The funny thing about elections is that the moment the results come in, it’s almost a certainty that the mainstream media will engage in all sorts of predictable behavior. The election of 2016, as devastating and humiliating as it may be on so many levels, was no exception. The moment the final election tabulation came out for Donald Trump and the election was over, the mainstream media went into gear. It was all too predictable.
The headlines blared out both online and offline that the age of liberalism and the age of Obama are dead. In fact, a lot went so far as to say that the very idea of progressivism in the United States is a thing of the past. It seems that people were all too comfortable with the notion that somehow someway America has seemingly forgotten to dream about a better future seemingly overnight. It’s as if somebody turned a switch.
Well, liberalism will survive the age of Trump the same way it survived the age of George Herbert Bush as well as Ronald Reagan. It was able to survive all of these presidencies and administrations because liberalism is based on optimism. Instead of looking at human nature as a fixed set of qualities that are locked in for all time, liberalism looks at what people could be.
We don’t waste any time and energy trying to define people as limited beings trapped by context, historical age, contingencies, and resources. Instead, we are open-minded and we understand that it only takes one great idea to get from point A to point B. We remain hopeful in the fact that humanity as a collective whole is smart enough, resourceful enough, and driven enough to get to the next level.
This boundless optimism is not empty talk. It is not pointless. It actually works. If you need proof of this, we want to direct your attention to the fact that in the 1800s, people were under the impression that eventually, the world will reach a point where food will run out. After all, people multiply in exponential terms while food grows in sequential terms.
Fast forward to today, has humanity died out? Have diseases destroyed us? Have wars completely ravaged the planet that everything has been burned to a crisp? Absolutely not and we can thank human optimism for this. Somehow someway, we found a way out. Those nightmare visions of a future of food riots and breadlines breaking out all over the place, they did not materialize.
Why? Humans discovered the green revolution. Food became cheaper and more plentiful. Diseases did not destroy the planet. Instead, penicillin was discovered and shortly after that, the biotechnology revolution blew up and all sorts of cancers started getting cured. This is precisely the kind of optimism we need to hang on to.
Sure, the election of Donald J. Trump shook this confidence to its core foundation but the foundation holds. It’s still there and most importantly, it still contains that light that looks forward to the future where people are not judged by the color of their skin, the gender of the person they choose to fall in love with or the sexual organs they were born with. Instead, they are judged by the content of their character.
Liberalism, my friend, is not going to die. Instead, if anything, in the age of Trump and the guaranteed missteps and mistakes he will make will only shine a bright light into the alternative future that only liberalism can deliver.