“‘Shut up,’ he explained.”
That quote from humorist Ring Lardner sums up the attitude of much of the political elite in the U.S. and Europe to rising public discontent. But news flash: you don’t make people who have a legitimate beef less upset by trying to bully them into silence.
When German citizens were alarmed at the masses of Middle Eastern migrants pouring across the border, political and media elites tried to shame them into silence, painting them as racists or Nazis. When the clash of cultures started resulting in horrors like the New Year’s Eve attacks on women in Cologne, the media and police at first refused even to acknowledge it. Finally, the people got tired of elites ignoring their concerns and trying to silence them.This past weekend, they handed big election wins to an anti-immigration party that didn’t even exist until 2013.
Advertisement – story continues below
Likewise, Americans have made it clear for years that they’re fed up with open borders, illegal immigration and millions of work visas undermining their security, jobs and wages, and with government policies that encourage shipping US jobs overseas. Political elites and the donor class, who live in gated mansions with armed guards and never have to deal with the negative consequences of their policies, answered the voters’ concerns by slandering them as racists and telling them to shut up. Voters are now responding by turning out in record numbers to back outsider candidates who vow to topple the status quo. Something similar is happening on the left, where the anointed establishment candidate, Hillary “My Turn” Clinton, finds herself in an unexpected battle with that unlikely icon of youth, Bernie Sanders.
It’s ironic that the latest attempt to try to shut up voters is aimed at Trump supporters on the right by Sanders supporters on the left. “Progressives” who are so riled up over big money’s influence on politics don’t seem to realize that in trying to suppress the free speech of Republicans, they’re doing the bidding of leftist billionaires like George Soros. Soros has poured millions into trying to defeat Trump through groups like MoveOn.org, which took partial credit for the mob that shut down Trump’s rally in Chicago.
But attempts to bully the people into silence never work, not in the long run. Public discontent is like a tea kettle: the more you turn up the heat, the louder it gets. If political and media elites ever hope to win back public trust, they need to stop impugning their own people’s motives, belittling their concerns and trying to silence them.
Advertisement - story continues below
In short: “Shut up,” he explained, “and start listening for a change.”
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website.
What do you think? Scroll down to comment below.