Dear Left Wing,
Today is not a bad day. Today is not the day to lament the rise of Trump. Today is not the day to mourn the failure of Bernie Sanders. Today is not the day to say “what if”. Today is not the day to navel gaze. Today is not a bad day. Today is an opportunity.
The polarisation of the US electorate is a global warning shot to the “way we always done things”. It tells everyone who believes the best way to emerge from the stagnation and austerity of the last decade is more of the same, is not going to be accepted by the electorate. The politics of sameness has been well and truly battered.
The battle lines for the future are made more clear by Trumps election victory than they would have been if Hillary had won. The onus is now on those who stand for progressive and inclusive policies to challenge the politics of protectionism and isolationism.
This is an opportunity for the Left to coalesce, put aside internal spats and adopt a united front that will stand against the politics of regression.
Today’s outcome has given authenticity to some of the most base and repugnant of human views. Fear pervades the victorious narrative and the only reason fear won is because those who stand for progress allowed it to stifle their own message.
Let’s not blame the media. In fact, let’s not waste any time in blame-throwing. Grasp the nettle and take this chance. In Ireland the political landscape is more fractured than the Burren. The opinion polls show a steady flip flop between the “Fianna Gael” parties and a conglomerate of infighting Left Wing Parties.
There’s a large part of the Irish electorate (Right and Left) that are delighted with the Trump election. The Left must move towards these people, find out why they feel disenfranchised and offer them a vision for a brighter future. The Left must show this cohort that the alternative to the politics of fear is nothing to be feared.
There’s a large part of the Irish electorate (Left and Right) that are horrified with the Trump election. The Left must reach out to these people, show them how this is the opportunity we need for change. Ask them to help deliver a brighter future. The Left must use these new battle lines in the war of ideas to create a politics that can be taken seriously.
I’m an optimist. These political fractures are only superficial. The fact that it has happened in the US, shows the world that disillusionment and anger can shake the world. Imagine what healing enlightenment and cooperation could bring. Today is an opportunity for this process to start.
Opportunity knocks. Will you open the door or hide away?
Tony Groves – November 2016