Siding with the angry liberals and joining #TheResistance
I’m a centrist. Not a moderate. There’s actually a key difference. Centrists focus more on solutions than bias. I’m a pragmatist. I’m a realist. I pine for problem-solving, fact-based government that acts on evidence and context and not ideological or emotional drunkenness.
I identify as a Centrist Democrat, not because I’m a “moderate liberal”, but because I generally vote for Democratic candidates. However, I think independently. There are things that I am willing to criticize Democratic candidates for as much as I am willing to criticize Republican candidates for. But indeed, I’m much more accepting of Democratic rule because the Republican Party has moved so far to the right that it has synthesized American conservatism with right-wing populism for no real apparent reason except to foster a reactionary fantasy (and win elections).
I voted for Hillary Clinton. I was and still am a staunch Clinton supporter. She was the representation of the last chance that the United States would be governed by a pragmatist for quite sometime. But Americans have come to distrust pragmatism and reason; and this is true for both the right and the left. As such, we are in for a few years of very hard lessons that will have to be learned.
There will be time where I’ll discuss my worldview, however, I am going to pass on doing so at the moment. What I am going to discuss, however, is the post-election gripe of liberals, progressives, and the rest of the American left, and why I side with them wholeheartedly.
For the first time in American history, we have an unchecked right-wing government. There are a myriad of reasons why we approached this point — from post-Fordism (what I argued), to conservative backlash, uneven metropolis-skilled-worker-driven economic recovery, a lust for protectionism, a perverse desire for authoritarianism, populist disease, racism, sexism, voter obstruction, international interference. We’ll debate all of those for years to come, in layman and scholarly terms, in living rooms and halls of academia.
However, it the wake of conservative and right-wing glee and the invigoration of white supremacists, there stands an angry and despondent left raging with disbelief and disgust.
But there’s a difference: the voters that lined up behind Donald Trump’s populist message are angry about the disappearance of livelihoods that have little to do with government. After all, most of those that voted for Trump live in states with governorships and state legislatures controlled by Republicans. The life that they are counting on Donald Trump to either protect or resurrect was slayed by economic realities. The America that they pine for, which only existed in revisionist, romanticized, cherry-picked history, is simply not coming back. These voters were probably more eager to stick it to the “liberal” order — as Trump’s enthusiastic supporters often display on social media — than doing an honest, reasoned, educated assessment of his ideas; that is if you could even count them as ideas.
The left is seething with anger over how Americans were willing to accept a presidential candidate that would brazenly lie, reject some of the most basic tenets of political decency, and possess pride in being a shepherd for some of the worst attitudes held today in society — even if he says he “rejects” them and doesn’t want “their support.” Some of that anger has fueled spates of actions here and there that are unacceptable, and they are just as guilty as the emboldened “deplorables” that took to commit acts of hate in the ensuing days after the election.
This election made me question my own values as someone that believes government should be free of ideological bias and a lack of reason. This election cycle as indeed legitimized — on the right and the left — echo chambers and extreme partisanship. Personally, my lack of support for Donald Trump is forever permanent. But where the American right’s gripes with President Barack Obama would crumble under scrutiny most of the time (and that’s not saying he has not made mistakes because he certainly has, just like any politician), the American left’s gripes with Donald Trump are reasonable, once you get past the visceral, angry messages on social media.
I share the view with liberals, progressives, and conservatives and libertarians not accepting of Trump that there’s an air of illegitimacy surrounding the President-Elect. Where his most ardent supporters see a Great White Hope that speaks with a dulcet voice that uplifts them, others see an immature con man that is a megalomaniac masquerading as a right-wing conservative populist. His economic policies make no sense; he will be passive on legitimate concerns of civil and human rights; and his political inexperience will eventually doom him as now he is required to govern and not necessarily sell himself to voters. The hero worship and naivety that has swept his voters is glaring and unreasonable on top of being troubling in its self.
But I have a particular concern for people of color, women, and LGBT.
A bit of self-awareness here. As a hetrosexual, cisgender, black male that is self-employed with a finance degree and living in a comfortable suburb, there’s little that I have to worry about. I‘m not affected by voter identification laws. I can afford health insurance. Debt sucks, but I’ll manage. I am an embodiment of that “personal responsibility” shtick conservatives are always crowing about. My quality of life will most likely not change.
But the concerns that I don’t have are scary propositions for others. Civil rights and human rights are indeed at play, thanks to a right-wing government that will have an extremist running the Department of Justice in Jeff Sessions and the possibility that one, possibly two Supreme Court appointments that could render an insurmountable conservative majority. Reproductive rights could be crippled. Social insurance programs such as Medicare and Medicaid could be converted into unsustainable block grant programs that will unravel the lives of the elderly and the poor. Undocumented immigrants will become even further scapegoats. Voters seduced by the protectionist promises of Donald Trump will be betrayed upon realizing that he cannot reverse the systemic philosophy prevalent in corporate America that values the maximization of shareholder returns, cost-control, and efficiency.
So, I will side with the angry liberals and join #TheResistance.