Public Eye

We Americans are not stupid – Trump’s win is a success of democracy, not a failure

Go ahead, knock America – not only is its democracy strong enough to withstand that, but it allows you to do it, and the country remains strong as ever

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 November, 2016, 5:13pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 November, 2016, 5:13pm

I beg your pardon, democracy never promised you a rose garden. All it promises is your right to choose, nothing more, nothing less. If you choose a bigot, bully and misogynist, so be it. You must live with your choice. This represents a success of democracy, not a failure.

Ever since Donald Trump’s shock election, friends have mocked my adopted country, asking why Americans are so stupid. I voted for Barack Obama twice but didn’t vote this time. Democracy’s free choice allows me not to choose.

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We Americans are not stupid. We proudly source our strength in our right to choose. We make mistakes. Who doesn’t? But we prefer that to a small circle of unelected political elites produced through closed-door power struggles. There are no core leaders in America, only elected ones.

Whether Trump’s election was a disaster is subjective. Half the country thinks so, the other half doesn’t. Along with the sunshine, there’s gotta be a little rain sometime. If enough of the country eventually concludes Trump is too much rain, voters can always throw him out at the ballot box.

It’s fashionable to knock America, more so now that the dirty linen of both presidential candidates was so publicly washed during the election campaign. Hillary Clinton mocked Trump as a Putin puppet. He called her crooked Hillary. The media labelled him groper-in-chief after an audio recording surfaced of him making sexist remarks.

So, go ahead, knock America, burn the flag, and denigrate the president. Not only is its democracy strong enough to withstand that, it allows you to do it. The world wrote off America as a waning superpower during the 2008 financial meltdown. Yet it’s still strong as ever, politically and economically.

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If the United States sucks, why have more than 300,000 mainland students gone there? Why do Indians, Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos, you name it, succeed when they go to America? They’ve all come to look for America. Musician Paul Simon wrote that in 1968. It was true then, and it’s true now, President Trump or not.

Why do I defend democracy when I wrote last year that Hong Kong needs a dose of dictatorship? I stand by that because neither semi-democracies nor unprincipled democracies such as the Philippines and India work. Our semi-democracy produced the clowns in our legislature. Singapore’s supposed democracy comes with a dose of dictatorship. Who can dispute it works far better than Hong Kong?