Six months ago I predicted that Trump would most likely win the US election. The official opinion polls told the opposite story, that Hillary was the preferred candidate, but my reading of the situation was different.
It was mid-July, and I was attending a talk given by Elizabeth Economy, Director for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Economy gave a wonderful speech, and she shared her view that a Trump victory would be truly unthinkable. This was the consensus in the room. However, despite her convictions, and the pro-Hillary audience, Economy couldn’t help smiling broadly every time she mentioned Trump’s name.
This was extremely telling.
It has been said that emotion makes people act, and logical makes them think. Trump is a man who clearly knows how to connect with people’s emotions, while Hillary is woman with a lot of knowledge, experience and intellect.
And so, it occurred to me that if a thoughtful intellectual type who strongly opposed Trump’s candidacy was having trouble resisting his charm, brand, charisma, call it what you will, then what hope had everybody else?
What hope indeed.
Donald Trump is now president-elect of the United States of America.
Who is to blame?
No single person or event is to blame, perhaps, but I believe a culture of political correctness in the West is one of the causes that has contributed towards America’s current predicament.
Let me share a brief anecdote.
A few days before the US election I shared with friends on Facebook my view that both candidates were bad choices for president.
On the one hand, Donald Trump, a man who hurls abuse at Mexicans, Muslims and anyone who tries to challenge him, inspires fanatical devotion in his followers and, based on everything we know about his behaviour, given the opportunity Trump will not hesitate to make a show of strength or take steps to enhance his own power. A potentially dangerous temperament.
On the other hand, Hillary Clinton, an intelligent, hard-working and ambitious career politician who has survived and thrived in a broken political system by adopting a public and private persona, and at times appears to have placed pragmatism over principle (shown by her decision to accept donations to the Clinton Foundation from Qatar and Saudi Arabia, known funders of terrorism, while she was Secretary of State).
Wonderful! Two wonderful choices!
I didn’t want Trump to win, but both candidates had clear weaknesses, and I thought I had a right to comment.
Shortly after sharing these thoughts on Facebook, I deleted the post. I was under attack from a number of my pro-Hillary friends, and so I ducked for cover.
How dare I say anything negative about Hillary!!!???
How dare I indeed.
My feeling is that the political thought police are doing America and the West a grave dis-service and causing more harm than good.
What kind of societies do we want to live in?
Ones where people have to tip-toe around and only share their true thoughts in private or at the ballot box?
Or ones where ideas and issues are openly and candidly debated and discussed?
Hopefully you will agree that openness and debate are the best option.
But don’t just take my word for it. Have a listen to the wise and amusing words of Jonathan Pie (the satirical news reporter played by Tom Walker). Foul language warning! You might not want to play this if you are in the workplace, or if you are sensitive to the F-word.
(Image Source: Odyssey)