A guide for bad guys who happen to win
Bad guys don’t normally win and, this may surprise you, but they don’t quite know what to do afterwards anymore than the good guys who’ve lost. Whether it’s Brexit or Trump, the strategy of those who have unwittingly found themselves the victors is riddled with dogma, false dichotomies and confused hypocrisy.
So I thought I’d knock together a compendium of propositions and quotes which I’ve been presented with since Brexit and that have surfaced again after Trump’s victory. Good guy or bad guy, I hope it helps.
“The people have voted. Don’t you like democracy? Why do you have contempt for democracy?”
I love democracy. I engage in it all the time. In fact, I engage in it not just when I vote, but also afterwards if I don’t like how other people voted, just like Brexiteers/Trump voters used to do till they got their way. If I were against democracy, I’d try to subvert the decision and prevent it from happening. I’m not doing that. But I will damn well use my democratic freedom of expression to bitch and moan about it.
What the bad guys misunderstand is the difference between a democratic decision and a correct decision. “Oh, but every democratic decision is the right decision, you fucking DICTATOR!”, I hear you say. Well that’s bollocks, not least because normally when people have made a democratic decision, we ask them again in four years just to check they were happy with it. We don’t all vote, pick a government, and leave it there for eternity. If the democratic decision was always the right decision, we’d only ever need one election.
I have other examples, but I refuse to Godwin. This time.
“We all need to come together/You need to put up or shut up/You need to make the best of it.”
Yes, people who spent forty years refusing to make the best of it, refusing to come together and refusing to shut up now think that everybody else should. I don’t need to dwell too much on this, but if the hypocrisy angle isn’t enough, it’s important to remember that in both Brexit and Trump, nobody was promised something they’d need to “make the best of”. They were promised the moon on a fucking stick. Leave voters were promised £350m a week for the NHS, Trump voters were promised that it would take merely their mark next to the GOP candidate to “Make America Great Again”. Why should we need to pull together? If people promise a fucking unicorn, it’s not the job of those of us who don’t believe in unicorns to deliver the fucking unicorn.
It’s also important to remember that those now crying for unity comprise of groups whose raison d’être was separatism and disunity.
“You need to ask yourself why people voted how they did.”
This is a bizarre one, because it attempts to absolve individuals of democratic responsibility (which, in itself, is undemocratic — take note bad guys!) and suggests that those to blame are everyone *but* the people that voted for that result.
Democracy has two key enshrined principles. One: The people must have the right to choose how they are governed. Two: The people must take responsibility for that choice. Remainers are as guilty of this as Leavers — passing around the suggestion that the referendum wasn’t democratic because a) we don’t count the people who abstained (which we never do because, you know, they abstained) and b) one side told lies (and that’s a new thing in politics, apparently). Whereas Leavers seem to think the blame should be passed along to those horrible elitists who live in London, sip on some unpronounceable German wine (it’s said like “reez-ling”, if you wanted to know) and dip their artisan bread in kale hummus.
Only one person is responsible for their vote and that is the person who cast it. Which leads me onto…
“Your attitude is why people voted this way.”
This is my favourite. It has been said to me not just over Brexit, but on Trump too. So I concede it. The reason so many people voted for Trump was because of me. All those millions of people saw my contempt for them and thought, fuck looking at the candidates and their policies, that unimportant douche in Britain thinks we’re idiots. Let’s show him!
Let me be unequivocal. If you voted a particular way not because of the merits of the decision, but because somebody upset you, you’re an idiot. If you took a major decision on governance based on how people made you feel, you deserve to be sneered at. This normally leads to…
“You won’t convince people by calling them racist/idiots/racist idiots.”
There’s some truth in this, but also a lot of bullshit. Civil rights didn’t happen because people were nice. Rosa Parks didn’t sit at the back of the bus silently hoping good would prevail. In fact, civil rights progressed because people fought back. Racism only shrank back under its rock once it became socially shameful to be racist (at least to an extent anyway — racism is still alive and well).
The truth is a bit more complex — a number of people dislike immigrants until they live with them. The areas of the country that tend to vote UKIP because they’re scared of immigration tend to be those that don’t have many immigrants. This suggests that there are a significant number of people who change their mind once they realise immigrants aren’t the monsters the Daily Mail say they are.
That being said, actual racists can take a running jump — I don’t need to appease them, pander to them, or even like them and those so-called “progressive” politicians who enthusiastically engage in Farage-felching should be ashamed of themselves.