Roy Green: Where populism meets democratic rights
The election defeats of France’s Marine LePen and Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, coupled with a victory by Germany’s Angela Merkel were celebrated by globalists as signs Britain’s Brexit victory and U.S. President Donald Trump’s issuing of decrees from the Oval Office were aberrations. Momentary and brief affairs, followed almost immediately by lover’s remorse.
After all, Brits were quickly giving voice to doubts their great solo and Europe-less adventure would significantly improve life for, as Shakespeare cheered, “This Royal Throne of Kings, This Sceptred Isle.”
Americans were transforming their boulevards into jostling, teeming masses of smartphone revolutionaries demanding a purging of their President Trump, the man whose ascendancy to the title “world’s most powerful” was met with prickly placards, decidedly confrontational sloganeering and the unforgettable vision of a certain Madonna muttering darkly public thoughts about “blowing up the White House.”
Surely, that was all the necessary evidence to torpedo any future, similar voter stumbles. The world could not be handed to, or even influenced significantly by “deplorables.”
For a brief time, it seemed to be that way. The French provided a foothold to LePen and her nationalists, then yanked the ladder out from under them and chose a man not yet 40 and whose wife is 24 years his senior. A script not entirely uncommon in the history of rulers of La France.
Geert Wilders and his years of denunciations directed toward Muslims of Holland were defeated by Dutch voters.
Germany’s steady Angela Merkel seemed assured of a continuance of her dozen years at the helm of the nation as voters presented their chancellor with the opportunity to create a national coalition of parties to govern the economic powerhouse of Europe.
Until recently. Merkel now seems unable to create her steady and lasting coalition.
So what’s happening?
Poland refuses to accept edicts from Brussels concerning the opening of borders to refugees and on Dec. 12 in Alabama, the GOP candidate, the accused-of-sexual-predation former State Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore is favoured to secure a federal Senate electoral victory by eleven of seventeen polling firms.
What underpins Trump’s support? MAGA. The message many, many millions of Americans still wear on their red(neck) ball caps. These Americans couldn’t care less about being portrayed as rednecks or deplorables.
Canada? We tread carefully and speak even more so. The recently launched assault on freedom of expression may see Canadians cautious about how they answer a polling firm’s call. Yet, alone in the voting booth, given a real choice instead of variations of the same political flavour, I suspect Canadians are just as ready as Americans were Nov. 8, 2016, to shock experts and their expectations.
I heard it show after show leading to the American vote.
What fed this sentiment in 2016? Exactly what continues to feed it today? It’s not racism or religious intolerance. There exists, though, a national grievance that Canada’s history, customs and cultural development have been jettisoned by federal and provincial politicians. Speaking proudly of our war-fighters can earn immediate reproach. Questioning immigration policy or lax border protection can be met with charges of racism when it is nothing of the kind. National pride does not equate racial bias.
But make no mistake, pride in Canada will not be subdued. Honouring our men and women in uniform, past and present, will not be shoved aside. Adding an asterisk to “freedom of expression” will not quiet Canadians.
Our prime minister speaks disparagingly about populism while assuring the New York Times Canada may be the first post-nation state. If populism is barking back “the hell we will,” then it’s populism you have. But it’s populism you created by devaluing who we are, where we came from, and the direction we intend to choose for our future.
How Brexit and the Trump decision will play out, who knows? What we do know is democracy delivers to people the constitutional option to reach such decisions.
After all, it’s populism which wins elections and provides political parties with a temporary opportunity to manage affairs. It is also populism which eventually and perhaps sooner than later states, “that’s enough.”
I’m hearing “that’s enough” quite frequently.
Roy Green is the host of The Roy Green Show and a commentator for Global News
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