Trump’s victory in the US election raises many questions but without erudite or elucidating answers. Much conjecture ensues of course, but these are a few of the issues I find interesting as well as disturbing:
• Why is there an obvious ‘swing’ to conservative politics, not just in America but in many countries in the west such as Britain ala Brexit, Germany, Austria, even Australia with One Nation garnering four Senate seats et al. I do not accept notions of left and right; suffice to say I prefer to define the ‘swing’ as a less compassionate, less humane, less multicultural and less global perspective by millions of people in the west. This conservatism, albeit of an extreme and egocentric nature, echoes chillingly with the ascent of Hitler in Germany in the 1930s… but why do so many people ‘swing’ in the conservative direction rather than for a more embracing and richer tapestry of experience with diverse peoples from all countries within their own midst? Is it Fear of difference? Hate of difference? Is there a sense of safety and/or security in sameness, even if that sameness is but a veneer, facade or camouflage for other things behind the image? Why does it seem a nationalistic patriotic fervour transcends individuality and uniqueness of us all?
• Why did 33 per cent of Latinos vote for Trump when he so loudly and vehemently decried their heritage? What the fuck is that all about? I just can’t fathom it.
• Many pundits seem to be deluded about ‘a college’ education as many people with credentials in formal education voted for Trump too. What does a ‘college’ education actually mean in terms of understanding politics and the game intrinsic to it? One Australian commentator today claimed Trump’s victory was a “triumph of ignorance over reason”, but ignorance about what? Politics? The world? Economics? Race? Gender? Even dare I suggest the truth not just about Trump, but about Clinton and the way the world operates? And if it IS a triumph of ignorance over reason, why? Maybe it’s true that ignorance is bliss, with many people simply enamoured of the passionate oratory irrespective of what’s being articulated. Do they even ’hear’ what’s really being said? Believed? The power of oratory has been well-documented; it is indeed a frightening scenario that flaming passion for a nationalistic ideology triumphs over rational and considered thought and reflection.. I don’t think it’s ignorance per se, but if it is partly about that too, people ‘choose’, maybe unconsciously, to stay ignorant. Why is that the preferred ‘reality’? Easier? Less troubling? Less problematic? What I do sadly consider is that people are indifferent, rather than ignorant, to sexist, racist and derogatory and discriminating attitudes to others who are not part of their acceptable social milieu. They simply don’t care about others that much if at all, indeed, what matters far more significantly to them is having a job that can put a roof over their head, food on their table and offer some sort of livable lifestyle. It seems these were key priorities in determining how millions voted, particularly in states such as Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Clinton and her team failed to understand that values that are non-racist, non-sexist and non-discriminatory are actually irrelevant if you don’t have the basics such as somewhere ‘decent’ to live and enough to eat. High moral and humane principles and integrity don’t enter into people’s frame of reference if they can’t stay alive with enough food et al. The price I’ve paid in my own life for adhering to many of mine has been poverty, starvation and isolation. It was a similar story in some ways in Germany in the late 20s and early 30s that catapulted Hitler to become Chancellor… it’s not just unemployment per se, but what employment and how much you earn and even more significant for me, who is the boss? these are frightening echoes of a past where the widening and increasing gap between the haves and have-nots render libertarian attitudes superfluous to survival. Looking for ‘scapegoats’ becomes important in shaping people’s attitudes to apportioning blame instead of looking at the structural institutional and governmental practices in its society at large to consider reform to reduce the inequities. ‘Hating’ the other who seems to have more, indeed, even too much, appropo of the elite establishment figure of Clinton, only exacerbates this huge gulf. Paradoxically, that hate is not just for Clinton and her political team, but others including the multicultural and sexually diverse libertarian thinkers who do put values ahead of pure economic self-interest. They sadly lost and that’s one of the most alarming outcomes of the vote.
• Another fascinating conundrum about the election is the high voter turnout with 140 million Americans voting, I read it was a record turnout, at a time when analysts in the west write about increasing mistrust and discontent with politicians, they wanted to ‘vote’ rather than not. Moreover, given that many Americans also voiced their disapproval for both Trump and Clinton, they went and voted. The contradictions are incredible to make sense of…In one perspective, it would seem more logical that if you disliked both candidates as well as not trusting them, you would abstain from casting a vote. In America, you have that choice. So why did so many vote?
• How the journalists in America and here too got the result so wrong raises more pertinent questions about why? What bubble do they live in? Their own world and are they as prone to ignorance as the people they are criticising? Who have they been talking to and listening to? What have they been thinking about and based on what? Reality or delusion?
• Why was the Clinton camp so deluded too? It was said last night by some American political commentators that they were so sure they were going to win they were complacent about ‘campaigning’ in non-urban areas…. didn’t bother it seems… so where did they get their information from? Why were they so convinced of victory? Naive, idealistic or simply political fools playing politics without being politic?
• Another stat mentioned before the election was that in a poll of Americans (no demographics offered) who were asked: did they think they were better off or worse off now than 50 years ago, 61 per cent of potential Clinton voters said they were better off, while 80 per cent of Trump voters said they were worse off…how was that measured? Economically? Socially? What was the basis of their belief?
• Another apparent contradiction is that Obama’s approval rating as he prepares to depart the presidency is at its highest while Americans voted for the seeming antithesis of what Obama claims to represent… how is that explained? I’ve oft conjectured that virtually all countries, or those that I’ve lived in, are full of contradictions on a multiplicity of levels; is it that America gave its first black man an opportunity but denied that to a woman because well, we’ve done our bit for racism, sexism can wait…? Is that far too simplistic?
• Was Hillary playing the gender card another manifestation of her ignorance and a reflection of how out of touch she was with the American people? Maybe the reality is, not just for men but millions of women, too, as actor Susan Sarandon explained on TV in Britain a few days ago: “I don’t vote with my vagina!” Maybe Hillary’s brains are in her cunt too often?
• Finally, Trump’s stance as an individual who ‘made’ it rich and in the big time, without the Establishment and Elites supporting him, seems to register loud and clear with millions… nationalism with an implicit message to be bold in one’s own life… something of an enigma to unravel???
• Trump’s stance about being sick of ‘political correctness’ appealed to me too… and the people voted for him as a man who ‘bucked’ the system only to win the highest ‘political’ office in the land without any experience in the political domain… it all smacks of politics with a new agenda… correctness being anything socially incorrect… He was the ‘correct’ choice for being incorrect.. or am I just playing with semantics? I find it intriguing.. I’m interested in answers from anyone who may read this..
• One last one I just thought of: Trump, condemned as ‘sexist, a sex predator, misogynist et al had a female campaign manager who got him into the White House… what’s her spin on Trump’s supposed sexism? .
Another thing I add is about what democracy is all about.. certainly, as representative of Americans who voted for Trump it is a win for democracy as I’ve understood it; a people’s representative democracy that on one level is a reason for celebration. But what about the values and attitudes reflected in the outcome? What do these count for? Do they matter and if it’s a win for democracy, how significant is the loss of liberty and freedom to be who you want to be and live where you want to live without fear of abuse, both physically and psychologically? Do we, should we, re-examine exactly what democracy actually means and how important it is in inculcating libertarian values and engendering freedom, albeit even relatively? It again raises what I mentioned previously that basic needs such as shelter, food and sustenance are paramount in our world’s political landscape. Money is at the base of it all.