17 novembro, 2016
Hubris and Intolerance
HUBRIS AND INTOLERANCE
There is a significant segment of people (including groups, parties and media) in Europe and North America who seem to be convinced that they are the guardians of truth in political and social life. According to these people, Democracy is fine as long as their views, policies and candidates prevail. The rub is when they do not. When they do not, all hell breaks loose.
The recent referendum in the United Kingdom and the United States’ presidential election, as well as, EU-related referenda in the past quarter-century, are the starkest examples of these displays of anti-democratic hubris and intolerance.
The arguments presented are mostly stupid, or futile. Here are some examples.
1- The electoral system is a major culprit in the USA, because Hillary Clinton got more votes and yet she lost the election to Donald Trump. However, the American electoral system has been well established for 200 years and everyone knows (or at least they should) that what matters in these elections are the electoral votes garnered in each of the 50 states. You win when you reach the 270 vote threshold, regardless of your name or party. Obviously, anyone can dislike the system, but you cannot contest it after the deed is done.
2- In the UK, some people in Scotland and Northern Ireland claimed they were not bound by the referendum’s results because in those regions the majority voted “Remain”, whereas in the country as a whole the “Leave” vote prevailed. However, the referendum was a countrywide vote and so was the outcome, which is valid and binding to everyone, from the Shetlands to Dover. If things actually worked in this absurd way, countries would split their way out of existence after a few elections and referenda.
3- The winning candidate/party/policies/ideas are bad; we do not like them, so they cannot win. Well, tough. Welcome to Democracy.
The bottom line is that the people who are looking for tricks, schemes and pretexts, or are resorting to violence to subvert the electoral outcomes in the UK and in the US are, first and foremost, intolerant, arrogant, hypocritical and they just cannot stand the idea of losing an important election/referendum.
I have been through many elections, some of them as a candidate and I have been unhappy with the results many times, especially at the local level, but I have never questioned the legitimacy of the winners, much less have I tried to subvert the elections outcome. In Democracy there are no winners by design.
It is highly ironic that people who portray themselves as tolerant and enlightened are neither. They just act as if they were only to the extent that their views prevail. When they do not, the thin veneer cracks and their true selves emerge: arrogant, intolerant, sore losers, full of rage, in one word, non-democratic.
These self-entitled holders of the truth are the ones who, above anyone else, subvert Democracy with totalitarian thoughts and actions.