‘The Product Of A Cultural Shift’

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Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump speaks during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

US president-elect Donald Trump

So what just happened?

David Wall,  ‘sheet reader and  “31 year old who is disappointed and concerned”, writes:

How did it happen? I’m shocked. I’m appalled. How could they be so stupid? How can we be so blind?

It’s us. We are complicit in the whole thing. We’ve stopped caring. Our concern is not for those at the bottom of society. Our concern is not for the ill or the elderly or the disadvantaged. No, society is about being top-dog.

Those at the bottom are left to rot, forgotten and marginalised. We could point fingers at who is to blame but what will that achieve? Nothing. Creating blame is an irrelevance, a distraction. Potentially we could argue the real answer is everyone is responsible and, in that contradictory way, this means nobody.

Currently, the public service is falling apart: guards, teachers, nurses, doctors, the members of SIPTU all looking for their share of the pot. Aggrieved at years of austerity and being told that the recovery is happening without actually partaking in the spoils of recovery they are buckling under the strain of society.

The private sector, in turn, glares at the public sector with disgust and disdain.

Men and women trying to hold their own and make ends meet being almost pitted against each other. Against this, a backdrop of homelessness, suicide, depression and anger. Of course people gravitate towards men like Donald Trump.

It’s happened over and over in history, yet somehow we are shocked and appalled. It’s happened in living memory and I don’t think there is any reason to start listing names.

Possibly the most galling aspect of this is the pseudo-disgust at Donald Trump and his supporters. How can we be so arrogant as to create this world and be shocked when people are forced to support the likes of Nigel Farage, Donald Trump and populist right wing demagogues?

We cocoon ourselves in bread and circuses. This isn’t a new trick, the Romans had worked it out by 100AD. Rather than watching gladiators we build life hopes and dreams around the Kardashians, we watch comfortable fuzzy reruns of Friends and Gogglebox, we lose the run of ourselves over sport.

We are averse to bad news and, as such, cannot bring ourselves to empathise with others. As long as our lot is ok others are an irrelevance. We create the other to justify how we treat those humans who don’t fit our safe, compartmentalised world.

We have voices like Katie Hopkins reinforcing that hate is good and foreigners/fat people/ refugees, etc, are bad and to be hated. We have been conditioned to look down on each other, conditioned to despise each other, conditioned to stomp on those who are most in need.

The cuts to public services here, in the UK, and further across Europe, have had a disproportionate impact on people, real people, who are deemed at the periphery of society.

The drive for profit and cost-cutting again disproportionately hammers the weakest. And yet we have the arrogance to attack people who have been forced to look for any avenue of escape.

The likes of Trump and Farage are an extension of what’s gone before and extension of our complicity in the world we now inhabit.

By, once again, blaming the “other”, we are condemning ourselves to legitimising the Farages, Trumps and the le Pens and further damning the ones who are most in need.

Donald Trump is not a reaction. He is the product of a cultural shift which can be seen the whole way across Australia, America and Europe. To counter this, we need to stop looking for others to blame and begin to take responsibility.

Pic: Salon

112 thoughts on “‘The Product Of A Cultural Shift’

    1. OirishToimes

      “cultural shift” me hole.

      Trump is a rejection of multi-cultural clap-trap that hardworking Americans have been force fed since the feminists were allowed get their hands on the levers of power. It’s a restoration of strong, powerful, fruitful, confident American culture.

      It’s time for a bit of division. Trump isn’t about “unity” nor does he want to be. If you live and work in America (legally), American culture comes first. You can still be a Muslim/African/Jew/whatever, but American culture comes first. There are many proud African/Muslim/Jewish/Irish Americans. If you go to America with your family, you *work* to make a better life for *yourself*. Don’t expect others to pay for your family. If you are illegal, feck off back to where you came from – you are not wanted (that includes Paddies who overstayed their summer booze cruise). Those in line in the immigration queue should be respected. Americans are assertive when it comes to speaking up against line jumpers.

      Ireland should adopt this cultural and political mindset too. Then again, Ireland doesn’t have a culture (maybe a pub “culture” – Mick D tries to pretend it’s a poetry culture…) This is precisely why multiculturalism is so “popular” here (i.e. the default situation). Arrive and claim. Bill someone else. America, a superpower, doesn’t have that option – there is no “someone else” to pass the bill up to. If something is wrong – fix it. I am confident that Trump will succeed in fixing it and all these pinko millennial twits (not all of them) will (please God) be busted in to shape and go on to thank him in 5 years’ time for saving their precious little minds from the lures of Communism, Anarchist movements and entities like “Black Lives Matter”. The West needs more young alpha males. We don’t need any more pathetic androgynous “male feminists” and whining 40 year-old metrosexual chumps who believe their lot in life is the fault of someone else.

      1. SOQ

        Goodness.

        Have you seen that video of that fella sitting on a traffic cone?

        Would you like a pornhub link?

      2. Dόn Pídgéόní

        Gosh. Feminists are whining screechy women who no one listens to and yet they’ve destroyed the western world? I can see now why trump wanted to grab so many pussies, that’s where all the power is!!

        1. Alan

          That’s the liberal way, attack the person and not the message

          There is a comfort in the liberal group think which means that you dont have to use any ounce of intelligence in debating issues or policies, simply follow the crowd by ridiculing any opposing opinion / person without offering any substantive agruement

      3. :-Joe

        Eh… no…. I don’t think so…

        The US is far from being any kind of model for anywhere…..

        The solution to the failures of liberalism and multiculturalism is to get the banks out of the government and take back control of legislation from lobbyists and corrupt business interests.

        A painful period of raising interest rates to curtail cheap credit will force the speculators out to the fringes again and the economy will be able to breath again and grow healthier for the medium to long term.

        It won’t happen and it won’t last without collective engagement of politically active citizens willing to organise and demand it be done.

        Remove the banks power and influence from governments and your half way there already to a bettter more progressive healthy society where there is a balance of equality for all.

        Peace & Love…

        :-J

  1. Neilo

    The private sector can hardly be blamed for looking askance at a lot of public sector workers: while private sectoor workers often enjoy 100% pay cuts, their counterparts enjoy feather-bedded working conditions, pay rises all but guaranteed and gold-plated pensions at the taxpayer’s expense. Looks to me like you’re trying to sow discord while rending your garments in existential agony at the unfairness of it all.

    1. Boy M5

      “gold-plated pensions at the taxpayer’s expense”

      That old ‘gold-plated’ set piece.

      They pay for their own pensions. Nobody else pays into the pensions for public sector workers. Stop listening to Newstalk FM.

      1. wearnicehats

        um, what?

        Public service pensions are paid from current revenue i.e income earned by the state. This income earned by the state is made up mostly of funds gained by taxation which, last time I looked, was what the government takes from me each month.

        1. Neilo

          From the Pensions Authority website:

          In unfunded schemes, no contributions are made to the scheme in advance and no investment fund is built up. Instead the benefits are paid out by the employer when they fall due, alongside the salaries of current employees. This type of arrangement is called ‘Pay As You Go’.

          No private sector worker, to my knowledge, enjoys this kind of arrangement.

    2. Daisy Chainsaw

      No. No “guaranteed pay rises” and I’m still over 15% down on what I was on 8 years ago, paying the same rate of Income tax and USC as private sector with a pension levy on top of the pension payment I have no choice but to make. Because of when I started in the PS, I pay slightly less PRSI, but it pretty much entitles me to nothing. No free eye or dental tests like the A1 rate so it’s just an extra tax.

      We’re all being screwed over by the Government. Divide and conqueror only serves to further the discord and infighting, instead of standing up and looking for the benefits of this “recovery” we’re enjoying.

    1. Neilo

      Seriously, no one I can think of. Pretty much every Irish elected official is married to ‘cradle to the grave’ statism and government over-reach. Hardly fertile ground for right-wing demagoguery.

    2. Daisy Chainsaw

      David, Cora, Breda and their ilk. Ultra catholic, ultra conservative, would bring us back to DeValera era “morals” in a heartbeat.

      1. crazy horse

        can there be anything said about saying another mass? – leaves for work on Sunday morning to beat the Monday morning queues

  2. guy bague

    Who’s cares if you’re 31. Typical “poor me” millennial who thinks the world owes him free everything. Ha ha ha!

  3. human

    ‘How did it happen? I’m shocked. I’m appalled. How could they be so stupid? How can we be so blind?’

    Its called ignorance young man, you’re IGNORANT

  4. Boy M5

    You can leave Australia out. It’s a huge cultural wasteland that abbreviates every word over one syllable.

  5. Cu Cullan

    If you have to give them a vote then make sure there aren’t so many of the hopeless lost class. They are only here because others already feed and clothe them. A good low tech war followed by a bout of flu.

  6. SOQ

    What happened with Trump was exactly the same as with Hitler. Enough people were so disillusioned with the system as to take a risk on something else so I don’t think anything has really changed, there is no cultural shift. Desperate people have nothing to loose. It’s as old as the hills.

    1. DaithiG

      +1,
      However, it has to be said that the harsh conditions on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles was directly responsible for a lot of that disillusionment. You can hardly say that NAFTA or TPP is anything like the ToV, since there isn’t the run away inflation or brutal economic status like 1920/30s Germany.

      1. SOQ

        True but poverty is relative and disparity can cause the same thing.

        If everyone had roughly the same income then that is fine but if some are wealthy then others will feel aggrieved. My guess is the rust belt was looking at rest while they were being ignored.

      2. DubLoony

        In the US, if you are poor, you are dirt poor. There isn’t the same welfare system that we or other european countries have.
        We have homelessness and we are outraged. They too have homelessness and they blame the poor as a moral failing.
        For people who have lost jobs, or seen their livelihoods eroded, they take it as a personal failing and not a systematic one.
        They see Trump as a success and want a piece of that.

        1. Daisy Chainsaw

          The “poor” voted for Trump in less numbers than those earning over $50k. Check facts before making incorrect statements.

          1. topsy

            Also, of those who voted 53℅ white females voted for Trump with 45℅ of those same females being college educated.

          2. f_lawless

            @Daisy Chainsaw Hang on when you say “facts” are you referring to poll-data supplied by the same body who got the pre-election polls so spectacularly wrong? Who have an ongoing lawsuit brought against them regarding poll-rigging in the DNC nomination?
            http://trustvote.org/latest-updates/first-election-ohio-election-integrity-lawsuit/
            It’s enough reason for me at least to wonder if we should be relying on them anymore. Can we discount the possibility that it’s just another false narrative to fit an agenda?

  7. wearnicehats

    Sky news, prime time RTE etc etc etc etc would save a lot a money if they just played a loop of a three year old stamping his foot shouting “it’s not fair” at the top of his voice.

    1. Steph Pinker

      From DT’s twitter regarding the protests and unfairness: ‘Just had a very open and successful presidential election. Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!’

      On a related note, is DT still alleging the election was rigged?

  8. Clampers Outside

    That’s a fairly decent rant, a good rant even, as in it left out the OTT histrionics and finger pointing of the last couple of weeks, in fairness.

    I’d have held back on the ‘we’ bits, but I liked it.

  9. bisted

    …well David Wall…let me take a stab at this…you are a member/supporter of Social Democrats…you want to declare an interest?

  10. hans landa

    One of the key things that is missing from this is that the people who voted for Trump/Farage have legitimate concerns. Instead of having those concerns addressed and treated with seriousness, they are marginalized, called racists and fascists and labelled as a small minority. This has happened to the point that people won’t even tell the truth in opinion polls anymore because they don’t want the hassle of being labelled a racist.
    Add to that the utter disdain of the social justice warriors and left wing loonies sweeping through the US universities its unsurprising that people are simply fed up.
    At the end of the day, many of the people who were promised and voted for ‘change’ and ‘hope’ over the last 8yrs have abandoned ship. They don’t buy into it anymore and want to protect what they have. Who can really blame them

    1. DubLoony

      Here’s the awkward bit – they are racists. The number of racial incidents since Trump was elected has gone through the roof, same as post Brexit.
      When the KKK endorse a candidate who fails to reject them – how on earth is that supposed to be dealt with?

      1. Billy Kremlin

        You are the problem. Fools on the internet who see everything in polarizing black and white. Some of them are, yes. Some are racist, not all.

        1. Nigel

          But is it ok to notice the racism? Can we condemn and challenge the racism if it’s okay with you? Should we check with you every time there’s some racism just to make sure we’re not being black and white to notice it? Ought we worry about the poor non-racists who voted for the racist in case they get offended every time we notice he’s a racist? Thanks. Thanks a million.

        2. Listrade

          Some don’t consider themselves racist, but they weren’t troubled enough by the overtly racist agenda of the campaings (Trump and Brexit) and the demonstrable lies they used. Or at least the overtly racism wasn’t enough of a deal-breaker for them.

          But no, I’m sure they aren’t racist.

          1. SOQ

            Here is an idea. How about racism is just like sexuality and homophobia, a gradient scale rather than just black and white? Very little is this world is black and white or even one dimensional so why not racism?

            Ditto sexism.

      1. SOQ

        Thank you.

        Rural vs urban so.

        It does not explain why an incredibly wealthy man is now representing the poor who were and are at the point of nutritional starvation within north America.

  11. Termagant

    “How could they be so stupid?”

    The opposition constantly presenting with this attitude didn’t harm his chances

  12. Listrade

    One problem is that like in Brexit, it wasn’t the working class or the poor who contributed to the success, it was white middle classes. Farage doesn’t appeal to the working class, he appeals to those like him, the Mail reading white middle classes who are scared of a brown face in their village or a polish food aisle in Waitrose.

    The stats show the same for Trump, it was middle calsses, not the poor, not the unemployed who gave him the biggest support. His numbers show the steady diehard vote of the Republican party.

    It’s two days in and this bleeding-heart condescending bull about understanding the poor and needy who voted for Trump is intolerable . As well meaning as it is, can you not see just how pretentious and condescending your strawman is? Sure it helps fit an agenda and ideology about the source of all evil being in capitalism. And you may be partly right there, but it wasn’t the blue colour worker of the factory (programmed to hate the public sector…so you say, like they aren’t also struggling a lot more than teachers) or the cleaner working minimum wage for a contract cleaning company in a public sector office having to listen to the employees there whine about their entitlement and privilege while they’re about to have hours reduced because the the client won’t cover the 20 cent pay rise that’s just been agreed.

    It wasn’t them who voted, it was their managers and their managers.

    It wasn’t private sector hatred, it wasn’t anything to do with austerity. It was racism and those who may not think they are racist, but are happy enough to overlook an overt racist agenda for their own needs.

    Look again. The US electoral system has been gerrymandered to take out as much as possible the vote of the poor and needy, to make it hard for them to vote, to make it impossible for them vote, make it illegal for them to vote, to neutralise their vote. So how could they have done this as you suppose?

    What caused this wasn’t the poor or working class, it was us, the white and privileged who spent so long looking down on people with our condescending views that it’s only thm who are racist or too stupid to see through the lies and yet it was our peers who did this, not them.

    So well done, by slating ‘we’ for looking down on the poor and struggling you’ve done the exact same by completely ignoring the actual facts about who voted and assuming it was them there redneck struggling blue colour types.

    1. SOQ

      Unless you have evidence to the contrary, my assumption is that a sizable vote for Trump came from working class white males?

        1. SOQ

          Let’s try to read this as most adults do? If you can’t be serious then neck a Calpol…. the full bottle.

  13. Termagant

    ” The US electoral system has been gerrymandered to take out as much as possible the vote of the poor and needy, to make it hard for them to vote, to make it impossible for them vote, make it illegal for them to vote, to neutralise their vote.”

    How so?

    1. DubLoony

      7 hour queues to vote for starters. hundreds of polling places have been closed.
      Only 49% of voters actually cast a vote in this election. Less gerrymandering, more voter suppression.

  14. ivor

    Blame the third way and identity politics.

    Time was, there were people called “socialists”. They looked out for ordinary working people and fought back against those who controlled society through their wealth. These socialists were pretty common up until the 80’s.

    So what happened these people? Well the parties they belonged to decided that because winning elections was good (they were not entirely mistaken in this belief), they needed to market themselves in a way that would mean they’d get more votes. By the 90’s, you had people like Blair and (Bill) Clinton who were essentially fully signed up the status quo and whose only real difference from their fellow neoliberals of the right was that they championed popular minority rights issues and they attempted to soften the blow of some of the nastier neoliberal policies.

    In short, socialism was replaced with liberalism and fighting against capitalism was replaced with ameliorating its impact. The focus was the economy and policies that resulted in positive figures were favoured, even if it meant that traditional communities and industries were nearly destroyed.

    Identity politics are not inherently bad, but when you position something as “Gay Rights” or suggest that “Black Lives Matter”, the message received by some who are neither gay nor black etc. is that you think that gay people should be privileged or that non-black lives somehow do not matter. This may not be the intended message but it is what is received and at this stage it is entirely predictable. The response of those who engage in identity politics is often counterproductive – labeling those who do not like this form of engagement as racist, sexist, homophobic, deplorable etc. In some cases, they may be right but in many these are just people who have SOME less enlightened views. If they were engaged on the same issues that were taken from a more general human rights based perspective, many (but not all) would support these causes.

    There’s a line from Spin City that comes to mind. Stuart asks Carter “Who’s looking out for the white, middle-class, heterosexual male? Carter replies “Congress”. It’s a good line, but the problem is that the leadership of traditionally leftist movements are dominated by middle/upper middle class professionals and the wealthy whose interests are, more or less, looked after reasonably well by Congress and its non-American equivalents. Nobody has been looking out for the debt ridden, formerly middle-class workers who were involved in manufacturing, traditional small businesses etc. and while they were seeing their small share of society’s wealth shrink, neither congress nor identity politics groups were looking out for them. Of course, they don’t like immigration. It results in competition within low-skilled/semi-skilled sectors that keeps wages low.

    People have been told that “There Is No Alternative” and “We are where we are” for so long that when somebody like Trump or Farage comes along and actually offers a solution (however snake-oil like) and someone to blame, people are willing to listen. The disturbing voting results of 2016 have not been some sort of series of zero-point event. They would have happened sooner or later in one form or another given the policies of the past 30 years.

    1. Starina

      never unerestimate American fear of the Reds. “Socialism” is still a very dirty word over there. less so than 20 years ago, yes, but anything that can be even remotely seen as socialism is pinko bleeding heart etc etc

      1. Ivor

        True, but remember, Sanders, who isn’t really afraid of calling himself a socialist, would have beaten Trump. If we had President Sanders instead of President Trump right now, people would be talking about the US moving towards acceptance of social democracy.

        The reason we have a President Trump instead of Sanders is because the powers that be within the Democrats tried to ensure that Clinton was their nominee.

        And in the UK, where socialism is less of a dirty word, they’ve had similar problems to the UK.
        .

        1. :-Joe

          100% bang on…. A fupping dirty broken picture of a clown in a cheap plastic frame would have got more votes than clinton.

          Even her own DNC analysts knew Sanders was way ahead of Trump in all areas compared to her stats that were mostly lagging behind him. All the post-armageddon panic-crying analysis points directly at the drop in support of democrats since Obama was re-elected and a sharp consitent decline ever since,

          Even Trump is amazed that Sanders, a “new-deal” better candidate was betrayed/turned over and gave in for clinto( who so many people still despise) and that the people would still be so stupid as to elect him anyway.

          It’s amazing he got elected over a corrupt, hawkish, war criminal … yes I said it, who has more dodgy connections in power centres internationally than the fupping internet.
          Actually no, not really a surprise when you think for half a second…..

          Well done to the DNC the other half of the corrupted failed state bank-run system, you reap what you sow…. thanks for literally handing it all over to an orangutan pretending to be Biff Tannen from back to the future 3.

          :-J

  15. Junkface

    The fact that people voted in Trump, a wannabe Fascist shows that a huge population are totally ignorant of History. This is what happens when you cut Education repeatedly over 75 years. An American school education isn’y worth a damn. Irish education has been underfunded for a good 20 years now, standards are getting lower, the result is more ignorance and stupidity. Ireland has to import Mathematicians and some scientists from other countires because we cannot provide them here.
    The UK lowered their average standards of Education a long time ago because its cheaper and the Tories love cheap (also Blairs labour). Something has to give with all of these cuts to education and that is, people make more ignorant decisions as they are getting their news from Facebook links and videos. The demise of the Newspaper print industry also is making a massive change to how we share accurate facts and information.
    I recently had an argument with a 22 year Irish lad, who seemed to be normal enough until he opened his mouth and started spouting pro Trump nonsense and the fact that ALL of the ‘Media’ was biased. Along with the usual Hillary murders babies stuff. I was shocked, he was totally brainwashed by the sh1t on Facebook and infowars.com. What happened to his brain? I questioned him on WW2 and Fascists, he seemed to be a bit vague on the whole thing, like it was bits and pieces of movies he saw, but not like it actually happened less than 100 years ago! I didn’t know that we could have idiots like this in Ireland but we can. This is how ISIS radicalizes young muslim kids.

    1. Kieran NYC

      +1

      So much this. If Democrats wanted to make sure they win elections long term, they need to fund the crap out of education.

    2. Dόn Pídgéόní

      It’s not just poorer education. People who should know better get sucked into it just as much – the inability to critically appraise information and go straight for the conspiracy is widespread.

    3. :-Joe

      You’re fairly clueless yourself if you think Trump is a “wannabe facist”, the level of education per capita has lowered in general over 75 years in the US and somehow that “radicalizes young muslim kids”.

      Trump is just a crooked opportunist… but smarter and more devious than most people have noticed over fifty years apparently. He is not politically or idealogically motivated. You’re confusing corrupt greed and narcissim with facism / authoritarianism.

      Literacy and numeracy levels are always rising for the most part but the constant attacks on funding, the dumbing down indoctrination and brainwashing in all areas of education seems to be on a fairly steady balanced even keel.

      Radicalization is easy when your repeatedly being illegally attacked by terrorist forces i.e. the US-run NATO aliance, supported by zionism and other rogue states like Saudia Arabia who intervene in your soverign state political affairs and will illegally bomb your culture into the stone age whenever they see fit.

      All of the mass media corporations of mainstream US are/were pro-clinton, even the pro-republican media outlets were critical or stood back from promoting Trump in any usual way.

      :-J

  16. Truth in the News

    Abolish all Public Sector Pensions and pay instead the Old Age Pension
    the pensions being paid to the public sector bear no relation to the contributions
    in fact they would not make up a fraction of the pension paid out, no wonder
    the country is bankrupt as first example all politican’s should in future be paid
    only the Old Age Pension on reaching 66 and if still in office nothing.

    1. SOQ

      BS at least center the text on the page? It is too close on the left had side and makes reading difficult.

  17. It Was All A Dream

    What a load of poo. Let’s all forget about ourselves, disregard the protection of our mental health. Why is the author allowed a soapbox?

  18. Protectthe8th

    Finally people have woken up to the global elite like Killary and are looking towards populists who represent the common man

    This man will secure the borders, provide adequate military funding and finally show Islamists the west is not going to put up with their barbaric ways

    1. President von Clownstick

      I am going to represent the common man bigly by appointing the head of jp Morgan for treasury!!*&

  19. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

    David,
    This may have been said by someone else already. I didn’t read most of the comments.
    Please, pay no attention to the personal attacks you received in the above comments.
    Your critics wouldn’t dare write anything without a pseudonym to hide behind.
    Keep going, keep improving and never give in. Dont let them stop you.

  20. :-Joe

    TLDR ???

    Just read the last couple of words and try to become a more active citizen who takes part in creating a democracy.

    i.e. – ” TAKE RESPONSIBILITY ”

    Well said btw., it is sad that many people don’t care enough to recognise the reality or even want to and maybe help do anything about it.

    :-J

  21. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

    :-Joe, you’re hilarious.
    Stop trying to start fights and begin a career in Comedy.
    Find a partner and form a duo.
    – You could be the dopey one. You’re a natural.

    1. :-Joe

      Fights??… nah….

      Right so, I’ll be your straight man….

      You can be the other dopey one, called “even more dumberer”…..

      :-J

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