I’d be somewhat of a broken record to say how weird this year has been, or how nuts Brexit was and now Trump. It seems to have become the mantra of the moment.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m saddened by it all and have felt the whole rainbow of emotions from anger, worry, fear and a big slab of luckiness that hopefully (and selfishly) we, Team MF, probably won’t be affected that much. Then that’s quickly followed by guilt.
I heard the KKK will carry out a victory march in honour of Donald Trump and it made me feel sick.
However, this isn’t a post where I rant about how wrong the world is, or how much I hate Trump or how leaving Europe makes me want to put on a hair shirt. It’s all made me really angry.
Anger is a really good emotion at times – it makes us stand up, protect ourselves, put up a fight and shout back about our families, communities and the wider world. It makes us talk, argue, debate, blog, read, take an interest, start a conversation. It’s a good force. At times.
But recently I’m aware how so much of that anger has been aimed at putting people, everyone basically, into some kind of box. Basically one of either two boxes:
Box 1 – Guardian reading, left-wing, remain voting, Trump hating, Daily Mail hating, Hillary voting (if in the US), feminist, left wing person who is good and moral and lovely. Selfless. GOOD.
Box 2 – Right wing, Cameron loving, Trump supporting, Daily Mail reading, fascist, racist, immigration hating, nasty horrible wicked person. Selfish. EVIL.
I’m left wing. I’m also a feminist. I read the Guardian and voted remain. I’m not a racist and there are things about the Mail I don’t like. So I’m a clear runner for box 1 I guess.
But box 1ers read this and let me watch your heads spin: I also read the Daily Mail from time to time. I read it because the crappy celeb gossip is better. I read it because I read all newspapers. I also don’t think people who vote Conservative are evil. I used to, but I’ve listened over the years to their arguments why, and over the last few days I’ve been fascinated as to why you’d vote for Trump. And The Guardian’s middle class privileged viewpoint has started to piss me off.
I’m so fucked off with people just ranting about their own viewpoint being correct they’ve stopped listening to others. I cannot believe how many people said after Brexit “Well I just don’t understand who voted to leave because no one on my Facebook was saying that.” Of course not – you’re hardly likely to be friends with people who have contray views to your own.
And actually, in recent years, I think most right wing, Brexit voting peeps don’t voice their views. Let’s remember all those shy Tories eh. They shut the fuck up and then voted with their feet against the loud Labour supporters. Maybe we should’ve listened to why?
I think this was compounded yesterday at a conference I went to. Every single female speaker was a card carrying member of box 1 ready to go on and on about their political positions as if they spoke from everyone’s view point. They didn’t. I looked at the room and wondered how many voted to leave Europe. I viewed the room and wondered how many people would never admit it. I looked at the room and thought I bet loads of those women voted Conservative in the last election. Or how they secretly loved the Daily Mail. (because actually it’s the only newspaper still gaining readership).
And I looked at those female speakers, and most of the people in the room, and I thought how bloody middle class and privileged and white we all were. How easy it is for us to harp on from our positions of champagne socialism, yet never really be in a life threatening position of poverty or suffering or challenge. Not really, not like some people will be in their life.
I heard some stats after Trump was elected. Apparently in the 8 years of Bush and the 8 years of Obama those in America in low income jobs (not sure what that is exactly) had seen their salary reduce by about half. A HALF in 16 years. And the speaker was saying basically that’s probably why so many people voted for Trump. Why the fuck wouldn’t you? If you thought some crazy businessman was going to give you a damn sight more hope than the career politicians ever had, you’d be tempted.
And Brexit – when people jump on the easy ‘racism’ bandwagon about it all being about immigration and right wing people who hated migrants wanting to leave. I don’t think that’s the case. Not for everyone. We know it was across party lines. We know it was a raw nerve for the northern working classes.
It’s not always simple. And it’s not always easy to just put someone in a box about their views.
I feel the card carrying members of box 1 – myself included in this – are often so bloody naive and should listen up to what people are saying. What everyone is saying, not just slamming them down or branding them evil. And actually by not listening to all the debate, not hearing the voices who don’t want to talk for fear of being shouted down by those in box 1 – well they’ve won haven’t.
Quite literally. More fool us.