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Embrace the reality

I have been in situations where I've gone on a tangential path to reality, like the times when I've constructed a reality in my head about how things are that varies from the actuals. And drastically at that, as I found out to my chagrin some years ago now.

I've seen it first hand and I've seen it in other people. A famous example is that of Jose Mourinho, who tried everything he could to get his team to perform to expectations during his last stint as Chelsea manager. He did everything but acknowledge the fact that he had lost the faith of his players. In his reality, the players still had faith in him. So he addressed everything else but this. Eventually, he lost his job. Just like I lost something else before him.

This phenomenon is aptly described by the Brits as 'losing the plot'. We've lost the plot before and we'll lose the plot again in the future. But this year has seen two big collective loss of plot. First Brexit, and now Trump.

I've seen negative sentiment galore on both counts. In fact, I couldn't find a single instance of positive reaction to Trump's victory on my Facebook feed. Of course, a lot of us just jump on the bandwagon and call Trump supporters retards and other such things without fully understanding the merit of the argument. And that's probably how we have collectively lost the plot.

Both Brexit and Trump's election to the US President's office was not something that many expected. When I say 'many', I mean many among the circle of people that I'm exposed to. And since all these other people in my circle and the newspapers and magazines that I regularly read hadn't expected this either, they seem to have been in a position similar to me.

Yet, Trump won with a clear majority and Brits voted Leave with a less clear majority, but a majority nonetheless. It wasn't a thumping victory for Hillary nor for UK to Remain.

So what went wrong?

I'd say nothing. Except maybe that some of us (a minority of us, less than fifty percent that is) have collectively lost the plot. And I don't mean 'lost the plot' in the extreme sense. We just don't seem to understand and empathise and acknowledge the feelings of exclusion and the fear for the future that the Trump supporters and Brexit supporters have felt, and are still feeling.

But Trump did.

He said things that all these people could relate to. We laughed at the things Trump said, we were shocked at the things he said, we were surprised at the things he said. But there were many others that felt the same way. And they've voted him President now. Maybe they have racist tendencies, maybe they genuinely believe that stricter immigration and trade laws will enable them to lead a better life themselves.

If you listened to Trump's acceptance speech, the theme was very clear. He stressed on "We will be forgotten no longer", "Everyone will be able to reach their fullest potential", "We will be second to none", and "The American dream will come true again". People who feel that things aren't working for them heard someone speak their language. And voted for him.

Occupy Wall Street showed large scale unrest against the financial elite, the top one percent. Silicon Valley natives constantly complain about people from all over the world come and displace them. People that lost jobs either to immigrants willing to work for lower wages or to outsourcing, saw in Trump someone that would improve their position. There is huge unrest among Uber drivers for the profits that Uber squeezes out of them.

Recently, when Peter Thiel announced his backing for Trump, there were comments that "There's the Valley and then there's Peter Thiel'. Peter Thiel is a man I respect and when he went on television to answer questions about his backing for Trump, what he said was, "Listen to what he means, not what he says." And I see what he means. Sure, Trump is brash and lets his mouth run wild, which we're unaccustomed to seeing from politicians, let alone from a President. But we haven't seen his policies yet.

Another thing that he said at his acceptance speech was, "I've been in business all my life and I'm good at finding opportunities. And I'll do the same for America."

There was nothing really different about Hillary Clinton from the previous regimes. And there is a difference in Trump. And a majority has decided to take a chance on that difference.

Maybe some of us can never accept Trump as President. But calling the ones that voted him to power as fools or retards will not do anyone any good. It will only push the divide further.

We need to embrace the reality and give Trump a chance. Maybe he'll surprise us all again. Maybe he won't. But more importantly, we need to embrace the reality that a majority feels that he's a better choice to run the country. We don't understand why. We don't think it is a logical or a rational choice. But each man (and woman) has his own rationality. We need to understand the other side.

We need to snap out of our parallel reality where Trump is a nutjob and everyone who voted for him is one too.

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