This is what happens when a nation votes against someone rather than for someone. In the case of the United States following this year’s election, the president will be a lame duck with a Senate dominated by Republicans. That’s a statement of relativity although there already is some evidence that Joe Biden may turn out to be a lame president in absolute terms — basically a mere compromise to another four years of Donald Trump and one propped up by his association with the former popular president Barack Obama. Indeed, even his candidacy attracted only tentative support from his own Democrat camp.
If Biden is president because of all that, his term will be an interesting one as he will have to earn the trust of almost half of the American electorate who voted for Trump and a sizeable chunk of the electorate who voted for him only because he was the lesser evil. That’s at least 70 percent of the American electorate plus a hostile Senate.
To begin with, it is hard to win over conservatives because their ideologies are built around deeply-ingrained aspects of human nature — fear and hate of and for the different, solidarity with people who are like us in belief and appearance, aggression when personal interests are threatened. Liberalism, as such, inherently counts on modern intellect to overcome those basic instincts. It is an uphill battle though because liberals are up against thousands of years of conservative human civilisation whereas many of today’s “woke” ideals enjoy only a century of ascendancy (at best).
The important thing therefore is to engage rather than demonise. Unfortunately for most liberal camps, their ideology of “inclusiveness” had turned hypocritical and judgmental, morphing into an extremist “woke” brand known for its notorious “cancel culture”. This is the lesson the Democrats and other liberal “movements” that are facing popular conservative opponents need to take heed of. It is one thing to demonise another’s belief systems but to do so and shut the door to any further challenge only drives the conversation underground. This underground conversation the liberals and their extremist “woke” cliques have lost sight of is what is likely behind the “surprising” electoral fight the Trump camp managed to put up in these elections. The fact is, Americans still have such conversations around what they really think and believe in amongst themselves over beers and burgers in their backyards — thinking and believing that is masked by a politically-correct face one needs to wear at the workplace and in front of “polite” company.
In the spirit of free speech in this “free market of ideas” we hold sacred, both camps are well within their rights to “demonise” the other as they see fit. However, liberal wokedom have to shake their unproductive demonise-then-block-and-cancel habit. That’s just being cowardly and dishonest. If you just have to demonise then do so, but leave the forum open for people to challenge your assertions point-by-point.
If wokedom think they have “won” this battle, they’re in for yet even more surprises and these are surprises that they themselves conceal from the little echo chambers they prefer to inhabit. The real world remains stark and cruel. Human nature is not the rosy thing idealists and hipster snowflakes would like it to be. The liberal agenda is still viable but to push it forward requires an intelligent regard for the reality of what it means to be human — that we all, at the cores of our beings, remain the same bunch of chimps who compete for dominance within our tribes, routinely signal fitness and superiority, ostracise and even banish deviants, and remain responsive to physical punishment and reward. The way forward for liberalism is to embrace our biological humanity and apply an honest intellect to suppressing the aspects of it we want to mitigate in order to achieve the idealised humanity we aspire to.
The woke community are on point styling Trump as a vestige of the reptilian complex that competes for a voice in our minds. In doing so, they inadvertently highlight the point they routinely miss. We need to acknowledge that this part of humanity still exists and cannot be simply willed away by “cancelling” it.
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