One is supposed to begin the new year imbued with optimism, so accept my apologies for the long face and grim tidings. I hear very little debate about about the most pressing issues but many war cries from the new tribalists. Folly, I fear, isn’t marching, it’s galloping
I am pretty sure that Donald Trump was unfazed on hearing that new Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib had promised to “impeach the motherf****r.” She’s the first Palestinian Muslim elected to Congress. She draped herself in the Palestinian flag after winning the Democratic primary last year. She ain’t no friend of the Jews or of Israel. She supports the BDS campaign and also a one-state solution. Goodbye, Israel, a pity about the ensuing slaughter. She was joined when being sworn in by Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour, another piece of work. Weep for the times.
For form’s sake, Tlaib’s comrades dutiful demurred on her language but admired her authenticity. Anything is forgivable, even a likeness of his decapitated head held aloft, if Trump is the target. Two things strike me.
The first is that the times are changing for the worse before our very eyes. Islam is becoming part of the fabric of our societies while Islamic societies are busy marginalising and driving out minorities, particularly Christian ones. This isn’t something which is creeping up all unbeknown. Muslims are populating the West, bringing with them a scriptural guide which has inspired barbarism down the centuries.
The Left’s love-in with Islam is locked-in. But, please, please save us from conservatives who explain that most Muslims are peaceful and moderate. Blind Freddy knows that. However, those of us with our common sense still intact also know that the immutable, irredeemably nasty scripture, wielded by rabble-rousing imams, ever lurks in-waiting to corrupt Muslim minds.
Now I understand and applaud efforts to reach out to Muslims. Once resident, Muslims must be treated as kindly as everyone else. But it is a numbers game. There is far more chance of Enlightenment values being universally shared if those not steeped in them, more particularly, if those whose values are antithetical to them, do not form larger and larger proportions of the population. This is a general proposition, by the way, when it comes to shaping immigration and deciding who should be invited in and who shouldn’t.
Of course, this is silly of me, we all know that bad things don’t really happen. We need to celebrate unlimited diversity and multiculturalism and why not throw in abortion on demand and gay marriage. And, while we are at it, a “Two Minutes Hate” session directed at white men (and white women) is cathartic for the ever-growing victimhood.
The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces with a sledge-hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. (1984)
Trump recently gave press conference with three representatives of border patrol standing behind him. The event was mocked by Joe Scarborough and company on MSNBC because the three guys were bald (which I take personal offence at and am seeking a safe space) and because they were white. “This wall is not a wall, it is a let’s keep America white again.” The only problem: two of the guys were Latino but obviously not unwhite enough for ‘Morning Joe’. In California, a Women’s March was cancelled in December because those participating would have been predominantly white – hang the content of their characters. Just two examples of many.
The second thing that strikes me, also for the worse, is the way enough voters to win the day occupy a policy-free political mind space. At least when it comes to policies which are general in their effect. For example, those critical of Trump as man seem oblivious to the effect his policies have had in producing record low Hispanic and black unemployment. They simply couldn’t care about that. Similarly, Corbyn could well be elected in the UK despite having the kind of socialist policies which have always created unemployment and misery. Shorten is likely to be elected this year despite having taxation and renewable energy policies which are bound to kill jobs.
It’s a fair bet that few voters would specifically vote for fewer jobs. Yet, the relevant policies, which alone tell the tale of job creation, make up very little of the political debate. It is true that tribalism and personal likes and dislikes have always counted in the minds of voters but now they seem to count for everything. It seems likely to be a product of identity politics; of which, of course, targeting despised whites is a part.
If people segment themselves on the basis of their sex, their sexual orientation, their skin colour, their indigenousness, their ethnicity, their religious/cultural affiliations, it lessens the focus on policies which impinge on people across the board. Of course, policies which impinge on particular groups (e.g., the LBGT community) get a run. Forget it otherwise; it’s back to raw emotions, epitomised by Congresswoman Tlaib’s gutter language.
I tuned in to CNN after Trump’s Oval Office address on border security. Leaving aside the visceral hatred of Trump, it was all superficial politics. Had Trump moved the political needle? Not once, did I see an attempt to grapple with the substance of whether more and better physical barriers were required. In fact, the need for physical barriers used to draw support across the aisle – which is why lots of fencing is already in place. But that was when policy had a more prominent place in political contests.
Are there any underlying economic, social or political trends which are promising?