Guest post: "We can't compete with Trump's hate - and we shouldn't"
Victoria Smith says that although Donald Trump's win might feel like a battle lost, people with compassion, love and the will to do right are not going anywhere
Posted on: Wed 09-Nov-16 15:27:12
(271 comments )
I'm not sure how many Brexits today is supposed to be worth. I started to lose count at around 3am. Then again, the shock is not quite the same as that of the morning of 24 June. If anything, given 2016's track record, it would have felt odd for the US election to go any other way.
Perhaps I have no right to be upset. After all, I'm not even American and even if I was, every expression of dismay will be that of a member of the smug liberal elite (since that is now what anyone who is not virulently right-wing has become). Even so, the parallels between politics in the UK and US seem to be overwhelming. We are witnessing a thuggish take-over by far-right bullies who pose as anti-establishment heroes, men who pretend to smash up the system while their own dominance remains untouched.
Donald Trump – just like the UK's Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage – is someone whose privilege has exempted him from having to follow the same rules as everyone else. He has been able to pose as a rule-breaker even though the normal rules of engagement never applied to him in the first place. Being a woman meant that Hillary Clinton could never have behaved as Trump did and got away with it. Yet precisely because of this she was dismissed as a member of the elite propping up the establishment. But Donald Trump is the establishment and it is rotten to the core.
George W Bush's victory in 2000 might have been bitterly disappointing – not to mention mired in controversy – but this is a disaster of a different order. Bush may have been racist, misogynist, classist, a warmonger, but he was within the bounds of what one might call a small-d democrat. Trump is not.
Being a woman meant that Hillary Clinton could never have behaved as Trump did and got away with it.
The dark turn taken by 2016 politics in both the UK and US has involved a shift to mob rule via the threat of violence. Mainstream UK newspapers call judges enemies of the state; Farage calls for Leave voters to take to the streets to 'get even' with politicians intent on 'watering down' the results of a vague, advisory referendum; a female politician is murdered in broad daylight by a far-right activist; and the man who hinted at the assassination of his female opponent is voted into the White House.
A contract has been broken. The likes of Trump and Farage would suggest that it is a contract that has enabled the elite to exploit the people. They would suggest that doing away with the superficial niceties of political discourse rightfully undermines those who use connections and educational advantage to manipulate others. But dispensing with the niceties means nothing if you replace them with threats and even more lies. It simply leaves us with nowhere to go.
I worry about how the left will respond to this disaster. Following Brexit many of us looked to ourselves, seeking refuge in self-blame. After all, if there's something you could have done, then perhaps you could do it now? But I do not want to see conversations about how Democrats should have listened more to 'the people’s' concerns about immigration and racial diversity. Plenty of those who voted for Trump were not the dispossessed; they were white college-educated men, drunk on years of being told that their dominance was under threat. There is no point in the left attempting to appease people who think this way. You just become a fellow hater, albeit someone whose mediocre, half-hearted hate can never compete with the full-blooded, unbridled hatred of men like Trump.
We need something more solid than that. This morning JK Rowling – whom I'd love as our PM – tweeted this: "We stand together. We stick up for the vulnerable. We challenge bigots. We don't let hate speech become normalised. We hold the line." That is what we must do. That is all that we can do. We know who is put most at risk by Trump's victory. The worst thing we could do is to sell them out on the basis that a politics that represents everyone is just too much to ask.
Rich white men are a minority. They do not have the right to intimidate everyone else into submission. This particular battle may be lost but people with compassion, love and the will to do right are not going anywhere.
By Victoria Smith
Plenty of those who voted for Trump were not the dispossessed; they were white college-educated men, drunk on years of being told that their dominance was under threat.
And well off educated women - they played a big part in this too if the exit poll surveys are to be believed.
Trump has give a public acceptable face to white supremacy. It's not hidden away, face behind a sheet, whispered in the dark anymore - he's made people feel that is is OK to hate the "other" and fear them, and hey, there are ways we can keep them down.
In part a backlash against Barack Obama, against #BlackLivesMatter, against liberal women, Trump has surfed a wave of White Supremacy to the very top - into the White House & we should all be very afraid.
Are all people who have a different opinion to you bullies? Are non-progressives bullies? I cannot see the lack of hate in your post, quite the contrary.
Trump is not someone I would want to spend one minute with.
However this continuous contemptuous treatment of such a large part of the electorate is why Trump and Brexit happened.
Tomorrow's leaders need to break free of the mud slinging and offer a future that appeals to the majority not the few.
Until this is understood and acted on the Trumps and Brexiteers are the only show in town.
But as soon as a viable alternative comes along they are toast. So leaders of tomorrow, start re-defining politics and your vision now, stop the instinctive name calling for anything you disagree with.
The future is there for the taking.
This utter refusal to consider compromise and rush to demonise your opposition is precisely the attitude that Trump represents. He appropriated it from you and those who think like you. You're the ones who believe that 'a politics that represents everyone is too much to ask.' That's literally what your post has just described, and it's your refusal to countenance any cooperation and the rush to position yourselves as a moral elite that has opened the door to this debasement of democracy.
The insistence on polarisation that you represent is tearing western nations apart and further radicalising both sides. You are no better than the alt-right you so despise and are precisely mirroring the anti-liberal discourse that they engaged in when your perspective was ascendant and theirs dissident.
A pox on both your houses, you'll make worms meat of us all.
I think the American democracy process, which has echoes of things going on elsewhere in the world, is a strong indicator of unrest, turmoil, unhappiness and desire for change.
Why, then, it has yet to click into place that insulting people isn't going to work and in fact is counter productive I do not know.
People may be stupid. They may be racist, bigots, greedy, male, white, rich, poor.
Their vote still counts.
Am I contemptuous of the misogynists and racists in the electorate?
Fuck yes, of course I am.
Do I treat their sexism and racism with contempt - of course I do. I have utterly no respect for them at all. It's called being accurately descriptive of their words and policies - it's not name calling.
Why do you seek to defend racism and sexism, or worse refuse to even see it, name it, call it out?
Many straight white women voted him in. No good blaming someone else
I agree Panda. Yes, their vote counts. But their principles stink.
Ah I did not realise you had the ability to see into people's hearts and minds. If only you had spoken earlier the election result would not have been a surprise.
I really don't know why people cannot accept that like with Brexit the MAJORITY voted for Donald Trump - everyone is sick to death with all this PC rubbish. If the UK had sorted itself out before June 24 instead of letting every 35yr old 'child' into the country the vote would have definitely gone the other way. I am fed up - along with millions of others - of all these goodie2shoes saying what they 'think' they should say, what they 'think' others would like to hear instead of speaking their minds. Utter rubbish - the majority vote counts!
It's hatred of politicians that caused this. Not a hatred of women or minority groups. Even Black women support Trump.
Politicians have a lot to answer for (which they won't while they can swan off to Panama whenever they choose)
Trump represents the rebel vote as did Brexit.
I see it as exciting times. Those at the top need to be taken down a peg or two or all. There's a fucking mess to clear up and it ain't of our making.
Trump talks a load of crap to garner attention and everyone knows it's total crap. At the end of the day he's not your standard same same carbon copy repetition voting makes no difference no matter who you support brainwash. What he says is a joke he doesn't mean any of it snd it's unpredictably people prefer right now.
The left cause wars. The right cause wars. The left cause poverty. The right cause poverty. The left are misogynists the right are misogynists. The left abandoned the working class. The right abandoned the working class. The left are anti-Semitic the right are racists.
This is a rebellion against the system. Not because Clinton is female or Trump is a cunt. Trump is a cunt. Clinton is a carbon copy in times of desperate need for change.
A Left Vs Right analysis is reductionist at best and anachronistic at worst. Things are so much more complex now and while I don't praise those who didn't vote for a woman, I don't look down on them either.
lolalola for what it's worth, the majority didn't vote for Trump. Not all results are yet in, but Clinton is ahead in the popular vote.
mismatch I was simply responding to this inaccuracy not making a comment on it. I really don't know why people cannot accept that like with Brexit the MAJORITY voted for Donald Trump
missswatch I mean. Sorry for the wrong name.
Although I don't agree with Mr Trump, people are fed up of the establishment not listening to their worries and concerns. They have to take notice now
29% of Latinos voted for Trump because of the attack on the catholic church as shown by the Catholic Spring comments in Podesta.
Haitians in Florida voted for him wholesale because they were pissed at the Clinton Foundation paying for Chelseas wedding but failing to pass on the millions raised in their name to those destitute in Haiti.
Black voters also supported him in significant numbers because they saw Hillary could do anything and she was beyond the law.
22% voted for him as a result of Bernie being conned out of the democratic nomination by Debbie Wasserman Schulz who effectively appointed Hillary and was repaid for it.
Truth is the swamp in DC did need drained. It is riddled with lobbyists who conveyor belt money to supposedly elected politicians to sell out. Hillarys pay to play has been laid bare, especially the Uranium One deal.
I am hopeful the rotten establishment will be cleaned out.
everyone is sick to death with all this PC rubbish
So sick that we accept that the most powerful man in the country, and perhaps the world is:
A xenophobic racist
A woman hater
Wants Muslims to wear visible identifications like the Jews had to wear the Star of David during WW2?
So sick that we dont care about values and principles any more?
How do we explain this to our kids? We try to teach them equality and tolerance, that women and men have the same value, that people can be different, that it is ok to be gay, it is OK to believe in Allah or God, or have no Faith, or have religion without a deity, or polytheist, that we respect eachothers opinions and faiths, etc. How can we still do this and explain that democracy has spoken and voted Trump to be President in a country that built itself around the idea that all men are created free and equal and who has a history of fighting for gender and race equality?
How do we explain this to our kids?
If you need to justify your personal voting record then I would hope you can do so easily.
If you want to explain this political history to your kids buy them a book or google an article.
Do you really need to need to be rude, Fame?
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