Is there no end to this man’s monstrosity the internet howls. He eats kittens for breakfast, that bastard. For the love of Obama!
However if you’re quick you might have guessed that I made the above quote up. But many memes like this for Trump and Clinton exist and did you even know they were made up? I didn’t.
During my time as a history undergraduate I was taught to analyse documents and verify sources both primary and secondary. I was trained to identity evidence of propaganda or political bias in texts. These are also basic skills they teach in school, so why do we abandon all sense of reason when it comes to reading online news?
Trumps recent election win set me and millions of others thinking, how did this happen?
Well I have no answers but I do think we all have to look at ourselves and take some responsibility. We sit in our armchairs sharing amusing memes on social media and think smugly to ourselves “I’m glad I’m not a racist”. But here’s the thing not everyone who voted Trump, or leave for that matter, are racists, not by a long shot.
And not all the “news” you see online is true. Yet we blindly accept what is fed to us. There is no discourse, no analysis of the facts, there is no constructive challenge offered to the views we profess to find abhorrent.
People are angry for a reason and everyone should have the right to express their fears (even if we don’t agree). And what happened to sympathy for the losing party? Now we just gloat and tell the other person to shut up and accept democracy. I’m not sure that’s what democracy should mean.
Here’s my challenge to you and myself; let’s get out of our armchairs, let’s stop with the under researched reactionary online petitions (yes I’m guilty of this too) and the liberal whinging and whining and get outside and talk to each other, let’s join a local community action group or political party, let’s think about a news story before we share it (is it real?) and let’s try and action some actual change. I’m not endorsing racist or misogynist views but I am saying can’t we at least try to understand why someone would feel so disenfranchised that they would vote Trump. Let’s engage our minds and our compassion and treat each other with respect.
Special mention and thank you to the website Cracked who offered some of the best analysis of the election. Specifically David Wong’s article Don’t Panic, which inspired some of my reflections today.