The intellectual emptiness of the Trump protests

24 Jan 2017

So far Donald Trump hasn’t done an awful lot of anything apart from pen a few executive orders, and go to a few parties. It’s his opponents who have been doing all the work.

 

As President Trump was sworn in, protest escalated into violence as masked anarchists marched through the streets chanting ‘eat the rich, fuck the bourgeoisie’ (how exactly they envisioned this bringing peace is as yet unclear). Various Starbucks were smashed whilst limousines (and hats, bizarrely) were burnt. We shouldn’t linger too much on these people; they are, after all, little more than thugs in sheep's clothing. Our main focus should be on Saturday 21st, when the anti-truth brigade took centre stage.

 

Saturday kicked off with a lot of anxious hand wringing over the fact that the civil rights section of the White House webpage was ‘taken down’, including sections on the environment and healthcare.

 

Twitter descended into chaos. People endlessly tweeted about this in conspiratorial tones, with the actor George Takei telling his legions of followers that he ‘Just thought you should know.’

 

This was simply pathetic fearmongering. Every president in modern times has had their old website archived to make way for the new administration, which would then have a website constructed around their central concerns. In other words there is nothing new here.

 

Alas the anti-Trump protestors didn’t have an awful lot of time to care about little things like facts because they were too busy dashing off to their women’s marches, and turning America into an intellectual wasteland.

 

On account of celebrities working so well to persuade people to vote for Hillary Clinton, the Women’s March in Washington DC was awash with the self-entitled. Madonna herself admitted that she’d thought a lot about ‘blowing up the White House’ but has since decided against it, presumably when she realised that it would be a crime. Ashley Judd went off on a complete tangent and made personal attacks on the President and his family, whilst the director Michael Moore foresaw no problem with making it clear that he was there to overthrow President Trump because ‘The majority of Americans did not want Donald J Trump in the White House.’

 

Some questions arise from this debacle. Why, exactly, did these protests not take place until after the inauguration?  And why on earth did the celebrities wait until the 21st of January to free up their diaries and rage against Donald Trump becoming President?

 

There is nothing wrong with peaceful protest, but this particular protest is not intellectually coherent. As it became abundantly clear through conversations on LBC on the 22nd, nobody could agree what the march was really about. Was it a rally against the harassment of women? Perhaps. Was it against Trump’s demeaning comments about women? Possibly. Or was it against the tiny possibility that abortion may not be available by 2020? Who knows?

 

Nobody can agree because these protests represent the extension of the victimhood culture that became so explicit in the election. Instead of facts, people favoured seeing the world through the lens of how their personal identity was going to be oppressed by a Trump administration.

 

This became so ingrained in the psyche that, when Hillary Clinton lost and it was abundantly clear that Donald Trump was going to be the 45th President of the United States, people did not consider how they can ‘make do’ – they decided to oppose the fact of his presidency.

 

Allow me to bring a few facts. The election was a mess, the debates were empty, and supporters of both candidates favoured personality over policy. As election day drew nearer I was hoping for a Trump victory and, now that the wheels have been set in motion, I’m excited about the possibilities.

 

There are many concerns, however, that none of us should dismiss from our minds. It’s important now more than ever that we prioritise facts over feelings and, whilst it’s not that difficult, it will make a world of difference.

 

 

 

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