Andrew Breitbart once proclaimed that “politics is downstream from culture“. The premise of his quote rests upon the observations of many before him, especially those of Marxist persuasion. Breitbart was conspicuously conservative but this simple axiom was not lost on him. The turbulent identity politics promulgated under Obama’s administration set America alight with race riots. Now as the era of Trump begins, the new president will undoubtedly face challenges in putting out the fires of America’s internal culture wars.
Under Obama the US was rendered markedly divided along many lines which include:
- Sexual Orientation
- Political Alignment; and
- Religious Faith
These are the core constituents that form the cultural pillars of national unity (albeit, room should always be made for healthy debate in political dialogue). It is therefore hardly any wonder that America is experiencing the turmoil it is, whilst also slowly losing grip on the hegemony it has experienced over the last few decades. It is a fragmented power and barring a radical change America will continue to decline, ultimately leaving a vacancy which Russia and China would gladly go to war for.
Enter Trump. With the state of affairs as they currently stand, Trump IS radical. For it is radically racist for ‘Whites’ to be proud of their ‘Western’ heritage; it is radically sexist to teach children that there are only two biological genders; it is radical to allow the church to continue its own historical tradition of performing marriage ceremonies between hetero-normative couples exclusively; it is radical to believe that conservatives can ever rise above the level of ‘low effort thinking’; and it is radical to believe that Islamic terrorism is, well, Islamic terrorism. Obama’s legacy is a delusional nightmare which Trump is now inheriting. America is more divided and more full of hatred than ever before at least in my living memory.
Obama tapped into the lowest denominator of the human psyche, to which there are four components. Firstly, there is the culture of victim-hood. This pushes a narrative that all people have historically been and continue to be exploited. Secondly, social justice is equated to equality of outcome. Therefore all people must have access to the good life. Hard work and individual input is irrelevant to the equation. Thirdly, the oppressed must be liberated from all forms of oppression. As the oppression has been culturally and historically reinforced, the current system must be torn down for it is built upon the pillars of illegitimate power. When this combination is supplanted into the collective psyche, and further combined with the most basic human drive – self interest (fourth component) – we arrive at selfishness. Selfishness is the lowest denominator in the collective psyche and as it stands we live in a culture of victim-hood and entitlement.
How did Obama tap into this? To begin with, by virtue of being the first black president. Only a non-white president could convincingly justify non conformity with established power structures because establishment is historically characterized as a symbol of white superiority.
Obama also drove home the message of “change we can believe in” and “hope”. As the first black president, the narrative of ‘hope’ was brought to life by his own election giving credit to his message. Changes to the political system would have to come through changes in culture. Obama’s election represented freedom for black Americans. That message of freedom which was so powerful was transferred to other minority groups. Differences were celebrated as a way to usher in the ‘hope’ and ‘change’ that the oppressed had been waiting for. Whilst social acceptance of these groups had already begun to normalize, Obama made this a center piece of his presidential persona. Without Obama’s ultra progressive approach the oppressors would still be in control.
Implicit in this great celebration was a means to keep people divided. Under the guise of social acceptance, awareness of differences took grip. Coupled with the cultural attitude of victim hood, empowerment at the expense of society and in-group acceptance, society further fragmented into sub-cultural identity groups. Thus each group formed it’s own ‘victim-hood’ profile. Simply critiquing other groups, even if in good faith, became unacceptable.
Sub-cultural groups have long been part of Western societies, especially with youth who would form identity groups based on different music styles for example. These differences were distinct however. These groups intended to increase their political mobility within the social sphere. Their so called pleas for social acceptance seeped into popular culture mediated through Hollywood, social media and news media.
Finally, victim-hood mentality suffused the cultural milieu. The explosion of various oppressed groups in the political discourse allowed a hatred of White culture to galvanize. So pervasive was this feeling that many Whites themselves were swept up in the cultural fervor of anti-White identity politics. White went beyond simply skin color. It became the symbol of exploitative power and thus something more than an ethnic group. It became an institution and lost it’s human characteristics, thus justifying any form of vile attacks.
Add to this cocktail, Obama’s silence on the Islamic connection to terrorism and his silence on the frictions caused by race groups such as Black Lives Matter. This further empowered the vociferous factions of the victim-hood populace.
This is the legacy that Obama is leaving behind for Trump. In many respects one can argue that the phenomenon that is Trump is itself Obama’s legacy. It is a reaction to the divisive politics that Obama implemented.
Where to from here for Trump’s America? His rhetoric surrounding border control should hardly come as a surprise. With America in tatters socially and culturally speaking, it is time to build a more cohesive society. It is time for nation re-building.
That starts by blocking the over whelming flow of illegal immigrants so that the nation can concentrate on healing its own wounds. It is time to start celebrating being American again, regardless of differences. This is the foundation of Trump’s vision which can be surmised by the following quote from his inaugural speech:
When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.
Only when America learns to love what made it great in the first place, can it successfully open it’s borders and offer assimilating immigrants the prosperous life they seek.
Prosperity is synonymous with economic success. Economic success can only come when people have jobs. It is difficult to retain jobs within America if corporations are leaving for cheaper labor off shore. It is therefore only logical to provide incentives and disincentives alike so that companies can stay within the US and offer Americans jobs. This is how political structures should appeal to self interest. By motivating the collective psyche to become productive rather than superficial. This in turn will have an effect on the divided state of affairs we currently see in America.
Law and order is imperative. Criminals and thugs cannot be given political justification to revert to their violent tendencies. It is the reason government was formed. To protect members of a governed society from the over indulgent nature of self interest, without forgoing fundamental freedoms and human rights. As such, movements like Black Lives Matter and Anti-fa should be contained. Give them a platform in the market place of ideas and let the people decide based on intellectual honesty. Violence and intimidation for political purposes has no place in a civilized society.
It seems unlikely that Trump can reverse the damage done, alone. This is not because Obama himself did all the harm. Obama simply dug just a little below the surface and ripped out the institutionalized Marxism which was festering beneath the surface for many, many years.
Rather, Trump has started the movement that is pushing back against the cultural disintegration. It is up to others to help in the push. For if liberal ideology was to take hold again, we can be assured that further disintegration would transpire. To avoid this, Trump must be careful not to stoke the fires of populist division. Appeal to populism must be curtailed to the extent that it is about forming strengthening bonds between the different groups that constitute American society. Lasting unity can only be formed if there is an acceptance to diversity of ideas.
In summary, the culture wars will not magically disappear over night under Trump. The cultural Marxism that had been growing for many years beneath the surface within the institutions, was finally given a conduit to mainstream society through Obama’s administration. Trump will have to navigate this delicate terrain very carefully if he is to start uniting the nation’s splintered sub-cultural groups.