The left have lost so, so much. We haven’t just lost to the right, we’ve lost to men we’d consider shooting in the face if we were alone with them to save humanity. Through his dismissal of climate change, basic human rights and reality, Trump puts the future of mankind as we know it in danger. So, I think it’s time for the left to stop worrying about looking senile and start saving ourselves.
The left is really held back by a concern with looking ignorant and oblivious, caught out by boring arguments like “ah, but the right think they’re making the world a better place too!”. At this point, the facist extremes of the right know exactly what they’re doing. The Daily Show has collected together nicely clips of Trump talking plainly about his lying, and his empty words. He admits only claiming the system was rigged when he was losing, and that now he’s won he does’t care. He doesn’t care about his promise to put Clinton in jail. He doesn’t really care about “drain the swamp”. When anti-abortion legislators haven’t thought about why women might want abortions, they are not powered by wanting to make the world a better place, they are powered on by making the world their world. They know that they’re getting to where they want to go, whatever it takes.
Imagine if the left were like that. Imagine if the left were so angry and pumped up about the fear stirring within people of colour, gays and lesbians, women and the disabled, that they’d do whatever it takes to make them feel safe and be safe. Imagine if, like the republicans were over Clinton’s inconsequential email “scandal”, we were uncontrollably outraged by the intrusion of Russian hackers and influence in the American election and the republicans were too worried about being accused of being scared and unfair to stop us demanding a re-count. Imagine if, like the right-wing press publishing the details of judges involved in Brexit-altering court cases, we actually called Farage nasty for his disrespect and taunting of the widow of Jo Cox, murdered by a man high on Farage’s very own politics and then ignored in a speech by Farage the morning after the referendum. What if we demanded that racist murderers don’t make massive decisions for this country? Who cares if it’s a bit overboard, if it gets you to where you want to be? If it avoids a spike in racist hate crimes?
We are paralysed by this fear of ‘being just as bad as them’. But the permissibility of actions depends on the intentions and context behind them. Considering we have the feminists, I find it odd that we’ve forgotten this. A woman hitting a man and a man hitting a woman are two completely different things. To be scared of being accused of being an ‘enemy of democracy’ or ‘hypocritical’, to the extent that we don’t fight our political battles with as much ferocity as we should, portrays not only a self-absorbed pretentiousness but a lack of faith in science and fact. We don’t need to fester in the post-truth nature of the current political world, that’s Trump, Farage and Putin’s game. So, actually, we would be just as bad as them if we allow facts not to stand for anything anymore, and prioritise image instead.
We have the statistics that show us people are suffering in poverty and discrimination, and – just as if not more importantly – the wisdom to know what will help them. We just need the fearlessness to make some change and stand by ourselves. Our ignorance would truly be shown in an apocalypic image of our human race as one civilisation, ground up and in ashes, struggling from day to day, thanks to the actions of one man making his friends rich and acting on principles he found attractive because they were manly and self-serving. Atrocities we all made sure to say “Never again” about, happening again and again and again. Aliens will study us and ask “How did they ever end up with a system where one man could ruin everything for 7 billion others?”. This is the ignorance we should be scared of, not of being a ‘bleeding heart’, a ‘sore loser’ or ‘unbiased’. We shouldn’t let the pressures of being mature stop us doing what needs to be done.
Republicans are not thanking ‘2016’ for all their successes this year, looking around at their mates with surprised grins and their thumbs up, saying ‘2016 was just a great year’ and that they wish it would never end. They’re dismantling independent ethics committees to make 2017 a good year for them too. We need to stop blaming ‘2016’. If love really trumps hate then that will be conveyed in our actions, a mantra will not do the work.
“Those who love peace must learn to organise as effectively as those who love war”
– Martin Luther King Jr.