Patriotic grace

Brendan O’Neill:

If you want to know why Trump won, just look at the response to his winning. The lofty contempt for ‘low information’ Americans. The barely concealed disgust for the rednecks and cretins of ‘flyover’ America who are apparently racist and misogynistic and homophobic. The haughty sneering at the vulgar, moneyed American political system and how it has allowed a wealthy candidate to poison the little people’s mushy, malleable minds. The suggestion that American women, more than 40 per cent of whom are thought to have voted for Trump, suffer from internalised misogyny: that is, they don’t know their own minds, the poor dears. The hysterical, borderline apocalyptic claims that the world is now infernally screwed because ‘our candidate’, the good, pure person, didn’t get in.

This response to Trump’s victory reveals why Trump was victorious. Because those who do politics these days — the political establishment, the media, the academy, the celeb set — are so contemptuous of ordinary people, so hateful of the herd, so convinced that the mass of society cannot be trusted to make political decisions, and now those ordinary people have given their response to such top-down sneering and prejudice.

Oh, the irony of observers denouncing Middle America as a seething hotbed of hatred even as they hatefully libel it a dumb and ugly mob.

This marks the first presidential election loss of their adult lives for many of my 20-something peers on the left. At 29, I’m just old enough to have witnessed this sinking feeling as an adult in 2008 with President Obama’s victory. I feel for them, but the melodrama and frankly the bigotry that is flooding out of the mouths of those on the left right now will serve them no better than it did when it came from the mouths of so many on the right eight years ago.

As distraught as so many were with Obama’s election then, many are with Trump’s election now. We’ll get through it, and we’ll likely be better for it. Everything else is noise.

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