Lib­eral ex­trem­ism cost Clin­ton win

Jamaica Gleaner - - SATURDAY TALK - Su­san Allen Guest Colum­nist

IWAS not to­tally sur­prised by the Trump vic­tory last Tues­day night for two rea­sons – the eco­nomic and the cul­tural.

On the eco­nomic front, I think the in­come in­se­cu­rity and gen­eral fi­nan­cial malaise felt by those whose work­ing lives have been dis­rupted by the glob­al­i­sa­tion of labour and the ad­vance­ment of tech­nol­ogy in the work­place is real.

One just has to think back to the world­wide anti-glob­al­i­sa­tion protests in 1999 to recog­nise that while the ed­u­cated tech­nocrats were mak­ing deals, or­di­nary peo­ple sensed that there was some­thing rot­ten in Den­mark. They have since seen their jobs dis­ap­pear as cor­po­ra­tions nat­u­rally take ad­van­tage of the ef­fi­ciency brought by ac­cess to global labour mar­kets and or­gan­ise their busi­nesses in a glob­alised con­text, as tech­nol­ogy now per­mits.

The com­plex­i­ties of global trade agree­ments are dif­fi­cult to ex­plain to the com­mon man and woman who lose jobs as a re­sult, and it was eas­ier to blame the Mexicans and other im­mi­grants. No one both­ered to ex­plain that cheap Mex­i­can farm labour means af­ford­able fruit and veg­eta­bles for or­di­nary Amer­i­cans; only rich lib­eral veg­e­tar­i­ans would be able to af­ford fruit and veg­eta­bles if Amer­i­can farm­ers had to pay blue-col­lar white men to pick pro­duce.

And so pro­tec­tion­ist, anti-im­mi­gra­tion talk won the day.

On the cul­tural front, a ma­jor­ity of Trump vot­ers wanted con­ser­va­tive val­ues to in­form ap­point­ments to the Supreme Court. I think the well-ed­u­cated lib­er­als who pop­u­late the me­dia, polling or­gan­i­sa­tions and the Demo­cratic Party were liv­ing in an ide­o­log­i­cal echo cham­ber for so long that they for­got that or­di­nary dwellers of mid­dle Amer­ica – that great mass of land be­tween the two coasts – do not share their cul­tural views on abor­tion, gay mar­riage, af­fir­ma­tive ac­tion and a host of is­sues dear to the pro­gres­sive lib­er­als. In fact, the echo-cham­ber me­dia lib­er­als in­habit drowns out op­pos­ing views as anti-woman, ho­mo­pho­bic or racist, with the re­sult that the lib­er­als have ended up tak­ing the most ex­treme stances on these is­sues.

For ex­am­ple, dur­ing the de­bate, the only men­tion Hil­lary Clin­ton made about abor­tion was to de­fend late-term abortions. I con­sider my­self a rea­son­able pro-choice woman, but I was aghast when I heard her com­ments de­fend­ing late-term abor­tion as a quasiright. Why not just de­fend the ma­jor­ity of abortions that are first-trimester pro­ce­dures sought by clearly des­per­ate women and leave the very rare med­i­cally com­plex late-term pro­ce­dures out of the dis­cus­sion?

Pro-lif­ers bait pro-choice lib­er­als by high­light­ing the more grue­some

as­pects of late-term abor­tion and lib­er­als take the bait and de­fend it as a right, when it might be more po­lit­i­cally as­tute to re­gard late-term abortions as med­i­cally com­plex is­sues best left to med­i­cal men and women and de­fend the right of the ma­jor­ity of women to seek safe abortions in the first trimester in the rare cir­cum­stances when they choose to.


When Hil­lary de­fended late-term abortions, what Mid­dle Amer­ica heard was that Hil­lary Clin­ton de­fends killing near-term ba­bies, not that Hil­lary Clin­ton sup­ports the rights of women to choose their re­pro­duc­tive fu­ture.

On the is­sue of gay rights, I do not be­lieve that the or­di­nary reli­gious man or woman of Mid­dle Amer­ica be­lieves in gay mar­riage or in gay cou­ples adopt­ing chil­dren, or hav­ing chil­dren through ar­ti­fi­cial means. And vilifying peo­ple who hold these views as ho­mo­pho­bic does not change their minds; it only alien­ates them.

So, when the Supreme Court gave gays the right to marry, many peo­ple found the idea of­fen­sive, but per­haps never gave it much thought un­til gay peo­ple started re­port­ing mom-and-pop bak­ers who refuse to make gay wed­ding cakes to govern­ment reg­u­la­tors, who promptly fined them more than $135,000.

Since this in­ci­dent, I am sure this mom-and-pop baker has been go­ing to church and shar­ing what from their point of view was the $135,000 price they had to pay for their in­abil­ity to de­fend their reli­gious rights with their church fam­ily and on­line. I would imag­ine they con­cluded, not un­rea­son­ably, that the gays do not only want to de­fend their rights to same-sex mar­riage but they want to force oth­ers to

sup­port this new right im­me­di­ately and un­ques­tion­ingly, not­with­stand­ing a 2,000-year Chris­tian his­tory, which de­fines mar­riage as a union be­tween a man and a woman.

Did the gay cou­ple re­ally have to re­port the mom-and-pop bak­ery to reg­u­la­tors? I would be will­ing to bet that this cou­ple have peo­ple in their own fam­i­lies that are not on board with gay mar­riage. Couldn’t they, in their joy­ful pre-mar­riage state of mind, give mo­mand-pop baker a piece of their mind and go to a large bak­ery chain less likely to ques­tion a cake for a gay wed­ding?

Why re­port them, ex­pose them to a large fine just be­cause they have not come on board with a newly minted right granted by the Supreme Court? When men and women of Mid­dle Amer­ica hear sto­ries like these, they think, not un­rea­son­ably, that the is­sue of gay rights has got out of hand.

Sim­i­larly, ech-cham­ber lib­er­als have no idea that when they push the right of trans­gen­ders to use the bath­room cor­re­spond­ing to the sex they iden­tify as, what moth­ers of young girls in Mid­dle Amer­ica hear is that they want to put men – and per­verted men, too, since this is the tack many or­di­nary peo­ple take on trans­gen­der men – in the bath­room with ‘my young daugh­ter’.

The US Supreme Court will, in my view, head in a new di­rec­tion, and it will be very in­ter­est­ing to see where world­wide gay ac­tivists turn when the US Supreme Court, the ver­i­ta­ble guardian of gay rights, changes its mind and re­verses it­self on gay mar­riage, abor­tion and other is­sues that lib­er­als care about. Email feed­back to col­umns@glean­ and su­


For­mer Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton em­braces his wife, Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton, as Demo­cratic vice-pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, Sen­a­tor Tim Kaine ap­plauds in New York last Wed­nes­day, where she con­ceded her de­feat to Re­pub­li­can Don­ald Trump af­ter the hard­fought pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

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