Since the Brexit vote, in which Britain decided to leave the EU, many hands have been wrung. Nevertheless, it doesn’t seem like much communication has occurred. The losing “Remainers” genuinely don’t seem to get the message. They view the Brexit vote as an error.
It’s not an error. It’s what most of “the people” want. Last night on a major news show, Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont and former chair of the Democratic National Committee, referred to the Brexit vote as “most unfortunate.” Why? Because he also doesn’t get it. The vote was not “unfortunate.” It was what the people chose. How can you be a political leader in a democratic country and not understand that?
A letter to the editor in a recent issue of The Economist made the point succinctly. Stephen Hand, of “Chipping Sodbury” (he could hardly have made up a more fitting name for his town), wrote:
“…. Had Remain won, no one would now be discussing the need to heal a divided nation. Instead it would be ‘’common sense triumphing over isolationism’, ‘tolerance overcoming hate’, and so on. I voted Leave on the basis of Tony Benn’s inarguable case regarding democratic accountability and I am delighted with the outcome.”
This is precisely the message that the ‘elite cognoscenti’ of the governing class did not hear, and are still not hearing. People want to be heard.
In America, our leaders are deaf in the same way. America is not about to exit the EU, but there are signs that some people would like it to exit the world – trade partnerships, military alliances, treaties, and general engagement, including immigration. In the 2016 election primary, the “leavers” number at least 16 million so far.
Who is listening? Nobody, not even Trump. He doesn’t listen, he only barks. Not Clinton. She genuinely doesn’t get it. She is a member of the entitled class and she’ll tell you how things should be. Sanders was listening, but he’s out. Obama can listen, but he won’t. Not only is he a short-timer but he’s buried in everyday detail and complexity and is committed to the status quo. He says “It’s not so bad,” and “We need to work harder.” He doesn’t see that the country could be on the verge of a radical break-up, hopefully not violent, but who can say? The signs are there. Civil wars have erupted from less division.
Not that any one person, Sanders, Clinton, or Obama, could change course single-handedly. The problem is that the governing class, on both sides of the aisle, cannot or will not acknowledge the hidden root of the divisiveness, the fact that moneyed interests in America now have more influence on governance than the voice of ordinary people. The ordinary people don’t like that. Is anybody listening?
Graphic credit: www.teepublic.com