The MC guide to Identity Politics

Scenes from a demonstration outside of the Democratic National Convention protesting against Bernie Sanders’ exclusion from the presidential race. (Photo by Joseph Rushmore)

Open-mindedness could be to blame for Donald Trump

It’s a term that continues to dominate news feeds and columns across the world, but what the fuck is identity politics exactly? Put simply, identity politics is politics motivated and based on the sexual, cultural, racial, gender, religious and social issues of minority groups. It’s a noble and well-intentioned concept. But it’s also widely acknowledged as contributing to the rise of President Donald Trump—do not say that in the mirror five times. Democrat Hall of Famer Bernie Sanders has conceded as much: “One of the struggles that you’re going to be seeing in the Democratic Party is whether we go beyond identity politics,” Sanders says.“I think it’s a step forward in America if you have an African-American CEO of some major corporation. But you know what, if that guy is going to be shipping jobs out of this country, and exploiting his workers, it doesn’t mean a whole hell of a lot whether he’s black or white or Latino.”

The gist is that democrats focused too much on issues such as minority and transgender rights, addressing only their fan base instead of being inclusive of the entire country and focusing on economic and security issues everyone could get behind. Agree or disagree, it’s worth considering exactly how political correctness and outrage culture have shaped modern society and the effects they had on the US presidential election outcome. The disconnect is there for all to see. And we’ve done the research so you don’t have to.

Elective segregation and safe space culture

Initially conceived as rooms on campus where students who identified as gay or transgender could openly discuss issues free from judgement, safe spaces have evolved to become a modern form of elective segregation. Free-thinking, race, gender, sexual identity—all have become hot button issues on campuses around the first world, with students demanding not just their own rooms to escape from views they don’t agree with or people they don’t relate to, but their own separate living quarters as stated in this LA Times op-ed. Even US president Barry Obama has spoken out against safe space culture, insisting that integration, not segregation, is the ideal.

Sensitivity to humour

In November, Saturday Night Live head writer and host of weekend update Colin Jost quipped: “The dating app Tinder announced a new feature this week which gives users 37 different gender identity options… It’s called, why democrats lost the election”.

Though SNL and Jost both lean to the left, he was lambasted for the joke by the increasingly vocal far-left in countless op-eds and Twitter posts. In response, Jost cited a supportive New York Times article by political scientist, historian and Columbia University professor Mark Lilla, who Paste Magazine subsequently labelled “batshit”—thus illustrating Lilla and Jost’s case in point.

Here’s Lilla’s argument: “American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism’s message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force.”

Forced acceptance

It wasn’t until the end of President Obama’s first term—when he was facing the possibility of becoming a one-term president—that he finally passed same-sex marriage legislation. But in the four years since, the 70 percent of the US population who identify as Christian have been told—not asked—to accept sexual and gender diversity in all its forms. Confronting African-American comedian Jerrod Carmichael covered this very topic in his sitcom, The Carmichael Show, last season in an episode when he explains to his parents that the kid he is mentoring isn’t gay (which all are cool with) but is in fact transgender. Dad Joe’s response: “We are not against the transgender. But I’m just getting used to people being gay, and they done changed the rules on this one again. It’s too fast. Too furious.”

Selective diversity

Metallica frontman and NRA member James Hetfield is no saint and doesn’t proclaim to be. But the father of three, who breeds honey bees and lives off an organic farm in Colorado, explained to Joe Rogan on a recent podcast how selective diversity forced him out of San Francisco—where he’d lived since 1982. “I kind of got sick of the Bay Area, the attitudes of the people there, a little bit,” Hetfield said calmly on Rogan’s podcast.

“They talk about how diverse they are, and things like that, and it’s fine if you’re diverse like them. But showing up with a deer on the bumper doesn’t fly in Marin County. My form of eating organic doesn’t vibe with theirs. It’s something I felt. There was just a… I don’t know… I felt that there was an elitist attitude there – that if you weren’t their way politically, their way environmentally, all of that, that you were looked down upon.”

Democrats are the new conservatives

So alleges political science professor, liberal and journalist Peter Beinart in a recent article for The Atlantic Magazine, in which he states that: “By any reasonable definition, Democrats are now the more conservative of America’s two parties. They are more interested than Republicans in conserving America’s international relationships, cultural norms, and political and economic institutions as they are.”

The overall gist?

Basically, the control went to our heads. We got so comfortable we didn’t even bother studying video tape of the competition before game day. We assumed the high moral ground and tried to make change happen overnight. To force it. History and life experience shows that when you force things they often break, and you risk hurting yourself and others. This is not the legacy Democrats imagined but the consequences will be lingering. Heath Franklin would say something about a teaspoon and cement right here.

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