December 16, 2016
Let me start this post by reiterating my view that a Trump Presidency carries various undeniable risks. Specifically, his stated views on civil liberties as well as a recent embrace of Wall Street, leaves much to be desired.
That said, if you want to effectively push back against the real risks Trump presents, it’s important you live in reality. Hysterically comparing him to Hitler, or saying he’s going to put Muslims in concentration camps, is a surefire way to incinerate your credibility and strengthen Trump’s support amongst the public. Trying to steal the office from him via an extremely dangerous and irresponsible coup attempt is equally foolish. These tactics only serve to strengthen Trump.
This is because a majority of Americans simply weren’t really into Trump or Hillary. Many of these people voted for Trump not because they like him or his policies, but because they just wanted to put up a gigantic middle finger in the face of the establishment and the mainstream media. Whether or not Trump is really such a middle finger is highly questionable, but that’s not the point. The point is enough people didn’t buy into the hysterical claims about Trump in the run up to the election, otherwise he wouldn’t have won. The lesson Trump opposition should have learned from Hillary’s loss is that the “just act like insane lunatics” approach to Trump doesn’t work against him. This would’ve been the logical conclusion reached upon genuine reflection and introspection, but this is not what happened.
Indeed, what many so called “liberals” have done in their post-election meltdown is fully embrace exactly what they have always accused the opposition of being — warmongering, racist, hateful, insensitive lunatics. In their clouded hysteria, many of these people are turning into the monsters they claim to be fighting.
For more on this, see recent articles:
The example I will highlight today comes from Tim Wise. Let me be clear about something before I move forward. I have nothing personally against Tim. In fact, I had never even heard of him before today. A quick look at his bio doesn’t point to anything nefarious or hateful. He appears to be a guy who is genuinely compassionate about fighting racism. Like so many others who are no longer thinking clearly, he appears to have fully descended into the gutter and risks becoming indistinguishable from those he condemns.
First, Tim’s entire career seems to be dedicated to anti-rascist activism. As is seen from his Twitter profile.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of his recent tweets:
…Sorry but only white people romanticize jobs their daddies and granddaddies did and want them passed on 2 their kids. POC know better
— Tim Wise (@timjacobwise) December 13, 2016
W/each new day I know why part of my family left shithole of imperial Russia. 100 years after last rev lets hope 4 another1 #ComeAtMeBroski
— Tim Wise (@timjacobwise) December 15, 2016
Seriously when your contribution to the world is Faberge eggs, autocracy and pogroms, no one should much care what you think.
— Tim Wise (@timjacobwise) December 15, 2016
I have no idea if the above is representative of how this person has conducted himself over the years, but I’ll assume that it isn’t. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume his unhinged hate-mongering is the result of a mental breakdown following Donald Trump’s election. It’s not just him, of course. This mental collapse has clouded the judgement of so many self-proclaimed “liberals,” and resulted in them acting exactly like the monsters they profess to fight.
Beyond that point, the even larger issue is that although the type of commentary above might feel good in the moment, it is incredibly damaging to one’s reputation and does irreparable harm to any real attempt to oppose Trump. Nobody who isn’t already a card-carrying Hillary Clinton cultist or deranged neoconservative is going to read his tweets for the first time and think, “yeah, this guy’s really on to something.” Those are the people he is appealing to, and in the process he gleefully disparages an entire nation (Russia) as well as an entire race (white people).
Which brings me to the most depressing realization about the fake left. If you want to frame your entire political identity as a warrior against demonization and hate, you can’t merely apply this to select groups. Unfortunately, for many of these people, xenophobic commentary about Russia, as well as condescending language about poor white people is fair game. In its haze of anti-Trump anger, the fake left cannot even recognize its own disturbing hypocrisy, and this deranged attitude will be its undoing.
While this post has so far focused on the wrong way to oppose Trump, what’s the right way? For a perfect example, I turn to someone I’ve featured on these pages on numerous occasions, computer security expert Bruce Schneier. Bruce is no fan of Trump, but due to his ability to remain cogent and clearheaded, he is able to thoughtfully and effectively outline the ways in which he plans to resist.
From his post, My Priorities for the Next Four Years:
I spent the last month both coming to terms with this reality, and thinking about the future. Here is my new agenda for the next four years:
One, fight the fights. There will be more government surveillance and more corporate surveillance. I expect legislative and judicial battles along several lines: a renewed call from the FBI for backdoors into encryption, more leeway for government hacking without a warrant, no controls on corporate surveillance, and more secret government demands for that corporate data. I expect other countries to follow our lead. (The UK is already more extreme than us.) And if there’s a major terrorist attack under Trump’s watch, it’ll be open season on our liberties. We may lose a lot of these battles, but we need to lose as few as possible and as little of our existing liberties as possible.
Two, prepare for those fights. Much of the next four years will be reactive, but we can prepare somewhat. The more we can convince corporate America to delete their saved archives of surveillance data and to store only what they need for as long as they need it, the safer we’ll all be. We need to convince Internet giants like Google and Facebook to change their business models away from surveillance capitalism. It’s a hard sell, but maybe we can nibble around the edges. Similarly, we need to keep pushing the truism that privacy and security are not antagonistic, but rather are essential for each other.
Three, lay the groundwork for a better future. No matter how bad the next four years get, I don’t believe that a Trump administration will permanently end privacy, freedom, and liberty in the US. I don’t believe that it portends a radical change in our democracy. (Or if it does, we have bigger problems than a free and secure Internet.) It’s true that some of Trump’s institutional changes might take decades to undo. Even so, I am confident — optimistic even — that the US will eventually come around; and when that time comes, we need good ideas in place for people to come around to. This means proposals for non-surveillance-based Internet business models, research into effective law enforcement that preserves privacy, intelligent limits on how corporations can collect and exploit our data, and so on.
And four, continue to solve the actual problems. The serious security issues around cybercrime, cyber-espionage, cyberwar, the Internet of Things, algorithmic decision making, foreign interference in our elections, and so on aren’t going to disappear for four years while we’re busy fighting the excesses of Trump. We need to continue to work towards a more secure digital future. And to the extent that cybersecurity for our military networks and critical infrastructure allies with cybersecurity for everyone, we’ll probably have an ally in Trump.
Those are my four areas. Under a Clinton administration, my list would have looked much the same. Trump’s election just means the threats will be much greater, and the battles a lot harder to win. It’s more than I can possibly do on my own, and I am therefore substantially increasing my annual philanthropy to support organizations like EPIC, EFF, ACLU, and Access Now in continuing their work in these areas.
My agenda is necessarily focused entirely on my particular areas of concern. The risks of a Trump presidency are far more pernicious, but this is where I have expertise and influence.
Right now, we have a defeated majority. Many are scared, and many are motivated — and few of those are applying their motivation constructively. We need to harness that fear and energy to start fixing our society now, instead of waiting four or even eight years, at which point the problems would be worse and the solutions more extreme. I am choosing to proceed as if this were cowpox, not smallpox: fighting the more benign disease today will be much easier than subjecting ourselves to its more virulent form in the future. It’s going to be hard keeping the intensity up for the next four years, but we need to get to work. Let’s use Trump’s victory as the wake-up call and opportunity that it is.
That is how you fight back and gain allies, not by throwing temper tantrums and resorting to the same sort of xenophobic hatred and racism you claim to despise.
At the end of the day, Hillary Clinton didn’t lose because of Comey, Russia or miscounted votes. Hillary lost because the Democratic Party rigged its own primary and chose the wrong candidate.
As the following cartoon so accurately depicts:
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This article was posted: Friday, December 16, 2016 at 7:30 am