This Isn’t Working
umair haque

I was out with a group of friends and acquaintances last night and when contemporary political issues were discussed, I was struck again by how many people tend to focus on symptoms and leave out the causes. It’s a big problem in journalism and leads to endless articles about Trump’s offensive antics and who he said what to the night before…what’s rarely discussed is why Trump is popular with working white working class Americans…and why now?

That would lead to an uncomfortable (for some anyway) discussion about reality. Such as…capitalism splitting off from democracy as elected representatives in nation states become increasingly impotent when it comes to acting in the interests of the people. If it comes down to an issue of citizens vs corporations or banks, the citizens lose every time. Politicians in all the major parties in all Western countries have decided it’s in their interest to serve the owners of global capital rather than their constituents. The trappings of democracy still exist, but it’s nothing more than a Potemkin village.

Along with democratic capitalism transforming into a techno oligarchy, income inequality is growing by leaps and bounds and this trend shows no sign of slowing down, let alone reversing. The cost of living in major cities is skyrocketing and becoming increasingly unaffordable for locals. The decimation of the manufacturing industry across the West (Germany being a noteworthy exception) has lead to the disappearance of good paying blue collar jobs and left large swaths of people in poverty with very uncertain future prospects an no change on the horizon. But the white American working class gets no sympathy from East Coast liberals…quiet the opposite. They are often portrayed as “white trash”, hillbillies etc. and are mercilessly mocked and ridiculed. Musa al-Gharbi wrote a good piece about this called Progressives: It’s Time To Stop Patronizing White People.

Oddly enough, these things are never discussed by the mainstream media. Neither is the not-so-new phenomenon of widespread economic uncertainty leading to a rise in xenophobia and racism and to the emergence of a demagogue strongman who offers up convenient scapegoats upon which the masses can blame the problems of the day. Said strongman makes promises to “take back” the nation and “restore its greatness”. But let’s just pretend it’s crazy and/or stupid voters who are to blame for all this. Nothing to do with economic reality for the non-privileged of course.

The rise of Trump is just one example of the mainstream media, and people who (over)rely on it for information, to look at symptoms in isolation. It’s pervasive. And it’s purpose is to uphold the delusion that the West is best…that Western civilization is beyond reproach and perfect. That nothing bad that happens in the West is actually its fault. It’s always somebody else’s fault….usually in nations that get threatened with “regime change” on a regular basis. Simply put, the unspoken rule is “don’t criticize the system beyond a certain point”. The cause for that particular symptom should be obvious.

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