With threats of rape and violent protest, the Left look to be sinking to behaviour far worse than that which they have vowed to oppose from the Right.
With the result of the US Presidential election now carved into the pages of history, we need to address our reactionary behaviour, for anti-Trump protesters are quickly becoming exactly what they have vowed to fight against.
Let’s take a couple of examples. Following President-elect Trump’s victory, a wave of demonstrations began in earnest across the United States. While many have been peaceful and respectful, some have been marred by vandalism, arson, and violence.
Despite Trump’s claims of it being “unfair” or conspiracy theories of the protesters being on Clinton or Obama’s payroll, there is nothing wrong with walking the avenue of protest, and it’s important that we do; Edmund Burke famously said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”; but participating in things that represent the antithesis of what you stand for is not only dangerous, it’s straight out ludicrous.
We need to remember what we actually stand for, not what we’re marching to stop. The greatest weapon you can give those who oppose you is your own hypocrisy.
Attacks have been made against the First Lady-in-waiting, Melania Trump, with many from major news outlets, to celebrities, to Twitter trolls turning to “slut-shaming” her.
So, the same people that rightly attacked Trump for his history of misogyny and sexism are responding with the same behaviour directed toward his wife.
We need to take a step back and think about why we didn’t want Trump in the first place. I, of course, can’t speak for everyone, but like me, many people took issue with his deplorable attitude towards women. The media certainly did, as did the Democrats. The simple fact is, you can’t chastise him for this and in the same breath slut-shame his wife. The people that believe in the type of misogyny that Trump has espoused are looking for the metaphorical blood in the water represented by this type of hypocrisy.
Also on The Big Smoke
- The Masked Lib: Pauline Hanson and the comeback the Left enabled
- The Masked Liberal: Apathy towards pollies will bring icky Trump
- All opposed: The hypocrisy of those who fight Trump
- A note to the apathetic: Those who sat idly, must now walk against Trump
This type of extremism from the Left is just as dangerous as the extremism from the Right. In fact, it’s worse, because those of us that do fall a little more to the Left rely on the fact that we can bring about change without this type of bigoted, violent language and behaviour. Moreover, as the election campaign taught us, from the primary through to the election proper…you can’t trump Trump.
Something missing from proceedings is kept in the recently coined war-cry “Love Trumps Hate”. It does, but actions cast long over our screens don’t support it. All I see is an eye for an eye, fighting hate with hate and ire with ire, which does nothing more than build the bonfire.
The real test will come January 2017: violence eked from angry feet will further embolden the Right as a response to the Left becoming more militant; which, four decades ago in the face of race-riots and Vietnam, manifested in Richard Nixon. Looking at the learned lessons of the past, if the angry Left gets angrier, we’re going to find a voice to unite behind, and when you vote angry, as the President-elect displayed, anything can happen.
It’s not a stretch to imagine a Left-wing totalitarian candidate elected to fight a perceived Right-wing totalitarian threat.
Those of us that fall to the Left rely on the fact that we can bring about change without this bigoted, violent language. Moreover, as the election campaign taught us… you can’t trump Trump.
Their message is sound: the election result is not going to change; throwing all your energy at continuing the divide will accomplish nothing.
Do not, however, confuse unity with congruence. Unity in this context represents accepting the result and going back to focusing on the common goal. Committing to unity doesn’t mean that you can’t continue to question, analyse and even protest things that warrant your opposition.
The disappointment, hopelessness and even fury that we feel should not be wasted. It should drive us to find a constructive way to move forward and ensure that the lessons are truly learned, come the time when the tables turn – to hold those in power accountable for what they do moving forward, rather than what they have threatened to do. Continuing down a path that includes threats of rape, condoning murder, encouraging violence and a general unwillingness to engage in constructive discourse, will only turn us into what we seek to fight, which will lead to a nation split against itself, fighting over the same point, spoken in the same tongue: the language of violence.
DC Protestor “Rape Melania” pic.twitter.com/US2OLTyBDF
— Beck (@thereal_beck) November 13, 2016
One of my favourite scribes of the modern era, Aaron Sorkin, summed it up perfectly in a heartfelt letter written to his daughter after Trump’s victory.
“America didn’t stop being America last night and we didn’t stop being Americans and here’s the thing about Americans: Our darkest days have always – always – been followed by our finest hours.”
The reason that dark times are often followed by light is because those that seek the light use it to guide them. They don’t crawl further into darkness; they fight the battle on home turf, on their own terms.
Love does trump hate. We need to remember what we actually stand for, not what we’re marching to stop.
The greatest weapon you can give those who oppose you is your own hypocrisy. Fighting at the expense of your values means you have lost already.