The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Listen and Observe

If you spend any time at all on social media, it's pretty apparent that progressives are angry and dismayed at the result of the election. Their commentary is apocalyptic and sometimes unhinged—"Trump is a Nazi ... Trump will trample my human rights ... Trump will destroy America as we know it ... Trump is a racist ... a bigot ... a disaster!" Some on the far left have decided that the best avenue to channel their anger and dismay is to stage "protests"* in some cities, carrying signs that read "Trump is NOT my president" ... or the ever-popular "Love Trumps Hate." It's rather amusing that so much hate comes out of a crowd that carries "Love Trumps Hate" signs, but I suppose that's just a quibble.

As I absorb all of this, I've come to the conclusion that part of the reason for all the progressive anger and dismay is that progressives only seem to listen to and associate with other progressives. When they encounter an opposing (conservative) viewpoint they often shut down and refuse to listen. In the extreme, they shout down the speaker while stigmatizing him or her with ad hominem attacks. For example, if one were to express concern with Muslim immigration from countries with a strong Islamist presence, a true progressive would react with outrage, suggesting that the speaker was "Islamophobic" or "racist", despite the fact that Islam is not a race. The fact that Muslim immigrants in Europe are causing significant negative societal changes seems to have alluded progressives.

Johnny Oleksinski comments:
This election made it abundantly clear that social media, in trying to replace the real world, has led us astray. It’s taken an already divided nation and perilously widened the gap by making virtue of extremity. Worse yet, it fooled pundits and campaign advisers into believing the entire populace actually agreed with them.

It’s no wonder that Trump’s victory is being called a “shocker” and “stunning” by most media outlets. Twitter especially is an Admiral’s Club for journalists, a group that boasts few conservative members. So, for them — spending their days in a Manhattan office, dismissing all Trump supporters as trolls — it really was.

After Richard Nixon’s victory in 1972, Pauline Kael wrote, “I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken.”

Then, Kael’s liberal myopia was understandable. She lived in New York City and worked as a film critic for The New Yorker — not exactly a blue collar gig in not exactly a Rust Belt state. Today, however, ignorance is voluntary.

Voted for Hillary Clinton? Block! Voted for Donald Trump? Mute! Voted for Gary Johnson? Unfriend! And so it goes until the majority of a person’s conversations are held with ideological clones. Like a thin-skinned executive, we’ve neatly pruned our social circles into packs of “yes” men. If that’s what makes you happy, go for it. But no informed, conscientious citizen should confuse his online playground with reality.
Progressives (liberals, if you prefer), can actively avoid any understanding the the conservation narrative by avoiding the small number of media outlets that carry it and avoiding physical or online acquaintances who espouse it.. For example, many of my progressive friends state, "I would never watch FOX NEWS, it's garbage." I won't read The Wall Street Journal, it's biased," "I unfriended her because she's a Trump supporter." What they're really saying is, I won't listen to, read about or associate with another viewpoint.

Conservatives, on the other hand, have no choice but to listen to a left-of-center narrative. Virtually every media outlet presents that narrative daily, almost every TV show that presents a political perspective in its comedy or drama does so from a progressive point of view, the same goes for most, if not all, Hollywood movies, most popular novels, and a small, but growing number of sports celebrities. The workplace has become oppressively PC. College campuses are now totalitarian bastions of progressive thought. Although I doubt that many conservatives agree with the progressive narrative, they understand its content because they are bombarded with it daily. They have no choice but to listen and observe. None at all.

Because they have failed to listen and observe, progressives have been able to create their own reality in which the blue model works flawlessly, big government solves all problems, open borders are a moral imperative, the economy is a zero-sum game in which the success of one group precipitates another group's failure, where everyone but "White Men" is a victim, and—this is important—where there was no possibility that Donald Trump would win the election—none! As an example, see this video.

When Donald Trump pulled off the greatest political upset in the history of this country, reality collided with the progressive fantasy. The signs were there. They were faint and often ambiguous, but if you listened and observed, they were there. I failed to listen and observe carefully enough and I missed them, thinking that Clinton would win. But far too many progressives refused to listen or observe at all. That's why shock ensured, anger followed, and now dismay has set in.

The lesson for all progressives is to listen and observe outside of the echo chamber that is "the narrative." You might not like what you hear and see, but at least you'll have clear understanding of reality as it is, not as you wish it to be.


CNN has continued its "Clinton News Network" image by giving the protests near blanket coverage. It's as if the "protests" somehow justify the network's blatant anti-Trump bias during the campaign, implying See, people are demonstrating in the streets ... we at CNN were justified in our opposition to Trump.

Of course, the peaceful protests are now becoming violent—no surprise. The Left tends to do that. Just consider for a moment what would have happened if right-wing extremists rioted in the streets after a Clinton victory. There would be no talk of "passionate opposition" or "fear" or "human rights". Instead, there would be full throated condemnation from every quarter, including every talking head on CNN.

Not all media is as bad as CNN. The editors of The New York Daily News, a vociferous opponent of Trump, comment:
Thousands of protesters aghast at the prospects of Donald Trump assuming the august office held by Washington, Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt have taken to the streets in dozens of cities, odiously chanting “Not my President.”

Many blocked traffic. Some burned American flags. More than 100 people were arrested amid reports of vandalism and sporadic violence.

We objected to Donald Trump’s candidacy as forcefully as anyone. But street protests that amount to primal screams against the outcome of a fair and legal national election are worse than petulant, worse than ineffective.

They will make it harder for principled opponents to block Trump’s policies and plans when they warrant strident opposition, which some most certainly will ...

... it is woefully ineffective to scream at the sky without a focal point, much less without a desired outcome. As currently unfolding, the masses furiously railing against Trump himself are effectively throwing a tantrum over the fact that 60 million of their fellow Americans made a choice with which they disagree.
Yeah ... "throwing an tantrum" describes it rather well, don't you think?