It's Not Left/Right, It's Top/Bottom, And Americans Are Being Played
[Image via Unsplash/Pixabay]
On most issues, Trump people and progressives are in furious agreement, we just can't hear it because of the din of the echo chamber.
I have a confession to make. I sometimes lurk in the r/The_Donald subreddit, where the very Trumpiest of Trump people hang out.
Yeah I know, shameful, but hear me out; it only gets worse. It started off as a journalistic experiment to test the temperature of the electorate, but quickly became one of my favorite (secret) things to do.
Oh man, forgive me but I'm like, the quintessential good girl and these boys are so naughty. They are such naughty naughty boys, and they're so funny and so smart and so... alive. High on testosterone, The Donald, and sh*t-posting. It's a trip.
Anyway, I'm telling you all this because as I was reading through their threads I had an insight about something that I know we've been trying to get our heads around for quite a while.
The divide is top/bottom, not left/right. The left/right divide is completely illusory. We can fight each other all day long on our left or right beliefs but they mean squat until we have power, which we don't as long as the government is lying to us and the media is helping them. The top/bottom divide is real and pernicious but largely invisible.
The only way you can see the top/bottom divide at work is in its absence. Take a look at the issue of refugees and immigration, for example.
The left view is that we should open our arms to all comers, and look after everyone. It's what I think of as a motherly, caring, feminine view -- the left wants to make sure everyone is clothed and fed and looked after because they know that when everyone is content, then they're safe too.
The right view is that we should protect our towns and families from the chaos of immigration. Refugees and displaced people are often traumatized from war, are culturally different, and require a lot of resources that the right believe families need for themselves. It's a very healthy masculine view, the provider and the protector comes to the fore and defends his family to keep them safe and provided for.
Now, we can fight all day about who's getting it right. Whether it's morally right to bring refugees in, or morally right to ensure security for the family, that argument can go on and on and on. And it does, and there is no end to it because the ultimate solution is absent from the debate.
The solution, of course, is to not create refugees in the first place and just stop bombing other countries and funding civil wars. But bottom dwellers don't get to decide that. We used to think we had to give our consent, until we didn't give it anymore and they went ahead anyway. That has been made abundantly clear in the last 15 years, from the Iraq war onwards. It used to be that you had to have the consent of the people, which they would usually do by appealing to that right wing masculine sense of protection by saying it's to keep America safe, and by appealing to the caring sharing side on the left by saying that it's to bring freedom to other countries, but that was just for show, and they don't even bother with that show anymore. Hillary Clinton was only Secretary of State when she committed the American people to the destruction of Libya, and she did it pretty much by herself. She was in an unelected position making that decision, and the people had no say in it.
Pro-tip -- That's how we know she's a top person, and how we know we're not.
To the people at the top, war is convenient way of moving people around, getting cheap labor to cross borders, removing people from areas where they are politically inconvenient, securing more resources and extending their power, moving wage slavery around to wherever labor is cheepest, and causing red-herring arguments between the political left and the political right that they can manipulate and play off each other to tighten their stranglehold. It's a game, reminiscent of the type the Greek gods would play with the humans.
We have no say in it, we don't ever gain from it, and in fact, we are hurt by it in many ways, and one of them is coping with the chaos of refugees flooding in. And while we're furiously arguing over how we should deal with that problem, the people who cause it appear to take one side or the other.
They're globalists. They want open borders, and free trade, and as little protection for workers as possible. They're on both sides of the political spectrum which is why it's confusing. The left globalists make a lot of noise about how we need to be inclusive, and the right globalists make a lot of noise about how we need to secure the borders, but that's all show because they're not left or right, they're globalists and they want this. This is how they do business.
Now here's the thing, and here's what I learned on r/The_Donald. Trump is not a globalist. In fact, he is an anti-globalist, and an anti-interventionist when it comes to war. He wants to stop the wars, protect the workers and stimulate the economy by putting money into building infrastructure.
Which when I say it like that are all things that those of us on the left love. I'm using our lefty terms. But we can't hear it when he says it because it's not in our language. He's not talking to the left, so he's not speaking in our terms, he's using the language of the right.
To our ears, it sounds racist and wrong to say you need to secure your borders from Muslim terrorists, probably because over the years, we've heard neocons (who are just globalists that pander to the right) say that exact thing to try and start another war. But that's not how he means it. He means he'll stop the refugees by stopping the wars. Which is great!
That's a huge difference. He's not using xenophobia to leverage consent for a war like a neocon would. He's using the conceptual landscape of the right to explain an anti-globalist plan.
Through that little keyhole, I can see how similar I am with Trump people. I mean, it always shocks my little lily-livered liberal heart to hear how they talk about Muslims (which is really their only racist thing, and even then they're very much clear that it's the fundy terrorist kind they don't like), but that's because I'm a cuck, or something. Clearly I don't even know how to use that word properly. I'm pretty sure I am a cuck though. I think I gleaned that much.
They are vehemently protective of women and gay people though, and quite vocal about it. When I try to tell my liberal friends that though, they can't believe it -- but they are! The thing is, I always giggle when I try to explain why they're like that. It's kinda awkward. Liberal people never like the reason why. It makes them feel weird in their belly because it clangs off the sides of our echo chamber in a way we're not used to.
They're protective of women and gay people because they are the groups that radical Muslims attack. The Orlando shooting was a galvanizing moment for the Trump people, and one that Trump used to show how incompatible radical Islam is with American values. All the Trump people were going around saying "They killed the gays! Those damn Muslims kill gays!"
That's why his rally roared with approval when he held up the rainbow flag and declared himself "the biggest" supporter of LGBTQ rights.
So in being anti-fundamentalist Muslim, they've become big supporters of those things that fundamentalist Islam and indeed most fundamentalist religions seek to destroy.
To me, that's fantastic. But because it's so different to what we hear here in the liberal echo chamber, it just confuses and scares my friends. We've been conditioned to champion Muslims despite our ideological, religious and lifestyle differences in an effort to stop the stupid wars. The neocons kept trying to tell us their religion was bad so we should bomb them. We ended up trying to say it wasn't bad, to try and stop them from bombing them.
Really, we just wanted the wars to stop. Just like the Trump people. The only difference is the angle with which we're coming from it. We want to protect the families of people in other countries, they want to protect the families back here.
We're like two hands digging from either side of the sandcastle. At some point we're going to meet in the middle.
And that's when we'll bring the whole damn castle down. I can't wait.