Shattering the Echo Chamber

“It’s so quiet at Clinton HQ you can hear an email being deleted.”

Having to wade through a cesspool of obsequious drivel to find any decent commentary on the US election results, perhaps that one quip, of which this writer is regrettably unable to attribute a source, best reflected the mood in both camps. Whilst Clinton supporters stared in disbelief as Florida fell, then North Carolina, Ohio, and finally Pennsylvania, and as news footage cut to the rancorous ebullience of Trump election parties as each domino fell, most Trump supporters—those without red hats—sat quietly with a slight simper on their face and gazed with equally astounded eyes as each of their ballots forced a crack in the establishment they had for so long felt imprisoned by. They were finally being heard.

Those who felt bullied into silence, those who were shouted down at and humiliated for attempting to voice contrasting opinions on the economy, terrorism, immigration, and the shifting American culture they hold so dear to them, had found their voice. The down-and-out neglected spoke with their ballot. The “deplorables” reminded the ruling class that they are legion, that they are angry, and that they are willing to send the most untested candidate in the history of the United States of America to the White House to deliver a message: that they aren’t going to take it anymore.

Conversely, the images of Clinton supporters writhing on the ground in tears will be ones that stick in minds the world over. Not because the world empathised with their grief, but because after such a long, vociferous, and intimidating campaign by the regressive-Left, the sanctimonious elites were finally exposed for whom they truly are: spoiled cry-babies lacking the mettle to deal with results that don’t go their way. Having always been given what they wanted when demanded, the naive millennials, the progressives, the arrogant youth—however one chooses to describe them—expecting the literal glass ceiling above them to shatter, instead found their echo chamber did. They were discovering that the rest of the world doesn’t reflect their own. That life isn’t fair. That they aren’t as special or as smart as they think they are. That their demands are not universal.

But they hadn’t the grace to concede defeat respectfully (nor have they since, with riots ensuing throughout the country as flag burning ceremonies light the night sky). As the results trickled in, and as it became more obvious that the result wasn’t going to go their way, the outrage industry tried to undermine the legitimacy of the result. Screen grabs of a specific CNN exit-poll were on constant rotation: 67% of white men and women without a college education voted Trump. It was as subtle as a flame to paper. Those opposed to Clinton were racist idiots. And we were to believe this poll because for some reason it, unlike every other poll the day before, had it right this time.

Cited was the proliferation of the college educated class today compared with older generations: the rate more than doubling since 1965. Anchors implicitly argued that only the stupid voted for Trump, failing to realise this fed into the narrative that put him there to begin with: a narrative where those from rural areas were not only ignored, but mocked for their life choices. The elite wrongly conflated education with intelligence to satisfy their bruised egos and student-debts. It was a way of reinforcing the ramparts of their moral superiority. But with basic literacy and numeracy rates stagnant in the US, and falling in some cases (according to NCES’ 1992, 2003, and 2013 data), and considering the fastest growing major amongst college graduates since 2010 is Behavioural Science (a fancy way of aggregating gender studies, social justice, and humanities), perhaps the older generations were only exercising their smarts; proving they had wits enough not to pay for a degree in any of the pseudo-sciences—proving they were smart enough not to give in to the apocryphal left narrative that a manipulative snake in the grass would pave a rainbow path adorned with smiling unicorns to absolute equality.

Trump votes were a punch to the sternum of this arrogance. The very same arrogance that prevents the youth from digesting the reality that lowered tertiary education standards, coupled with the sharp increase in acceptance numbers, has diluted the quality of their education and left them so ill-equipped for the real world.

But none quite lacked the grace as Australia’s ABC did. On Wednesday at 2.42pm AEST, whilst I was streaming NBC, CNN, Fox, and keeping an eye on Politico’s, Google’s, and The Guardian’s electoral college tally online, I turned to the ABC’s coverage and noticed an entirely different narrative unfolding compared with the rest of the world. The global conversation had shifted to one that not only believed a Trump presidency was possible, but rather becoming likely: Trump lead 168-122 in the Electoral College tally and each swing state was beginning to slip further from Secretary Clinton’s grasp. The ABC, however, had Clinton leading 200-158; their numbers like their viewers: deluded. Their story still hoped for an expected Clinton victory to placate their hoard of callow myrmidons. Meanwhile, Trump was only doing better than expected.

Virginia Trioli, believing her feed had been cut, had earlier that morning been caught on air arguing Trump supporters “should be subjected to an IQ test” before they voted. After witnessing Trump’s campaign almost perish due to a leaked recording when he supposed his microphone was off, considering her inability to learn from this mistake, perhaps Trioli should be subjected to an IQ test to continue her broadcasting career. Though, she wasn’t the only one to pander. Similar sentiments inundated television sets: like CNN’s Van Jones declaring the Republican victory a “white-lash”. Perhaps it was peremptory grandstanding like this that led the American public to vote against the fourth estate’s endorsements.

But before confusion cements itself, it must be said that Trump’s victory was not so much an advocation of Donald J. Trump—a debauched pig of a man trotting gleefully through his own excrement—but a rejection of a system, and of the candidate who most embodied it, that had for so long been broken. Perhaps the best way to surmise this would be to say there exists merit in the movement, not in the man. For the electoral result was a victory for the nation state and pride in one’s country. It was a cruel blow to the dilution of national culture, and indeed the West, at the hands of globalisation. It was a nod to self-determination, local industry, and the working class; just how sincere, though, we are yet to find out.

For I, like many, hold deep reservations about the capacity of Trump as president. Much of his economic policy is little more than idealistic protectionism that, if somehow passed without alteration by the Republican majority in congress, may result in reactionary tariffs which, as noted in National Review, will severely impede American exports and stultify growth; the follow on effects of which will be felt throughout the Asian region and consequently Australia. It may just be the very death knell for American manufacturing—the irony being that steps taken to save that very industry will be what ultimately crumbles it for good. And whilst his views on immigration and radicalised Islamic terrorism resonate with the silent majority, much of his proposed plans—chiefly “the wall” and ban on all Muslim immigration—seem too reactionary. They fail to address the root causes of the problems sewn deep beneath both issues and will likely only inflame them. But at least Trump is willing to acknowledge the existence of both problems and call them what they are without sullying them with rectitude.

I expect Trump will be a one-term president. I expect he will leave office with the lowest approval rating in presidential history. I expect the Democrats will sweep the 2020 election. I expect the regressive-Left will galvanise and use Trump’s failures over the next four years to garner support for their lunacy. I expect his victory will ultimately come back to bite the hands that fed it. I also expect to be wrong. For each time Trump was laughed at and declared dead in the water, he advanced one step further; steps which will culminate on January 20, 2017 with him setting foot inside the White House. If things were unpredictable before, they are even more so now. It may be four years pain for future gain.

Or it may not be.

However, Trump’s victory is the very manifestation of democracy. Just as Brexit was. And like any vote that is open to the people, the result must be respected–whether pragmatic or not. There cannot exist a victor without a defeated. The result must not, however, be deconstructed as being something it is not. Clinton’s defeat was a defeat for all she stood for and represented. This was not a rejection of a woman simply for being a woman. This was not a signal to young girls the world over to abandon their aspirations. This was not a vote condoning sexual assault. Nor was it one inciting racism, classism, or any of the other –isms so preponderant today. This was a protest vote. A protest vote against arrogance, elitism, and political correctness. A protest made by a forgotten majority who felt they couldn’t speak their mind without fear of retribution.

However, at the moment, the epilogue being written is declaring Trump’s victory as an affront to women. What a pity it is that so many still believe Clinton to be the best representative of the female sex considering the plethora of competent female politicians currently in office. And what a pity so many believe people only voted against her because she’s a woman. It is indicative of the fact women were used this election as fodder for votes. Because neither candidate ever really had women in the corner. Trump looked poorly upon women; Clinton made women look poorly upon themselves. I have always held the view that even if the whole world looks down on you, as long as you have yourself in your corner, you can fight on. Secretary Clinton hoped to shatter the self-belief in others for her own gratification.

Clinton’s campaign undermined the agency of the first and second wave women’s movements and instead grovelled to the divisive third-wavers. Whilst campaigning under the guise that women could make something of themselves if they worked hard enough and challenged the institutions who had tried to close the door on them in the past, in reality Hillary Clinton painted women as perpetual victims incapable of helping themselves, inflating the wage-gap to make them angry and treating them like children who needed their hand held by a woman who has throughout her lifetime belittled, intimated, and laughed at the very women she claims to represent.

The vacuous progressives drowned the cogency of their message in a cacophony of insults by accusing men of deliberately endeavouring to keep women down; a stance most know to be foolhardy. Because though the majority of men and women believe in equality for the sexes (over 85%), as polls in the New York Times and Huffington Post demonstrate, fewer people (18% and 20% respectively) in the US identify as feminists, especially amongst older women. And that’s because in recent times feminism has revealed itself as a movement increasingly less concerned with equality, and more concerned with clenched fists and superfluous gender theories debated in trivial university courses—like the ever-present threat of an insidious rape culture or the institutionalised oppression of the mythical patriarchy.

The regressive activists themselves destroyed any chance of shattering the glass ceiling when they endorsed an untrustworthy candidate not only out of touch with America, but out of touch with the majority of hard-working, self-respecting women. Women, like men, respond to strength, dignity, and fairness. Standing by you philanderer husband and riding his coattails for your own political gain at the expense of others signifies none of these qualities. Again, that isn’t to say women admired Trump either. Nor should they.

Hindsight, however, always allows for a clear view. And the most marked shift of this election now appears to be when Secretary Clinton denounced Trump supporters, instead of Trump himself, as “deplorables”—a badge they quickly wore with pride. For no matter how much help the establishment gave her—wall street, the political class, the fourth estate, the metropolitan elite, and the celebrity class—people were sick of being talked down to and labelled degenerates by faceless suits and empty-headed entertainers. So they voted as is their wont. As NBC, CNN, and even Australia’s own Waleed Aly conceded, though the typical Trump supporter was painted as a bourbon-swilling, cap-wearing, tobacco-chewing racist, the majority of Trump voters encountered on the campaign trail were exceedingly normal. Just everyday people who raised a middle finger to Washington and decided to take a chance. A chance some understand they may come to regret in the future.

But not right now.

Because on November 8, 2016, the citizens of the United States reminded their country of the people’s resolve; they reminded the world the working class underdog would no longer be hectored to; and they reminded their government that at the end of the day, no matter how stacked the deck is against them, they will always maintain the right to try their luck and play a hand.

They reminded themselves that authority is in the people.

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