Tuesday, 24 January 2017
Its going to be a long four years: The extent of dissent
Well the inauguration is over its official now, Trump is President with a capital P.
So now what?
Well if you are one of those frustrated liberals (like some of my friends) you will be spamming peoples inboxes with faux outrage over every little things Trump will and will not do.
Immediately in the wake of the inauguration and the spectacle of Trumps newly minted press secretary bald faced lying about the actual number that turned out my inbox began to fill with what I have termed "click-link" emails which are basically an email where someone sends nothing but a link to article or post and some sort of one line comment in the title which boils down to "Can you believe this? I am so mad!".
Now this was bad enough in the lead up to the election, as every time Trump got past another hurdle in his supposedly impossible rise to the oval office my inbox would suddenly swell grotesquely with emails of this kind as my friends either were unable to too lazy to express their own outrage and so had to resort to others to do it for them.
Worse it was only and ever Trump, no matter what. No anger about the environment, the housing hernia or anything political in their own country, nothing but a narrow focus on Trump and the election in the US.
These are people who have been boiling with impotent rage since late November last year and now cant take it no more and for that matter neither can I.
So I ended up, ignoring one of the cardinal rules of the internet (don't feed the trolls) and bit back, lambasting them for being unable to actually say anything useful about the situation themselves and doing nothing but sending out link and link after link to mostly highly partisan news media articles about Trump but never doing the same about other political issues, or any other issue, in the US or even their own country.
They did not take it well but then few people do when when their hypocritical behavior is pointed out.
I got called a Trump supporter (which I am not), a political nihilist (which I am not) and attacked with the new buzz phrase "false equivalency" because I am not down with their narrative that Trump is just pure evil waiting to happen and that saintly Obama can do (and did) no wrong.
So I fired back and it went all down hill from there.
I wont bore you with the details but if you have ever had an argument with someone whose position is so partisan or one sided that anything you say which deviates from their narrative is heresy to their ears then you know what came next.
So was it worth antagonizing my friends over their very blinkered political views? Was it worth wading into a debate that I knew that I was never going to win with people that I socialize with. Was it worth it to finally snap after tolerating months of one sided partisan gibberish?
You bet your sweet Fanny Adams it was!
It was worth it because there is no excuse for such behavior.
Remember the Truthers and the Birthers of Obama's eight years in office, remember how they could just not let go, how they could not accept something and were prepared to go to any length to make a point, no matter how absurd it became?
Well it was conservatives back then and it looks like its the liberals turn now and the sheer bloody minded frenzy of the partisan position coupled with the inability to actually articulate a real argument, knee jerk rage on a narrow range of issues (despite the world being full of things much closer to home to actually get riled about) coupled with the predetermined decision that Trump will be nothing but bad news all over smacks of people being manipulated (ignorantly or otherwise) for an agenda that is not even really their own.
And its become very clear that the next four years will be full of this, lots of pissing and moaning about this one thing but very little about anything else. This will be the cause celeb, the flag to rally around and enforce a restrictive and one sided "truth" on people which is as biased as anything that will come out of the White House.
The fact that US politics can so infect minds so far removed from it is less a sign of such a narratives potency but its desperation, specially when its articulated (badly) by people whose extent of political involvement and action is nothing more than spamming media links via email.
This is the circling of the wagons of the mostly discredited liberal agenda of the late 20th century (think Tony Blair and Andrew Little) in a desperate maneuver to try and regain the currency and vitality of the debate but just like they were unable to see the sheer momentum of the backlash against their invalidated position neither can they see that the tide has turned and they are now the ones on the outside.
This is not to say that there is no potency in a liberal stance or a genuine reason to take issue with Trump if he turns out to be a rotten president but when well educated, liberal minded, highly paid people can not raise a verbal ruckus about anything else but the election of a US president and studious ignore all the issues burning bright in their own country, and will never do anything about them, I have to call bovine droppings on that and them.
Such behavior does nothing to solve the situation and is the hollow posturing of faux rebellion (the kind where aged pop stars decide that blowing up the white house is an acceptable things to say) and will never amount to anything*.
These are people who are safe in the comfort of their delusions and absolutely refuse to be shaken out of their self satisfied stance.
And in the end its not really about Trump or any president, its about members of a smug elite (be it right or left) freaked and upset that their "reality" has been breached and something unpleasant is leaking in.
Call it the "truth" or "alternate facts" but the warm, fuzzy and highly sanitized reality that they have been living in is no longer fit for habitation and their only response is to limply echo the words of others while wallowing in fake rage.
Well if that's their agenda for the next four years and the extent of their dissent (if you really think it can be called that) then its going to be a long four years, not because of anything Trump does (I lost my political innocence a long time ago under National in the 90s and Dubya in the 00s) but because I will be fighting it every step of the way.
And it reminds me of that supposed** quote by Winston Churchill that "if your not a liberal in your 20s you have no heart, if your not a conservative in your 40s you have no brain".
If the extent of your dissent is limited to vague and insubstantial posturing within a narrow purview then its going to be a tough four (and maybe eight) years.
You have been warned.
And this applies to faux conservatives as well as liberals, in fact it applies to anyone who keeps cant really get it up to go out and actually do something about the problems in the world but will sit comfortably in their homes and nag their friends via spam.
Go out and join a political party or a community group, get involved, don't just attend a protest and go home, sign up for the long haul, get an opinion of your own and defend it for all it (and you) are worth, discuss the issues (maybe start a blog) and keep on doing it till you get the change you want.
Realize also that there are times when its not enough just to voice dissent sometimes you have to act it out as well and that is not ever an easy thing.
But most of all ask yourself what is the extent of your dissent and if it is enough?
*-I could go off into some bourgeois critique here but Marx said it much better than me so go read him or Wages of Rebellion by Chris Hedges to get a far better articulation on the overall position than I could ever give.
**-Supposed because I have heard people saying that he actually never said it but if not its still a good quote. If anyone knows if its genuine or not let me know.