By Josh Skinner
The art of taking an L is kind of like looking at a Picasso painting. At first glance, it’s a jumble of upsetting gobbldy-gook – “this isn’t art” you say, while squinting your eyes. The Picasso painting goes against everything you know, challenging your notions of convention and reality. On November 8th, I was bludgeoned with abstract art until I “got it”.
On election night, I attended an event filled with people who I have been trading blows with over an election that feels like it’s lasted longer than both of Barack Obama’s terms. I went to this event looking forward to drinking (mostly) white tears and bitter beers as the electoral colleges fell into the Democratic Party’s lap.
There were men’s rights activists, unapologetic nationalists, and even a techno futurist who predicted artificial intelligence by the year 2045. All of these people were validated last night through the increasingly unpopular concept of democracy. Trump made his announcement in his tower on June 16th 2015, an all time candidate for worst years until 2016 decided to RKO the everloving shit out of us.
Since then, the people in this room have been warning me of the coming storm born out of a rejection of globalization and political correctness, two things they see as heresy. I sat and exchanged ideas with this group of people for 5 hours as state after state undermined now radical concepts such as multiculturalism and the idea that oppression is enforced along racial lines.
That being said, I got rick rolled. As more and more states got the jordan face treatment, my rhetoric switched from highly nuanced political debate to stumbling sports talk of “well as long as the blue wall holds we don’t need Florida” to “as long as we get Pennsylvania we might hold on for a tight one” and finally “well we’re very optimistic about drafting a next candidate.”
I wasn’t the only Hillary supporter at this event. Others showed up with my same intentions of watching our political opponents feast upon a buffet of crow. That crowd cleared out when they were confronted with an identical three course meal.
It was a cathartic moment to share this awful night with the people I loved talking about politics with the most, the ones who have been telling me I’ve been wrong the entire time. Thank God this election is over – I’m still licking my wounds, but the Picasso painting is becoming clear.
We, the liberal elites (those who have attended university), were forced to sell our integrity to support a candidate that’s pro-free trade. Donald Trump was so bad as a human that we stood behind and justified a candidate that we didn’t truly believe in. November 8th was the ultimate Waterloo.
Since the American election, I have been confronted with the idea that my ideas and general sense of beliefs seem to no longer be mine. When financial markets temporarily went into the toilet when it became apparent that Donald Trump was going to win, I confronted the group with a “gotcha moment”. They responded with a smug response stating that they were the ones that were supporting the working class, and that I was now allied with the financial elite.
I love the working class. I often trash Marx for being wrong about his predictions that he outlined in the Communist Manifesto. But I stand by the fact that his analysis of the capitalist system is the best one to date. On election night, I told myself that I was on the side of the working class; the working class reminded me that I don’t get to decide what’s in their best interest, and it was awful.
Here’s to hoping that we folks on the left take a long, hard look at how we speak in politics and improve our ability to speak to a broader audience. We need to remove ourselves from the Ivory Towers, where we justify supporting representatives of Wall Street because they embrace the language of political correctness.
The Picasso painting is clearly the shape of an L now. Like most interpretations of art, I think I get it. We, the left, got co-opted into supporting global institutions. Which womps because just six years ago we created the occupy movement to fight what we now represent, and the working class saw through it before we did. This isn’t to say that we should have voted for Trump, but in the coming years, we need to find a way to push forward our ideas in a way that doesn’t create space for men like the Donald to steal the working class from us.