The National Temper Tantrum

Following Trump winning the election, Twitter, Facebook, and the blogosphere exploded with adults becoming children and throwing a nationwide temper tantrum. And true to expectations, few seem to be learning anything thing from what happened. Adults threatened to unfriend Facebook friends because they hold a different viewpoint.1

A rare few have written excellent analyses of the situation: David French (on hubris), Alastair Roberts (on divisions), and Katherine Timpf (on feelz). Unfortunately for every excellent analysis there are many others, like author John Scalzi, exhibiting arrogance and inflammatory over-generalization.2

It was all well and good to preach about how every vote should matter and that people should vote their conscience when Clinton was nearly assured victory. But where is that talk now that the expected result didn’t happen? Yes there are some out there that are calling for others to give Trump a chance, but those are unfortunately few and far between.

Remember when Trump supporters were going to revolt when Clinton won the election and how this showed how terrible (as a whole) Trump supporters were? Then Clinton supporters rioted in Portland, Oregon. CNN couldn’t even bear to admit it declaring in a headline:

Anti-Trump protesters march for 3rd night; Portland police call it a ‘riot’

Notice the choice of ‘Anti-Trump’ over ‘Clinton supporters’ and focusing on how the police think it is a riot. The article itself calls the protesters “anarchists” (including scare quotes). Funny how CNN completely misses the possibility that some Clinton supporters might have the same flaws as some Trump supporters. Here’s the thing: the protesters don’t represent any groups as a whole and violence doesn’t mean protesters can’t have a point. But the broad categorizations of Trump supporters as violent are just as bad as categorical denials of Clinton supporter violence. Favoring one group over the other, as CNN did, is just dishonest.

Why are voters and mass media acting like a group of spoiled children? Because they can’t accept that others might genuinely and legitimately disagree with them. There is nothing wrong with peaceful protesting, but the reason for the protesting is that they can’t handle losing. It’s an organized temper tantrum. Many people have been coddled their whole lives and can’t bear the notion that they didn’t get their own way. Why did some professors at ivy league schools cancel classes and midterms because their students were unhappy? Scott Greenfield writes the hard truth that few will ever really hear:

They just suffered the first smackdown of their values ever, and this wasn’t possible. They had been told that their values were true, were real, were absolutely right, and therefore there could be no reasonable disagreement. If true, and they believe it with all their being, then this was no more possible than pigs flying. And everybody knows pigs can’t fly.

So it had to be evil that permeated their country. Millions of racists and sexists stole control from them. It had to be. There could be no other explanation that meshed with their world view. The old aphorism, that there were two sides to every story, was a lie. There was no other side. They were right. They had always been right, and would always be right. There could be no higher calling than serving what was right, and it justified doing anything, anything, to achieve what was right.

Look, this really isn’t that difficult to comprehend. If you have an opinion, that’s fine. This is America where we allow people to hold views that are different from our own. Just because you happen to hold a viewpoint that a bunch of other people hold doesn’t mean you get to be a jerk about it, judge others, have no risk of terrible feelings, or even that you are right3. You think your cause is righteous? Every person fighting against gay marriage has been just as convinced of the righteousness of their cause as those fighting for it. Do you think you are special? (Hint: You’re not).

Are you upset? Go get a lollipop. If and when you grow up you can have a beer.

Scott continues:

Here’s the weirdest thing. A great many of those who don’t share your orthodoxy aren’t so much against you as have other priorities, other concerns, that you have yet to appreciate. Stop driving them away by calling them names and trashing their cars in anger. They aren’t your enemies, but you have made them enemies. Of all the lessons you have failed to learn, this may be the most dangerous.

Notice what he is saying: some people who voted for Trump share more in common with the liberals doing all the crying as they do with the extreme conservatives. By lumping moderates, classic liberals, conservatives, etc together, you just create enemies. Provoking people who voted differently than you is just plain stupid, especially if you want them to support your pet causes during the next election. It was always a bad idea when Christians tried to convince others about the love of Jesus by threatening them with hell, and it’s the same thing here. You’ll just burn bridges and look the fool while doing it.

Here is another hard fact that will be difficult for you to accept: You are not as smart as you think you are. Maybe you should have noticed that when you were surprised by the outcome of the election.

They [mass media] are, however, absolutely bewildered – they have near zero understanding of the situation; clearly the Establishment mostly believe their own lies (even if the mass of the being public-lied to are obviously not convinced). The fact that the media-bureaucratic rulers are so stunned with surprise shows this more than anything. Nobody with common sense and normal perception and common sense levels of reasoning should have been surprised by the defeat of Clinton! (Bruce Charlton)

It has never entered into their minds that they might be part of the problem or that maybe their own causes might not be so universally accepted or even righteous at all. Their analysis has focused on anything other than this, relying mostly on accusations of bigotry, hatred, and racism to avoid looking in a mirror.

Hopefully when the temper tantrum ends and the tears dry some real introspection will take place and lessons learned. There are certainly plenty of people outside the echo chambers that can assist. Maybe next time when you don’t get your own way you’ll handle it maturely. It is embarrassing that my 6- and 8-year-old kids handled the election results more maturely than many of my adult Facebook friends.

1 This is clearly retribution. They would have done no such thing had Clinton won the election. It is an outpouring of hatred that would be roundly condemned if not for their utilitarianism, a problem that plagues both sides and results in universal blindness. It’s also indicative of getting used to using coercion and forced compliance as a means for social change.

2 His tweet reads: “..supporters of a racist presidential candidate upset and offended to be called out on their racism”. This notion that voting for Trump makes one a racist has been extremely common. It’s been shockingly easy to find this accusation made. Scalzi is just one of many making it. It’s stunningly wrong, but does show the arrogance required to judge 60 million people in one overarching statement. He argues in his post that a vote for trump is implicit support for racism, which is true in a highly restricted sense, but highly misleading and says nothing meaningful about the people doing the voting. It does say a lot about the person making the judgment though.

3 It really doesn’t matter if you are right or wrong. That misses the point that you can’t even consider that you might be wrong or that the world isn’t as black and white as you think it is.

4 It really shouldn’t need to be said that many of these points apply to both Republicans (including Trump) and Democrats. I have no doubt that if the situation were reversed we’d see a measure of the same kinds of behaviors from the other side. There is a spiritual sickness caused by the rejection of God that affects all of politics. This post focuses on just one aspect of that sickness. There are sore winners too.

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