Explaining Donald Trump as well as Brexit

Many voters may not be clearly aware that the actual source of their discontent is the system itself

Things are never quite as they seem. As political pundits and commentators try to explain the extraordinary decision of Great Britain to leave the European Union and the bizarre rise of Donald Trump as the Republican’s candidate for the US presidency, they consider only the surface issues.

The gist of their conclusions is that a growing distance between the rulers and the ruled has allowed the empty space to be filled by the unusual and eccentric. In essence, they contend, the political elite are not communicating with the common people, so strange positions and characters have an appeal that would otherwise be dismissed as irrelevant or fringe.

But this is only the surface explanation. Beneath it are far more profound and disturbing issues that are much more uncomfortable to confront and articulate — issues that politicians are reluctant to explore lest they be deemed radicals.

And, perhaps, many voters may not be clearly aware that the actual source of their discontent is the system itself.

The stunning events occurring lately have been a vote of non-confidence for the whole socio-economic structure that is the foundation of our modern materialistic culture, a collective reaction against a way of thinking and behaving that is usually unquestioned. Put succinctly, the system is not delivering and distributing its promised benefits, the frustrated and disillusioned citizens are searching for change, and the best they can do is to reject the status quo.

The only way to understand their collective psychology of protest is from a distance that gives perspective to the cumulative effects of the system’s many failures.

Local communities everywhere are haunted by the sorry necessity for food banks, by the sad plight of the homeless, and by the rising rates of poverty. If the system is so successful, what explains these social injustices? Profound income inequities are shrinking the middle class and bifurcating society into isolated classes of the odiously rich and the struggling poor. These are not the signs of a just and viable system.

Free-trade agreements and the corporate forces of globalization are crippling the autonomy of governments, destroying employment security and disenfranchising voters.

The methodical collapse of a reasonably compassionate social structure into an impersonal economic machine of engineered winners and losers makes for a disquieting place to live.

Then add to this corrosive pall the demoralizing effects of ubiquitous pollution, a world-wide energy structure in upheaval, the intractable malaise of the Great Recession, the insanity of terrorism, record numbers of refugees, and a rising human population that is crowding into cities, more places which are becoming progressively more difficult to organize as convenient, comfortable and affordable locations to inhabit. And hovering over these shadows is a warming planet with all the concomitant threats that come with it. So the optimism that fuels public contentment is becoming increasingly scarce. The total social effect is an immense anxiety and uncertainty that expresses itself in unpredictable and aberrant ways.

Perhaps many people haven’t carefully analyzed the litany of circumstances that are making them uneasy, or they can’t clearly articulate exactly what is amiss. But they know how they feel.

And they want change — although the change they get may not be what they want.

Just Posted

Myra Falls re-opening gets a timeline

Mine suspended operations in 2015 but is set to start removing ore again early next year

Walter Morgan Shed to finally get its renovation

City sees heritage value in the property and will fund renewal project to the tune of $200,000

Oyster River structure fire leaves two families without a home

With less than two weeks until Christmas, two Oyster River families are… Continue reading

Campbell River senior occupies MLA, MP’s office; challenges prime minister to wrestle

Wants immediate action taken on homelessness and seniors poverty

North Island College’s TV and Film Crew Training building excitment

Walking into the warehouse where the NIC TV and Film Crew Training… Continue reading

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

More than 20,000 pounds of garbage removed from riverside homeless camps

Two camps taken down last week on the banks of the Fraser and Chilliwack rivers

Suspect in Revelstoke standoff killed himself: RCMP

Mohammadali Darabi, suspect in the Calgary homicide of his roommate, was stopped in Revelstoke

Clinton visits Vancouver, applauds Trudeau, celebrates Democrats’ win in Alabama

Clinton told crowd she cheered when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed the country’s first gender-balanced cabinet.

VIDEO: Salt Spring Islanders ferry piano to their floating home

Everyone enjoys a little music on the water, but not everyone has a piano on their boat

Bomb detonated in Kamloops neighbourhood

Kamloops RCMP are investigating after an improvised explosive device was detonated Wednesday morning

No More Shootouts: Strong defence will be Canada’s backbone at world juniors

Head coach doesn’t want a situation where a hot goalie or a lucky bounce can determine a team’s fate

Proposed snowmobiles along Sicamous roads concern RCMP

RCMP, ICBC and province not yet on-board with proposed off-road bylaw in the B.C. Interior

‘Assemble your own meal’ kits grow into $120M industry in Canada

Kits offer a middle ground between eating out and grocery shopping

Most Read