This Week in the Narrative: Protesting Democracy
“There is a tradition in this country, in fact one of the prides of this country is the peaceful transition of power, and that no matter how hard fought a campaign is, that at the end of the campaign the loser concedes to the winner.” –Chris Wallace
It was a fundamental pillar of the mainstream media narrative during the 2016 presidential election to question whether Donald Trump, and by association his supporters, would accept the results of what was to be their inevitable defeat.
The culmination of this narrative came during the third presidential debate in the curiously expansive soliloquy by moderator Chris Wallace seen above. The implications were overt; even in a situation with a whiff (or full-blown stench) of electoral fraud, challenging the results was, at best, un-American — at worst, treasonous.
Evidently, however, reports of Trump’s demise were greatly exaggerated. The impregnable Clinton political machine was, shockingly, defeated, and Donald Trump, not Hillary Clinton, will be the next President of the United States.
In an unexpected twist, it is not Trump supporters but those of Hillary Clinton who have taken to the streets to protest the election results, a situation which has led to a rapid reorganization of what had been an ironclad narrative. The mainstream media, far from presenting the protesters as treasonous, instead paint a picture of heroism, of people who nobly want to, in the words of CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, “express their worry that Trump will trample their rights.”
One wonders, had the situation been reversed — had it been defeated Trump supporters in the streets chanting “Not my President” or “We reject the President-elect” and burning effigies of Hillary Clinton — how fast this same media and the people currently protesting would have been to call for the National Guard to quell a fascist uprising.
It is interesting to note that the people now protesting the results of a democratic election, repudiating the system a President Trump would purportedly impose, have, by and large, been silent as the machinations of this very system have flowered around them.
Many did not act against the Dakota Access Pipeline, or in support of Black Lives Matter. They did not fight as a surveillance state was constructed around them by Republicans and Democrats alike. Nor did they reject the removal of universal due process or ask why Guantanamo Bay was still operating. They did not take to the streets when WikiLeaks exposed the inherent corruption and fraudulence of the American political system and they did not stand up as their country waged illegal and internationally condemned wars across the globe.
It is a cruel irony and a testament to the effectiveness of narrative manipulation that in the face of the erosion of democratic institutions and American ideals the populace only awakens, in effect, to protest against democracy itself.
The bad news is that this populace is having its energy and engagement, its hopes and fears, used as part of a corporate media narrative designed to reject leadership from all but the staunchest defenders of establishment power.
The good news is that much of the system Trump is said to be bringing already exists. It is simply a matter of directing the energy and anger now seen in so many streets across America away from the black hole of false narrative and towards the tangible.
Stop “Trump?” Absolutely. But not through fighting an idea, a myth, a fear. Fight what already exists.
“There is no one left; none but all of us.” — S.S. McClure