Trump, Winfrey, Ansari, Gevinson, Bogner: How the Left Silences the Right

Please check out my new book Tikkunim (Corrections) about the broken nature of politics and the world at large, and how to fix what seems shattered.

We live in a world where appearances trump reality. This is particularly true in politics, where visceral outrage about Trump’s character has created a climate where the mainstream media is critical about absolutely everything he does, good or bad. If you support any of Trump’s policies, according to Hollywood and the mainstream media, you are deemed sexist and racist.

Someone without such media problems is Oprah Winfrey. In the week following the Golden Globes, the news anointed Oprah the heir apparent to Donald Trump in 2020, covered a slew of stories about sexual misconduct in Hollywood and scolded Trump about calling third world places shithole countries, creating a lot of opportunities for the left to disguise their fake outrage as virtue. The Golden Globes was about as fun as the funereal garb the women wore and emblematic of a corporate group think culture that has infected American life. Oprah gave it some life and though Seth Meyers couldn’t tell a joke to save his life, he convincingly campaigned for Winfrey and made clear that tolerating Donald Trump was akin to being evil.

On the surface, it is very clear that Oprah is a more virtuous person than Donald Trump. She cares about people and is beloved by all. She would never call El Salvador a shithole. According to Reese Witherspoon, Oprah’s hugs have a mystical healing quality, and by all measures, her speech was the highlight of the evening and a moving treatise to socially redeemable values. It was a compassionate plea for women, that celebrated how far race relations and women’s rights have come in America, while acknowledging how far we still have to go. It was beyond inspiring. The problems start when we begin to examine the meaning of her words, the event itself and the potentially devastating consequences of Oprah or another left-leaning candidate purporting to be virtuous taking office.

Though Oprah’s approval rating has to be about as high as any human in the history of the world, the ease with which people accept her candidacy expresses a latent hypocrisy in the way Donald Trump is perceived by the media that treads the water of perception downstream to the people. Like Donald Trump, Oprah Winfrey is a billionaire populist television star with zero political experience. You can’t anoint someone worthy by virtue of one’s persona and celebrity. Just because Oprah gives you a warm cuddly feeling does not mean she will repair the country. She is a human being and thus as self-interested as anyone else. She cannot wave a magic wand and fix a broken society, and her words and allegiance to the anti-Trump movement suggests she will silence contrasting opinions.

My main problem with Oprah’s speech was the “your truth” slogan that along with “time’s up” was treaded out repeatedly over the course of the event. Two slogans that seem entirely arbitrary and irrefutably positive will and have led to unanticipated negative consequences. The issue with the validity of one’s personal truth, is that “your truth” is just an opinion. It signals a further plunge into a post-truth world where those on the left and right live in two different streams of reality where not even the facts are agreed upon. I hate it to break it to you, but not everyone’s story is worth telling and only when facts matter can society have any debate of merit or have any hope in improving the world.

“Time’s Up,” a seemingly righteous slogan to signal an end to sexual abuse, has become a license to shame and witch hunt anyone who has done something marginally inappropriate and cast them in the same light as Harvey Weinstein level creeps and rapists to the tune of Bill Cosby. Actors like Liam Neeson and Catherine Deneuve have already been slung through the mud for critiquing the movement that has taken on a religious nature. Aziz Ansari and others have been accused of sexual abuse for what one used to call awkwardness.

Echoing the pulse of a time where only those who left deems as deplorable are allowed to disagree with Trump, the #MeToo/Time’sUp movement is above critique. As Aziz Ansari’s anonymous accuser aligns herself with the movement, it is extremely controversial to look at the situation where she regretted giving Aziz oral sex as something other than sexual assault. Though she didn’t stop him, or ask him to stop, he was supposed to read the non-verbal cues for him to stop. Her uncomfortable feeling is somehow Aziz’s fault and his #MeToo pin that rightfully was worn to fight sexual abuse is hypocritical as only perfect people who can read a woman’s non-verbal cues during oral sex are allowed to advocate for ending rape and sexual assault.

Speaking out about the varied nature of these accusations is seen by the left as tantamount to supporting rape. It has become you’re either with us or against us. This is the exact type of thinking that prevents the free exchange of ideas and puts people like me who speak against the consensus opinions of their environment in a stranglehold. If I tell some people, I support Trump more than Hillary, I have to defend myself for two hours against the accusation that I’m racist and hate gay people in a world where according to Greg Popovich, “Anytime you hear somebody say they’re not racist, you know they are.” In a world with two choices for President, somehow the left believes if you chose Trump it means you have to agree with everything he says and every single policy he trots out, though they are largely unable to do the same with Obama. There is no longer nuance, you must take sides. It is no longer acceptable to outline the hypocrisy that under the neoliberal corporatized culture we live in, the film Call Me By Your Name is advocating for sexual assault and by virtue of outlining this, I am not permitted to like the film, which I liked a great deal.

I really enjoyed meeting the prodigal blogger Tavi Gevinson, who incidentally dates one of my best friends, but the meeting expressed just how hard it is to support Trump. It confounded the twenty-one-year-old that someone with good aesthetics and similar taste to hers could support Donald Trump. A reunion with friends turned into to a jetlagged defense of Trump and it became clear that it’s worse than the fact there is one acceptable opinion to have in New York these days. Now if I support Trump, I must support rape and racism. The media’s echo chamber where everything that Trump has ever done is universally unacceptable has made it impossible to present the rational perspective that Trump has done more good than bad. No one on the left is willing to listen.

Please check out my new book Tikkunim (Corrections) about the broken nature of politics and the world at large, and how to fix what seems shattered.

Jesse Bogner is an author and journalist. His memoir and social critique, The Egotist, has been translated into four languages. In 2013, he moved from New York City, where he was born and raised, abandoning a decadent lifestyle chockfull of substance abuse, to study Kabbalah in Israel. His work has been featured in The Daily Caller, The Huffington Post, The Jerusalem Post and The Times of Israel. He has been featured in misleading articles from media outlets including CNN, Wired Magazine and others. His book of articles, Tikkunim (Corrections), is set to release in January 2018. He is currently writing a novel.