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Opinion

November 17, 2016

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Democracy’s verdict

Democracy’s verdict

Donald Trump has taken the world by surprise and proved all predictions wrong. Most of us believed he was his own worst enemy and Hillary would beat him even if she did nothing against him. But he had his hands on the pulse of a people who had problems with the existing order of things and wanted someone to represent their frustrations and nightmares. Now everyone needs to adjust themselves to the Trump reality and live with it for the next four years.

Assumptions about Trump and what he stood for have already done a huge damage and so it seems plausible to avoid making more assumptions and predictions about him. It was assumed that Trump talked racism which the Americans so earnestly despise and that he would bite the dust but that proved wrong. White superiority is still deeply embedded in American society which, though people rarely express in public, resurrects itself in different forms. Trump banked on popular sentiments and earned huge dividends.

Trump was presumed to lose because of his rude and nude comments on immigrants, Muslims, and women. The Hillary camp, Michelle Obama included, tried to paint Trump as a misogynist and a vulgar braggart by popularising the slogan, “when they go low, we go high” as if to tell the people how a presidential candidate should have behaved in private years ago.

One does not condone Trump for his abusive language but it needs to be put in juxtaposition to euphuisms used for brutalities committed in Afghanistan and Iraq. Harsh words hurt but they do not kill people in millions. Decency and justice are not mutually exclusive values. He would be a better president if he differentiates between politics and policies.  

Another flawed assumption was to expect more from a vast experience of public service than it actually counted. Hillary kept the ship of experience afloat throughout the campaign without knowing its negative fallout on people who wanted fresh air and change.

Americans are known to be enterprising people and give relatively more importance to new ideas and models than tried and tested solutions. They actually revolted against an establishment which let them down in Syria and Iraq and which failed to compete well against the rising China and Russia.

Hillary promised inclusiveness and unity with the assumption that people valued it more than security. But talking less on security and more on unity seems to have conveyed a message of accepting terrorism as an unbeatable phenomenon with Muslims absconding on their collective responsibility to disown terrorists living in their social dominion.

Trump assured Americans of unassailable security even at the cost of marginalising Muslims and restricting civil liberties. The card appeared to have worked beyond expectations. It was a repeat of Brexit and the rise of right-wing politics in Europe.

The unexpected ascension of Trump to the most coveted position has certainly caused uproar and consternation everywhere but it should be accepted precisely for the reason that he has won fairly and squarely. He cannot be blamed for using state machinery and money to orchestrate the polls in his favour.

Democracy is not a perfect form of governance. It has many inherent flaws. The ideal of democracy demands rationality as the basis of making choices, with people free from coercion as well as the influence of distorted information. So long as there is no other system to bring up prudent and honest people to rule, we should all accept the verdict of people under the democratic order.

 

The writer teaches at the Sarhad
University. Email:[email protected]

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