It could easily be a picture of two different countries: crowds of smiling, patriotic Trump supporters cheering as their new President announces an end to difficulties for the working class and vows to eradicate radical Islamic terrorism from the face of this planet, as if those are things at which he has any chance of achieving.
And thousands of protestors whose activities ranged from peacefully carrying signs I’m sure many of us might be able to sympathise with:
To proudly blocking entrances to the inauguration site, something for which I have not heard a great amount of condemnation for from prominent ‘liberals’:
To angry mobs of masked and hooded ‘anti-fascist’ thugs smashing windows and hitting people over the head.
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) January 20, 2017
These are the people who talk about ‘safe spaces’. Yet after months of incidents which demonstrate that anyone visibly supporting Trump is quite literally putting themselves in physical danger as well as blocking access to the inauguration these people are still to be found gloating about how today’s turnout was so much lower than at Obama’s inauguration.
They claim to be worried about all kinds of rights – women’s rights, LGBT rights, immigrants’ rights but at the same time demonstrate a sense of complete and utter entitlement to suspend the rights of others and behave however they wish – legally or illegally.
It is sad and sobering – as I wrote about when Trump won the election – to see how repulsive the two sides of this debate find one another. But what has been even sadder (though not at all surprising) has been the manner in which the left has lost all sense of self-awareness and self-reflection. As a result they have doubled down on their narrative and tactics while at the same time coming across as breathtakingly hypocritical – as demonstrated by the violence surrounding the inauguration.
The American people could not have made it clearer when they went to the poles that screaming ‘racist’ and ‘sexist’ at people neither changes opinions nor wins arguments. Yet not only have they persisted in this, but they have continually singled out one particular group on the basis of their race, sexuality and gender as the enemy.
Reading sentiments like this has not been unusual over the past few months, but it has taken the so-called social justice brigade years to get people used to the kind of nasty belittling language demonstrated by the delightful Laurie Penny yesterday:
It is impossible to listen to prominent leftists on the subject of Trump for very long before you hear them talk about how his rhetoric has ‘legitimised’ all kinds of hate:
But they are too blind to realise that constantly being rude about straight, white men not only makes them appalling hypocrites but actually does legitimise hateful and violent behaviour: on December 31 four African-Americans kidnapped and brutally tortured a young white man with learning difficulties who they believed had voted for Donald Trump. As they abused him they were shouting ‘f**k Trump’ and ‘f**k white people’. They felt secure and entitled enough to stream the whole thing live on Facebook.
Awareness on the part of the left that their constant stream of straight-white-male bashing may have contributed to the boldness of these attackers? Nil.
Those who pitch themselves as the guardians of justice, fairness and equality cannot afford such callous double standards. And they’re the only ones who can’t see it.