I don’t like to get political, so I won’t. I want to make it clear that I’m not affiliated with, nor a proponent of, either political party in the USA. I am not even an American. I am speaking as an outsider living among Americans, and my views are simply that: my views. Furthermore, I am not even expressing my personal views in this post. I am aware that some people might be upset by me writing this, but that would only support more strongly the point that I want to make in this post. I am putting this in the “social issues” section.
I am just going to use this opportunity to talk about something that was discussed previously, but the point, I think is more driven home during this ‘special event’ of the inauguration. Namely, people pretending that they are open to other opinions, when really they want people simply to agree with their own opinions.
So, Trump won. People went insane from both sides. I want to mostly focus on those, though, who were upset about his win and expressed publicly their outrage at the event. I am focusing on them, because they are the ones who show the point clearly that I want to make.
When the news broke, the Canadian immigration website went down because of traffic to its site. Celebrities made bold claims about leaving the country and some even said they would be willing to drop their citizenship. That’s on the highest level. On a smaller level, friends unfriended friends on Facebook for their political views. People who found out that Aunts and Uncles, or God-forbid, even some priests had voted for Trump, that they no longer had a place in the Church or community, and thus had to find a new religion or a new family. I had never witnessed this level of emotional sensationalism in my life.
Within one week after the voting was done, I heard a news anchor or guest on CNN say, “Ever since the Trump era began, we have seen a decrease in freedom of speech”. I was unaware that a Trump era existed, that it could exist before his inauguration, and furthermore, that he had already put forth policy that limited freedom of speech. If he were able to have done this, whether for good or bad, that’s a mark of a charismatic and impressive leader. Yet, many who would not like to support Trump would not want to call him charismatic or impressive.
So, as we said, Trump won. Now, theoretically, a democracy allows for people to have multiple views, and in some definitions, it means that the majority get to decide on a ‘thing’ or an ‘issue’. It also usually means that people are allowed to possess other views, but that the decision-making processes would be made by either a majority of the people, or by a majority of those elected by the people to decide on issues on their behalf.
If that is what the system is supposed to do, then I am baffled why people are upset. The system worked. People voted. Actually, many people voted, and the majority of them said that they want this person to be the new president. Some people questioned this vote, and a revote was done, and they found that the votes not only reaffirmed the results, but reaffirmed them more strongly in the current president’s favour. Yet, the people who did not want him as president, are upset.
Now, most people would say that the reason that people are upset, is because they think that he is a misogynist, a bigot, a racist or a host of other horrible things. I am not here to confirm or deny that he is any of those things, because, truly, I do not know if he is actually any of those things or not. Here is the problem, though, on what basis is anything that he thinks or says actually deemed wrong?
In a pluralistic society, people value and uphold that there can be many different groups, principles or sources of authority that coexist. It would appear, that Trump has his own principles, and that, apparently, many Americans share them with him. In a pluralistic society, that’s supposed to be allowed, yet it causes strife in this situation. Why are people angry that other people think differently than themselves if we are claiming to be pluralistic?
I would think, that someone will come back and say, well, “we Americans go back to the Constitution”, and one could retort back with two things:
a) He swears to uphold the Constitution, and if he does not, there are systems and weights in balance to ensure that he does and
b) The Constitution is a man-made document made in a particular context that is subject to debate and reinterpretation
I hope that you see the conundrum that I feel we are facing.
People want to call Trump and his ideals wrong. Forget Trump. They want to call certain things wrong – people, ideas, philosophies, ideologies, suggestions or events – but they do not know on what basis they get to actually define a thing as wrong. So, they may fall back to the Constitution as the authority. The Constitution is a man-made document. Laws today are a result of votes and the opinion of the masses. The original constitution had stuff in it that today people disagree with and amended. Why did they get to change the document for those things which were amended and not other things? It’s because the document is not infallible, because it is contextual and thus open to discussion. Who got to decide that it should be amended? The democratic people who allowed for it to be changed. Surely there were people who opposed previous amendments, so what is the problem with people having certain values today? Who gets to decide, objectively what is considered a regression and what is a progression? Who, when everything is a vote, gets to decide that, and on what basis? If we go back to the Constitution, we’re back to a circular argument. We’re back to a human-made (and thus relativistic) document deciding what is right or wrong, while also allowing humans to change the same document that we are calling authoritative. How bizarre.
Again, I’m not even remotely trying to suggest, before many people accuse me of this (and I’m sure some will), that I agree with Trump or wanted him to win. I’m not trying to say that we should change laws to persecute people. Yet, people are using their majority status to bully others. Sometimes when we do not get what we want, we whine and complain and take action when we are simply upset that someone disagrees with us. I am trying to say, that the vote of many people neither makes something right nor wrong.
If you are basing right and wrong on the vote of the people, then apparently Trump is right, and nobody should whine or complain. If we are basing it on the vote of the people, many things currently deemed wrong in the constitution were apparently somehow right at some other time. Which parts of the Constitution should never have been changed and which parts ought to have been kept?
Since, however, people do not have real authority to what they say most of the time, they say things with conviction under the assumption that most people already agree with them. Those who do not agree with their worldview, and again, I’m not talking about Trump here anymore, I’m speaking generally, are seen as less enlightened, or as supporters of something wrong.
In other words here’s the prevailing attitude:
Believe what you want as long as you agree with me.
I am right because I believe I am right.
I am right because a lot of people think I am right.
This election has shown me the hypocrisy of contemporary society: that people claim to respect the views of others, and yet when others strongly disagree with them, they are viewed as people that shouldn’t be lived with, people that one shouldn’t pray with, or a nation from which one should escape. Why? Because they disagree on principles, all while pretending that disagreement is okay.
The real issue, is that people pretend to believe that they believe that there’s not just ‘one truth’. They say they believe that everyone has his or her “own truth”. The reality, is that each person in spite of saying the opposite, believes that his or her “own” truth, is the right truth, or the ”real truth”, why else would they believe in it if they did not think so? So, when our so-called individual truths “collide”, suddenly we have a problem, because we are no longer able to pretend that we agree when we actually quite truly disagree. Suddenly, there’s a confrontation, and it’s clear from the example of this election, that people do not seem to handle disagreement all that well! They are not as well and pluralistic as they might have believed. They are not as open-minded as they once thought. Why? Because nobody is standing on real leg of Absolute Truth, but on a crutch of humanly-manufactured relativistic truth.
So, some will find this post irreligious, but it’s not entirely so (and I don’t mind if it is!). For those who see the Truth as relative, this conflict described will always exist, because people will always have opinions.
For those of us who believe in Absolute Truth, that Truth is liberating, and that Truth stands whether Trump, Hilary or Pinocchio swear the oath. For those of us who want it, we have a God-given constitution of His Image and Likeness. Thus, right is right because it is right, and not because of any human’s opinion of it. Truth is only truth if it is actually and objectively true.
“I am the Truth” – Jesus.