Liberals, get off the streets and do some serious soul-searching
by Eren Egehan Bağış
Dec 02, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Eren Egehan Bağış
Dec 02, 2016 12:00 am
For days, liberals have been on the streets. They have declared their opinion sharply, that Donald J. Trump is "not their president." This whining, lashing out against democracy itself, is futile, a waste of time and dangerous. If they're so upset, they should invest their time looking into how momentous upsets like Brexit and Trump have made waves in the West of late. Their undermining of democracy and free speech, inconsiderately labeling all Trump supporters as misogynistic racists, is the very reason nobody saw Trump coming. They clearly still haven't learned from their shortcomings.
Looking at Trump's change in rhetoric in the few weeks before the election, he was able to speak to disenfranchised voters who were frustrated with bi-partisan establishment politics due to previous administrations. He listened to their worries and used these to mold his campaign, allowing him to cause this "yuge" upset that nobody else could see on the horizon. Trump was able to represent the change that many Americans longed for. The Clinton team simply spoke down to those who had become sick of the same old administrations that would promise change, but rarely deliver. They failed to learn what the people saw as the bigger issues.
The Democrats chose completely and utterly the wrong candidate. They failed to recognize the populist mood that had taken over America, as shown by the popularity of Bernie Sanders and his anti-establishment rhetoric, and instead chose Hillary Clinton, a candidate who embodied the very establishment that so many Americans hate. The Democrats have lost touch with the American people; this is also reflected in the House and the Senate.
A lot of Americans don't like the fact that Trump has been elected. So what should they do? Revolt? No. Now that he has actually been elected, everybody needs to offer him olive branches instead of arrows. As outgoing President Obama said, we must root for his success; even Bernie Sanders has agreed to work with him. Efforts to protest Trump now would not only be futile but would risk dividing the already deeply polarized nation even further. Who are these liberals protesting against? The government? They are demonstrating against their own people, their own people elected Trump. This is actively rubbing salt in the wounds of American society. The animosity among the American people is something that ought not to be exacerbated.
Burning the American flag, or saying that Trump is "not my president," is not conducive to the dialogue that Americans need in order to heal the wounds of this divisive campaign trail. Protesting a democratically elected leader, the day after he is elected, undermines the very basis of democracy. For someone to claim that Trump threatens the nation's democratic foundations, but then riot when he has just been democratically elected, is a rather ambidextrous and hypocritical position to hold.
Liberals' behavior of robotically assigning terms such as stupid or idiotic to the Trump camp is seriously flawed, and it poses an existential threat to the left. Political correctness has gone off the rails. In many communities, the moment one mumbles anything marginally pro-Trump, he or she automatically comes under a social gag order, issued by the liberal Gestapo who will swiftly motion to suppress anything they see as politically incorrect. People have been beaten in public for exercising their right to vote. Universities have even banned many speakers that aren't seen as politically correct. This hampering of free speech is dangerous due to the fact that it halts and suppresses dialogue, inhibiting the left from understanding why people voted Trump; no wonder the polls were so far from the truth.
The left must stop this refusal to listen to people. By actually listening to those who resent "the system," one might gain a better understanding of their grievances. The left could then begin shaping their messages by addressing the struggles of the disenfranchised and those who had lost hope. Instead, many have chosen, rather ironically, to build an impenetrable wall between them and any opposing ideas. By locking themselves away in echo chambers, these self-righteous liberals have relinquished their right to be perplexed at the sight of a Trump victory.
The democratic process has been conducted. Whether every single person likes it or not, Donald J. Trump will be the president of the United States. Western societies must learn to accept the decisions of the electorate, such as Brexit, even if they don't agree with them. The American left must approach President Trump with an open mind in order to ensure that progress is made in these four years. One can also be optimistic about the GOP majority in Congress, knowing that the House and Senate can finally run smoothly. What's done is done, and people must refrain from behavior that would further split the nation. Instead, they should listen to the voices of those who voted for Trump, building the urgently needed dialogue that is necessary to taking a stable America into the future. This dialogue and understanding is crucial to curtailing the rise of far-right populist movements across the world, but mainly in Europe. Brexit should have served as a warning call to liberals, however they refused to listen to those whom they didn't agree with, and instead dismissed them as xenophobic, uneducated, and too old to vote. This de-facto ban on free speech must be lifted if the left is to have any hope of recovery.
* UK-based analyst
About the author
Turkey and international affairs analyst. Graduate of Political Science at Duke University