What worries me is how people responded to Trump’s loss, both in the US and in the rest of the world. I have seen images of people going out on the streets, cheering and chanting, and attacking Trump dolls and such.
There’s also a site “Trump Accountability” that wants to attack Trump supporters.
As I grew up during the Cold War, and I saw the demise of Communism and its dictators, this sort of thing reminds me very much of those days.
The big difference is: the US was not under dictatorship, and although Trump may have lost the elections, a LOT of people voted for him. I suppose this is the result of 4 years of sowing hatred against a president and his politics. And now that Trump is gone, it seems they want to go after his supporters. But for what? It is a democracy, and these people simply cast their democratic vote. That’s how it works. If you start oppressing people with the ‘wrong’ vote, you are actually CREATING a dictatorship, not getting rid of one, oh the irony.
At the time of writing, Trump has received around 71 million votes, and Biden has received around 74 million votes. And that is what troubles me. Are these people serious about persecuting such a large group? There aren’t 71 million fascists, racists, or whatever you think in the US. That just doesn’t make sense at all. Most of these 71 million people are just normal people like you and me. They could be your neighbour, your hair dresser, your plumber, etc.
And that’s where I think things go wrong, badly. As a European, I live in a country that is FAR more leftist than the US. We are at Bernie Sanders level, if that. So theoretically I couldn’t be further removed from Trump/Republican/conservative voters. People who are generally quite religious, pro-life, anti gay-marriage etc. And then they are often patriotic. I’m not even American, let alone a patriot for that country. So in that sense I suppose I have very little if anything in common with these people, and my views are very different.
Nevertheless, I had some interesting talks with some of these people. I recall one discussion where a religious Republican sincerely did not understand how you can value life if you don’t believe in God. That’s interesting, I never even gave that any thought, since I’m not religious, yet I do value life. And I can understand that to them, if God didn’t create life, then they don’t see how life is in any way holy, or however you want to put it. Perhaps it is actually true that non-religious people value life less, who knows?
Thing is, they did make me think about it, and we had a discussion. I suppose my explanation is one of ‘theory of mind’: I know how it feels if I get hurt, and I know that I don’t want to die. So I can understand how that must feel for others as well, so I do not want to do that to them either. Which in some way comes back to what Christians already know: Don’t do unto others what you don’t want done unto you.
But the key here is that we could have this discussion, and we had mutual respect and understanding for our different views.
And I suppose that is also the problem with the people who are now cheering on the Democrat win… or actually Trump’s loss. While as a European, I may be closer to the Democrat political view than the Republican one, this is something that goes COMPLETELY against who I am, and how I want the world to be. I grew up with the value of tolerance and understanding. I suppose political views aren’t everything. I cannot get behind you if I share the basic views, but reject the way in which you actually conduct yourself (which I think is against these very views anyway).
If half of the US cannot tolerate the other half simply for having different ideas on what is best for their country, then that is a recipe for disaster.
Getting back to the Cold War, the song Russians by Sting comes to mind:
Back when this song came out, the Cold War also set up the US against the USSR with lots of propaganda in the media. Not everything you heard or read was true. In this song, Sting makes some very good points. Mostly that Russians are just people like you and me. Their government may have a certain ideology, but most Russians just try to lead their lives and mind their own business, just as we do.
As he says:
“In Europe and America there’s a growing feeling of hysteria”
“There is no monopoly on common sense
On either side of the political fence
We share the same biology, regardless of ideology
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too”
“There’s no such thing as a winnable war
It’s a lie we don’t believe anymore”
I think these lines still contain a lot of truth. There’s hysteria in the US as well now, fueled by the mainstream media and social media, much like in the Cold War back then.
No monopoly on common sense on either side of the political fence. That’s so true. You can’t say the Democrat voters have all the common sense and the Republican voters have none, just based on who won an election.
And indeed, he says “we share the same biology”, that is of course even more true for Democrats vs Republicans than it was for the US vs USSR situation, as both are Americans. They may even be related.
And the most powerful statement: “I hope the Russians love their children too”. Of course he was referring to nuclear war, and mutually assured destruction. But it is very recognizable: Russians are humans too, of course they love their children, they are just like us. And it’s the same with Democrats and Republicans.
So I hope this also remains only a Cold War between Democrats and Republicans, and both sides will accept the results, and try to find ways to come together again, understand and tolerate eachother, and work together for a better world.
Update: Clearly I am not the only one with such concerns. Douglas Murray has also written an article about his concerns of this polarization, division and possible outcomes. I suggest you read it.
More update: Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying also comment on some of these anti-Trump sentiments and actions. And they make a good point about what the REAL left is, or is supposed to be (and as I said, that is also more or less my political position, I am by no means right-wing, certainly not by American standards), and how these far left people have lost the plot.
And another update: James Lindsay, one of the authors of the book Cynical Theories, which I mentioned before, has actually decided to vote for Donald Trump, despite being a liberal rather than a conservative/Republican. He explains in the video below how he sees Wokeness as possibly the biggest threat to the country, and how Biden is unlikely to stop its rise. So at least some people who voted Trump, aren’t actually Trump/Republican/conservative supporters, they just thought the alternative was worse.
And yet another update: Here Jordan B Peterson talks about how liberals and conservatives should listen to eachother, and keep eachother balanced. One side is not necessarily wrong, the other side is not necessarily right. They each have a different focus in life, and they need each other. Ideas may be good or bad depending on the situation in which they are applied. Very much the message I wanted to give. I will probably return to this in more detail in a future post.