November 8: Democracy revolts against itself
TEHRAN - The election of Barack Obama as the president of the United States in 2008 supported the notion that the American people have parted from their past.
All things considered, Obama was, for us, the symbol of a revolution taking place in a conservative society. His distinctions were not just limited to his skin color. What made the new president a different politician both for the American people and the international community was the new outlook of a Democrat on international diplomacy and also his domestic quasi-socialist programs.
We were surprised at first and then happy that the international community responded to the nation’s call for change by awarding the newly-elected president a Nobel Prize in 2009. But does the November 8 election mean we have regressed? Maybe. But if this is true, what factor(s) forced the society to change its mind regarding this?
1: Mr. President’s unsatisfactory record. 2: Or perhaps the nostalgic feelings of going back to the forgotten dreams of an ambitious, rebellious idealist.
I do not truly know! But whatever the case, Mr. Trump’s election clearly shows that we are facing a major social gap and public frustration.
Trump told the American people that he did not trust anyone. And socio-politically speaking, he removed the gap between himself and the American people and talked and acted like he was one of them.
During the last 18 months, very few people noticed his amazing psychological trick.
During this time, we were just fooling ourselves. But he, as people assumed, was acting honestly and wanted to perform surgery on Washington to remove a corrupt organ, as he said, from the country’s political system.
In order to understand the reasons why people chose such ambitious idealist, examining Mr. Obama’s 8-year record in foreign policy, or even examining the records of the Bush and Clinton administrations, is beside the point and would not help us understand the reasons behind this phenomenon. During this time, what was not considered was the failures of previous and current governments that have created the conditions for public dissatisfaction.
The society was convinced that the typical politicians are not trustworthy anymore. For instance, spending hundreds of billions of dollars on the unproductive Afghanistan and Iraq war, other international crises, especially in the Middle East, and putting too much focus on foreign policy, were among the factors that led to a sharp decline in economic, welfare, and social indicators.
To understand why the society reacted this way, apart from the responsibilities and the performances of different governments and politicians in Washington and also in smaller scales, in the state governments, is clearly the wickedness of typical politicians. They are the ones who must be held accountable.
But with Mr. Trump’s election, can we conclude that everything has come to an end and the old democracy has surrendered to a modern populism? Depending on whether we look at this subject historically or politically, and whether we have a deep or shallow analysis about it, the answer would be different.
In the final analysis, looking at the subject historically and socially, it is hard to accept that the society has surrendered to a rebel driving a time machine of fulfilling the dreams. In my opinion November 8 is a mere historical shift that will be recorded on the calendar as “the day of the democratic revolt against the inherent power of democracy”. It may seem too optimistic, but it is true.