Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

This blog is written by Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Posts appear Monday & Wednesday.

Competing Worldviews

Attempting to understand why people vote the way they do is more useful than sneering at half a country’s population.

In advance of tomorrow’s mid-term election, it’s worth remembering that different groups of Americans, all with goodwill in their hearts, nevertheless prioritize different issues. For some people, economic prosperity is top of the list. For others, combating oppression is the moral imperative.

Thomas Klingenstein, the chairman of the Claremont Institute, an unabashedly patriotic US think tank, has written an insightful essay titled Our House Divided: Multiculturalism vs America.

As he uses the term, ‘multiculturalism’ encompasses more than ethnic diversity. It is a distinct political philosophy, the one now being force fed to American college kids by supporters of only one political party.

Multiculturalism goes hand-in-hand with identity politics and political correctness. In the name of championing the oppressed, it is a social revolution that undermines community cohesion. Its rhetoric incessantly divides Americans into hostile tribes rather than knitting the country into a harmonious whole.

Klingenstein’s long, thought-provoking essay is worth a careful read. Here are a few quotes:

During the 2016 campaign, Trump exposed multiculturalism as the revolutionary movement it is…Trump exposed this threat by standing up to it and its enforcement arm, political correctness. Indeed, he made it his business to kick political correctness in the groin on a regular basis. In countless variations of crassness, he said over and over exactly what political correctness prohibits one from saying…at a time when they were the most needful things to say, and he said them as only he could, with enough New York “attitude” to jolt the entire country. Then, to add spicy mustard to the pretzel, he identified the media as not just anti-truth, but anti-American.

…I think the explanation for Trump’s victory is actually quite straightforward and literal: Americans, plenty of whom still have common sense and are patriotic, voted for Trump for the very reason he said they should vote for him, to put America first or, as his campaign slogan had it, “to make America great again”…the impulse for electing Trump was patriotic, the defense of one’s own culture, rather than racist.

…The election was fought not so much over policies, character, email servers, or James Comey, as it was over the meaning of America. Trump’s wall was not so much about keeping foreigners out as it was a commitment to a distinctive country; immigration, free trade, and foreign policy were about protecting our own…Trump was raising the question, “Who are we as a nation?” He answered by being Trump, a man made in America, unmistakably and unapologetically American, and like most of his fellow citizens, one who does not give a hoot what Europeans or intellectuals think.

As a Canadian who keeps her eye on British, European, and Australian politics, I think some proportion of the citizenry of other nations have concerns that are comparable to those of Americans who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and who may do so again tomorrow. Klingenstein avoids saying so, but his version of multiculturalism describes left-wing political thought across much of the globe.

Leftists used to care about the common man. Now, they spend their time policing what the common man is allowed to say in public. There’s little connection between ordinary folk – particularly rural, small town, and working class folk – and the unrelenting identity politics promoted by the elitist, progressive voices dominant in capital cities, universities, and the media.

Ordinary people don’t care about transgenderism, for example. Restrooms are trivially irrelevant if you’re unemployed, obliged to wait unconscionably long for medical care, struggling to find affordable housing, or your kids’ math scores are plummeting.

We don’t know how Americans will vote tomorrow. But it’s surely more useful to try to understand why people vote the way they do than to walk around with sneering contempt for half of a country’s population.

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This entry was posted on November 5, 2018 by in ethical & philosophical, media and tagged .
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