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When Anger Goes Unaddressed, It Can Become A Revolution

Let’s hope this is one of those less violent ones.

16/11/2016 5:44 AM AEDT | Updated 16/11/2016 5:44 AM AEDT
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Mike Segar / Reuters
"Trump was a middle finger to any careerist politician, and a dream of what the dispossessed would do to the establishment if they had the chance."

A common vein throughout America's history has been revolution. Not just violent uprisings, but less seismic (albeit very vocal) rejections of the status quo.

Sometimes, this is a response to a rate of change that is just too slow -- when Martin Luther King Jr. called out a complacent politick for not affording African American's civil rights, hundreds of thousands shouted back. But sometimes, revolution warns against change that is happening too quickly -- as what happened with the Confederates secessionist hissy fit.

America has had to bring along its diverse, massive population through all stages of its evolution. And this November, the Democratic Party failed to unify those that are victims of a faulty system -- and they only have themselves to blame.

The largest shift in the electoral make-up this year occurred with voters who earned under $30,000. In that demographic, there was a 16-point swing away from the Democratic Party since 2012. Pundits have been stumped by the fact that an old-money billionaire championed the poorest people in the country. Yet it is not in spite of this that the swing occurred, but because of it. Trump -- his looseness, his offensiveness, his disgusting hair -- was a middle finger to any careerist politician, and a dream of what the dispossessed would do to the establishment if they had the chance.

Trump was able to do this because the Left has lost sight of their voter-base. Where once they could tell the working class that they had their backs, they now can't. Who cares about political correctness when you just lost the mining job you've had for 20 years? Who would worry about climate change when your wages, and your wife's wages, and your friend's wages, have been stalling for years?

We are in a unique time where change is both happening too slowly and too quickly. Too slowly because income inequality still remains existentially concerning to so many millions of Americans today; and too quickly because economic and cultural shifts are changing national power dynamics in a way that seems irrelevant to the woes of the working class.

The Left faces this crisis in Australia, too. Are we the champagne socialists that care about political correctness and climate change, or are we the battlers at the pub who just want a fair go in the face of a growing class schism? For many of us, this question is the difference between a vote for the Greens and a vote for Labor. It is hard to see where the left-wing coalition will go from here, but one thing is clear: Hillary Clinton erred too much on the side of the rainbow coalition, and advertised an inclusive message that was necessarily dismissive of the white male worker.

This is why Trump's victory is a check on the working class votes that have been taken for granted by the Left. Income inequality must be addressed. And social equity should be pursued with the key goal of benefiting the most hurt and downtrodden people. Offering some people a safe space when others feel like their world is crumbling around them incites a deep-set, survivalist anger. And when that anger is tapped into, it can become a revolution.

Let's hope this is one of those less violent ones.

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