things are continually becoming worse and worse for them.
So when a person comes along and says “this is the problem, and this is how we’re going to fix it” it can’t possibly be a surprise that people listen.
And yes. Trumps rallies were chock-a-block full of bigots and racists. Absolutely. But I maintain that that is likely a very vocal minority that, much like Trump himself, understood demagoguery and spoke to people’s fears and baser instincts. But for the vast majority of these people, I think they would have voted another way if they felt they weren’t being ignored.
But that’s not even the bigger problem. The real problem is that the Left can’t see how they contributed to the divide. I mean, they’re so inclusive and with them, there’s a safe space for everyone.
Unless you disagree with them, that is. In that case, there is no limit to the amount of vitriol that can be thrown your way.
The Left has become so enamoured with the idea that they are right (and for the record, I think they are), that they don’t have to be polite or respect differing views. And that’s all across the Left, from the feminist movement to fucking Greenpeace.
It has become a fundamentalist movement, so convinced of its own ideals, its own virtues and its righteousness that any attempt at measured and open discourse is seen as a weakness in their enemies and as acquiescing to the enemy in their own ranks. Even acknowledging that you might understand where a racist person comes from automatically labels you as someone who endorses and encourages their point of view. This sort of absolutism is never healthy.
Considering all this, how can it possibly come as a surprise that those who feel disenfranchised and ignored turn to a man who speaks to our baser instincts? Who at least to some degree owns his own monstrosity?
It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re right if you can’t get people to listen. It doesn’t matter if your cause is just. This is not a Machiavellian tragedy. It’s just the way humanity works.
No one will listen to a person who has just accused them of being the worst kind of human being there is. It’s just not going to happen.
And until the Left wakes up and realises that, nothing is going to change.
We made this mess. Now we get to fix it.