Stone Deaf

If you listen to yourself — or your favourite TV shows or radio or celebrities — speak all day every day, telling you the same old stuff time after time, you eventually go deaf to anything different. That’s what happened in the US over the last few years, to both sides of the political divide.

The Clinton-Obama “liberals” listen to the major networks and read the bi-coastal papers, many with a leftist tendency, and assume everyone is listening to and reading the same thing and therefore everyone is, most importantly, making the same judgements based on those same things: Racism is inherently bad; sexual “equality” is invariably valuable; religious fanaticism always leads to the wrong conclusions; moderation is always a winning strategy.  (I could add something about economic egalitarianism, but “liberals” don’t actually believe in that which is why so many are so rich).

The rest of the country –those huge splotches of red across the electoral map — simply does not believe many of those things. In fact, racism and religious intolerance, for example, are seen as positive virtues by tens of millions  of the population of what is a deeply conservative nation. They listen to their own TV and radio stations, their own celebrities, read their own Drudge and Breibart reports, and are influenced by the pastors of their various churches.

The very nature of this great divide is viewed differently, too, by each side. Trumpland sees the “liberals” and their beliefs as the product of a snobbish elitism supported by unfair regulation, while those with a Clintonesque bent see the others as uneducated and deplorable. Neither side really sees any chance of changing (as opposed to controlling) many of the others — that’s why there are solid blocks of red and blue States that no-one even bothers to challenge for.

As an anarchist, many of my social and fiscal views tend leftish: I believe in equal rights and opportunities for all individuals regardless of any identifiable characteristic; I believe in strictly limited pools of private capital; I believe in personal responsibility. Racism, homophobia, sexism, poverty are deeply evil in my opinion. But those last words are the key: “in my opinion”.

Unlike the arrogant we-know-best “liberals” who are protesting on the streets against what the electorate decided (and unlike the arrogant Trumpists who would be doing the same thing if their guy had lost), I understand that just because I believe something does not necessarily make it true; that even uneducated deplorable Trumpist white supremacists have a right to their opinion and, if they get enough votes in this system, they get to have their way.

 

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