Monday, 21 November 2016
A Changing World Landscape
9-11 to Arab Spring to Brexit to Trump
The US Elections are over and as I had predicted in September 2016, Trump won with an overwhelming majority. Naysayers aside, he has won and for better or for worse, he is the President of USA for the next 4 years if not 8 years.
Is Trump’s victory simply a continuation of the movement that has started to build across the World and will swell into a tsunami as more and more people who have felt disenfranchised over the years will claim what they believe is rightfully theirs? Is there a global move taking place where majority communities in various countries, tired of being told what to do and what not to do, have decided to exercise their franchise?
If one looks back over the past 15 years, the first major change was witnessed by the World on 9-11 when the Twin Towers in New York were brought down by a group of terrorists. This led to the famous “With Us or Against Us” statement by President George Bush leading to a clear partitioning of the World as he chose to understand it. Was this the first move towards a non-inclusive brand of politics that the World would have to get used to?
The war that ensued in the Middle East, followed by the assassination of the two strong men Saddam Hussein in 2006 and Muammar Al Gaddafi in 2011 was the next step in creating larger fissures. The carefully held together peace in the Middle East started to come apart at the seams with the advent of Arab Spring. The creation of ISIS, the war in Syria and all other developments were a result of a group of people reacting to protect themselves and their countries from what they saw as an attack on their religion. That this reaction went to unacceptable extremes could be the subject of a lot of debate.
The result was a huge influx of refugees into Europe must against the wishes of the local majority populations of each country but supported by politicians who saw in this an opportunity to curry favour with some communities.
Brexit was next step in this process where a majority of the citizens voted to exit from the European Union because they saw the character of their nation changing. Was this the beginning of the end of globalization or a borderless world as we have been used to?
Finally, we had President Elect Trump sweeping the polls, much to the consternation of the political pundits, the knowledgeable journalists and the establishment not just in USA but in most countries around the World. Dramatic results are expected in the next couple of years as Germany, France
So what is bringing about the change and why are the voters doing “unexpected” things?
Social Media has empowered the common man
Over the past decade, the communication paradigm has changed completely.
The super star journalists who, sometimes in collusion with politicians, believed that they were the gateways to determining what news could be told, when it should be told and how it should be told are gasping their last breath. Readers and viewers who used to wait for their interpretation are now free to exercise their views through many other channels of communication.
With easy worldwide access to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Instagram, every citizen in every country has now become a journalist. Everyone is not just communicating the news as they see it happening, in words and visually but also writing and giving their own interpretation of the events in the World.
Citizens of a country have become citizens of the World. They now communicate what they feel and what they believe in without any inhibitions. Social media has seen major movements with the grass root citizen literally making or breaking a campaign, be it political or for a movie or for a product. All marketers fear a boycott on social media and savvy politicians have used it to communicate directly to their voters rather through the “coloured” eyes of a journalist.
The silent Majority “Minority” syndrome
What is important is to understand the very significant political changes and people movements taking place in the World. For the past 70 years, since the end of the Second World War, a new breed of politicians, historians and journalists crafted the thinking and beliefs of the masses. With a vice like control over the population, leaders did not encourage the masses to think.
A new breed of “election gurus” took it upon themselves to guide the powerful politicians on how to understand the voters with specific reference to what religious minority communities needed rather than to understand what the nation needs. At the same time, these election gurus also figured out ways to fragment the majority voters at the time of elections in more ways than one.
Seeds of guilt were sown in the minds of majority communities in most countries based on the fact that they had much larger numbers and were generally economically better placed. The word “secular” came into the day-to-day communication of the common man without necessarily understanding its meaning or implications.
If you were a member of a majority community in any country, either by colour or by religious belief, this was to be hidden and apologized for, because this majority was seen to be the privileged community in their own country. Over the years, this majority community has started to feel disenfranchised in their own country and are feeling that they have become a minority in their own country. Politicians are now recognizing, much to their chagrin, that the voice of the majority, if its gets united, has to be heard – there is no choice in the matter.
With the significant increase in immigration, permitted by liberal politicians, pandering to their vote banks, the restlessness of the Majority in each country has increased significantly resulting in yet another group of politicians gaining the support for a new set of reasons.
Vote Bank Politics
Politicians all over the World believed that they understood the power to use Vote Banks to win elections and influence people. Goaded on by analysts, these politicians and their parties have chosen to go down a path of “segmenting” their electorate and appealing to their more basic instincts of survival. Most times this is based on creating a fear psychosis in the minds of the innocent voter.
In India we have the Dalits and a religious minority who, supported by their leaders have never failed to flex their muscle, especially before any sensitive election. Similarly, in America, the Democratic Party spoke non-stop about the uncertainties for the Latino voter and the Black American in tones that would only emphasise the doomsday scenario ahead. Fear, alarmist overtones and poor education coupled with financial incentives at election time has traditionally been a potent yet winning combination in most democracies.
Unfortunately, the right wing politicians are using the same recipe now but this time they are targeting the majority community!
And they are winning convincingly.
The author is the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies and the author of 5 best-selling books, Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire: Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; The Corner Office; An Eye for an Eye; The Buck Stops Here - Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur and The Buck Stops Here – My Journey from a Manager to an Entrepreneur.
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