Society certainly brings out the best and worst in people. With social media more often than not it is the worst. The press narrative is bi-polar. The ability for rational thought has been utterly cast to the dustbin. Where can one find some balance? Social media is little more than an electronic version of Chinese whispers. Where one tweet taken out of context drives its own set of hashtags and flash mobs. Nowadays I disregard 95% of what I read. I end up doing my own reporting. Reading esoteric papers. Pouring through reams of looked over government data sets that no one pays attention to. It is a gold mine. There is a reason why they don’t make a habit of publishing it – it is not politically consumable.
I had always held Trump would win the election. I was ridiculed and worse by some who refused to consider the facts. My assumption was completely devoid of what I thought of him or his policies. I banged on incessantly about the sorry state of the”economy” and how the headline figures espoused by so many Democrats masked increasing levels of poverty and inequality. They didn’t want to believe it. They only heard what they wanted to hear and only read what they wanted to read. Nothing has changed.
Scroll forward to the #muslimban. Yes, the seven countries nominated by Trump for the 3mth ban are predominantly Muslim. Could you deduce a large slug of the policy (even if not explicitly written) was targeted at vetting potential Islamic terrorists? Most certainly. Was it handled poorly? Without question. Yet why didn’t people show the same levels of guffaws when Obama put a ban on Iraqis attaining visas in 2011 for 6 months after the discovery of Al Qaeda terrorists among refugees? Effectively the same policy yet no protests and social media meltdowns. No one bats an eyelid that 16 countries ban Jews from traveling there. That must be acceptable because, well anything anti-Israel is. When George Bush signed in the Secure Fence Act of 2006 to prevent illegal immigration and drug trafficking who voted in favour? Senators Clinton and Obama. It seems that the ‘side’ is more important than the act. Regardless of what one thinks of the act, if you read the headlines you would deduce the ban was permanent. What is the underlying sentiment? Rasmussen Reports noted 57% of Americans supported Trump’s ban and 33% repudiated it. More for than against.
No one criticized the inaction of the Gulf States since the Arab Spring which collectively took no one in while they bashed any so called heartless governments in the West relentlessly to increase the intake in what amounted to bingo. Now the King of Saudi Arabia and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi agreed with Trump’s request to support safe zones for refugees in the Middle East. Why couldn’t President Obama achieve the same amount of cooperation in his tenure?
The press is going out of its way to paint the Hitler narrative on Trump. I’d happily support the view that Trump hasn’t exactly helped himself by going full speed on the executive orders although in reality he is only fulfilling election promises in short order – walls, immigration, healthcare etc. The appointment of Bannon as a national security advisor raises questions of governance. It is far from a conventional presidency and that spooks people. Yet I fail to see the Hitler narrative
The irony is that voters could have stopped this supposed dictator from seeking office if the incumbent party had revived the economic fortunes for the average Joe & Joanne Public and people not fallen for the bias in the polls and the mainstream media coverage that gave him no chance. He won the election against all the odds.
However when I read tweets calling for Trump’s assassination and celebrities threatening to blow up the White House or use their awards ceremonies to espouse their champagne socialist views I shake my head. Even politicians like Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau immediately stepped in to grab the limelight to arrest his declining popularity. Appealing to his “diversity is our strength” line. Now he deals with a tragic shooting in a Quebec mosque. While much is to be learnt from that attack, sometimes not even diversity is enough to stop terrorism.
We live in a troubled world. Wars, geopolitical risks and a world economy on its last legs. There are people that aren’t necessarily racist or bigoted but scared. They worry each day how they can put food on the table yet get patronized by governments exercising moral authority in their face. They worry how a government that can’t even help them recover lost fortunes and new opportunities can somehow accommodate 10s of thousands of new migrants. They feel outraged when asylum seekers get more benefits and better conditions than they do. It is purely rational.
Arguing over what motivates terrorists and whether intolerance leads to the inevitable atrocities is not the point. Sure, the press ham it up that way and the twitterati goes ballistic with its moral posturing. However they are missing the point. The average Joe isn’t a racist or a bigot. He is just plain unconvinced and losing faith fast. Trump won because people like Joe had had enough of the lies and the platitudes which changed nothing. In fact they have seen their position only get worse. He is not a perfect politician and his policies and methods leave a lot to be desired but make no mistake that 64mn Americans voted for him to do something radical.
Social media beings might exaggerate every move he makes but believe me that creating more noise in media circles will have the exact opposite effect. I would argue that many do not possess a mere fraction of the story yet feel compelled to write a complete mastery on the subject which in a nutshell make them no better than a misguided tweet from the President. As the title says – too many are letting their eyes by-pass the brain straight to their finger tips. The problem is much broader.