The disenfranchised, marginalised and overlooked have discovered that the promises and rhetoric of the polished, political and partisan are lies. What does this mean for those in positions of power and privilege in our lucky country?
What must we do to prevent the same lurch backwards here?
The fact that white men have stood up and revolted about a situation that many other marginalised and disenfranchised people should fight for, is no surprise.
White men have been long used to being in charge – even if it’s within the confines of their houses or communities: they are used to having a voice. Over time, no doubt, their voices have become less confident – how could they not when they find themselves unemployed, with little value in the eyes of the privileged minority?
Much like any other marginalised group, I guess.
However this group is different. They’re mostly blokes.
Along comes Trump who speaks to them in language that resonates, reflects their experience, affirms their existence, and now it becomes real. They realise that for too long they’ve been fed lines that confuse and obfuscate their reality and here’s someone telling them they matter, their experience is real, unfair and should change.
They have someone exposing their truth:
- Politicians and astute business men have used the allure of posterity and ‘trickle down’ economics to sell their: jobs, land, opportunities.
- Globalisation and neo-liberalism has worked to advantage the educated and privileged. It has bolstered the incomes of the owning class and created an even bigger divide between the wealthy and the poor.
- What used to provide them with an income, now provides someone in a developing country with a subsistence standard of living and wage unlikely to feed their families.
- The resources and bounty of the land that could be relied on to sustain them and their families have been transferred to people with little interest in a sustainable future or the greater good.
Now I know that these are my own interpretations of the ‘truth’ but because they have some resonance for me, I include them.
This story does not just affect white working class men, now, does it?
Unfortunately for all of us Trump does not have the same empathy for or focus on other even more marginalised and oppressed groups: migrants, Muslims, queers and, oh yes, women! People who unlike the white blokes are far more used to being invisible and voiceless. People who for far too long have experienced the impact of blind privilege, racism, sexism and homophobia.
It’s time we trained our blind eye to notice: a significant proportion of the Australian population is equally disadvantaged, marginalised and disenfranchised. We’re on a similar path to our US compatriots and this group is likely grow in numbers
Surely now, then, is the time to learn from Trump’s ‘success’? To turn it around and use his arsenal for good rather than evil?
What if we used Trump’s strategy to enfranchise rather than disenfranchise? To include rather than exclude? To value, affirm and validate the experience of those that have for too long been rendered voiceless, hopeless and clueless in Australia?
The people we think we can either ignore or throw scraps to, or alternatively lie to about what is really happening because after all they are not as smart as we are – have no reason to think they are equals so we have no reason to think too hard about them.
These groups of people are less likely than blue collar blokes to revolt, to come out in large numbers and speak on behalf of themselves, to stand together and make a claim.
But maybe we can work on that and help them do just that?