Harsh, but chillingly true. We need to wake up and smell the BS…
I used to vote with my conscience. Now I vote with my allies.
Like many young white progressives, I was a vocal Bernie supporter during the primaries. I hated Hillary the war criminal, and abhorred the idea of being forced to press the button for her. Back in 2000, I voted for Ralph Nader. Sure, his chances of actually winning were less than zero, but hey, I voted with my conscience.
My conscience has since learned to embrace empathy, pragmatism, and folks who don’t look like me. My conscience is also 110% clear in voting for Hillary, and the key factor in my change of heart is the constant battle to check my own white privilege.
I saw the writing on the wall watching Bernie speak at a packed rally in St. Paul. The “political revolution” was in full swing, and the rapt audience waxed ecstatic about the electricity in…
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Hi John this is interesting. As I said in my reply to your recent message, I am still coming to terms with Brexit. I believe there a lot of similarities in what led to the dreadful result of the EU referendum and what has led people to support Trump. Once I recovered from the surprise and shock of the UK’s decision I set about researching why people voted ‘out’. Both sides in the campaign lied and/or exaggerated but that apart it seems there is a significant section of UK society that feels ‘left behind’. Generally older, male and blue collar their traditional occupations (mining, steel, heavy industry) have all but disappeared. They feel they have lost their place in society and their communities have been left to decline. Even if they and their children get service sector work they can’t feel pride in it. The gap between them and the progressive, pluralist multi culture grows wider daily. Its been happening over decades but the EU referendum gave them a chance to exercise a protest vote. They genuinely believed that the clock could be turned back to the 1970s.
This morning I was chatting on line to a young Texan woman. I asked her what she thought of Hillary as next President. She said she really hoped that won’t happen. She preferred Trump she told me because he’s promised to do the right things. I asked if she thought he could deliver. ‘Oh yes he’s a successful billionaire, he’ll know what to do’. Didn’t he inherit his business and hasn’t he gone bust a couple of times?
She agreed the former knew nothing of the latter. Her basic idea was you can’t trust politicians and he’s not so he must be better. When I pointed out he manufactures in China & is generally rude to everyone, racist, sexist etc. she agreed but felt he couldn’t make things any worse.
I know this is only a sample of 1 and in Texas but I think it serves to illustrate the problem. This links to an article you might find interesting ( https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/aug/02/donald-trump-supporters-parents-bernie-sanders-supporter-son-political-differences) In the UK sadly its those who are desperate to turn back the clock who will suffer most as Brexit unfolds. Its difficult to explain that the world has moved on especially when you have the likes of Trump and Boris Johnson trying to further their own personal positions regardless of the rest of us. Hillary and her supporters need to show understanding of and empathy with the disenchanted whilst demonstrating that Trump could never deliver what they hope for. The intellectual superiority and patronising attitude lost the referendum for the Remain campaign in Britain. I only hope Hillary does better. If not at least you can do it all again in 4 years. Brexit will be with us for decades and that is truly tragic.
Yes, very interesting analysis of the Brexit… it’s very hard to understand from a US perspective, so thanks for this. If you don’t mind, I might quote a bit of what you’ve said here in a blog post. I could do it anonymously or with you credited, as you prefer. Or not at all! It is helpful to have a larger view from a unique perspective like yours… maybe some of my (very few) readers would appreciate it! I was in a conversation in line in a hotel with an American guy who had just returned from working in UK a while, and the news mentioned something about Brexit, I made a comment about I couldn’t really believe they did it, and he was all “yeah, best thing ever, people hate the UK government… etc etc…” and wouldn’t even listen to my thoughts on it, just asked, ‘how much time have you spent there?’ like he should know better since he had been there. But he had no idea that most people were really shocked at it, or that it could be negative for the country, and the world even. I’ll check out your link here… Thanks! Great hearing from you!
Glad you liked the article. Here’s another on Brexit which might also interest you. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/05/peers-brakes-brexit-doing-our-job
As for the guy you met well he’s just reflecting what he encountered. I felt that ‘leave’ voters must be stupid at first but its way more complicated than that. The issue should never have been put to a referendum because the public just wasn’t properly informed. There was a lot of talk about cutting immigration which appeared racist. In some cases it was and at first I thought it must be the only motive because migrants from the EU go to work and pay their taxes. 1 in 10 Drs is from the EU for example. So why want them out when you really need them? However years of underinvestment in Health, Education and housing has put a huge strain on resources. People were led to believe that if the migrants all went home and they got back the money that is paid to the EU the UK would be much better off. Unfortunately they were lied to both about migration, which will need to continue in some form or other, and the money which will still have to be paid to get access to the Free Market. Even if the UK opts out of the Free Market the loss of grants and subsidies from the UK plus the cost of propping up the economy will most likely mean a net loss.
Just yesterday a farming company in Lincolnshire (huge ‘out’ voters) said that if it could not hire migrant workers it would move all its production overseas.
So it seems a mess and no one will get what they wanted.
I don’t know about fascism but there is a horrible element of Nationalism and GREAT Britain going it alone which scares me. A bit like Trump making ‘America great again’ .
I do think that Trumps appeal to those left behind is similar to the rise of UKIP in the UK. Its too easy to say ‘tough the world has moved on’ manufacturing isn’t coming back from China anytime soon. Something has to be done for the genuine concerns of these people. Building walls across the English Channel and the Mexican border might sound attractive to some but can never be the answer.
Great if you want to blog about this, feel free to quote me in any way that seems appropriate.
Very enlightening. Quite a bit of that is beyond my understanding of the socio/economic and political realities of UK, but I get the main idea. Good to know it’s not a done deal, and that measured voices are speaking up. Thanks for this, and your astute comments! I will blog on this and borrow some of your ideas – with credit – soon. Thanks! As I may have told you, we have British friends who lived here, now live in Tennessee – good working class folks – but haven’t heard much from them on Brexit – tho their son, who naturalized and works for some American corp., is all for it.
Just watched a news segment on Trump. Elderly ladies saying how much he understands ordinary people! On Brexit basically if u have nothing to lose its seems ok ( until you do the research ) not so good if you understand and value what the EU provides. We’ll see how it plays out.
The Guardian article is great! I do understand the anger and frustration, and I was a big Sanders supporter, but Trump is just playing it for the authoritarian swag… people don’t take the fascist threat seriously here, but it’s real. We’re in that same state of mind that led post-WWI Germany and Italy to embrace it.