The world has returned to normal. The US is back in the hands of the whites while Hispanics, blacks, homosexuals, intellectuals, liberals and all of the others who have fought for visibility and equal rights in Western democracies since the middle of the 20th century have been put back in their places. It is a tragedy.
It wasn't a battle of the poor against the rich; it wasn't only the white working class that cast their ballots for Donald Trump. More than half of white men holding university degrees and earning an annual salary of at least $50,000 also supported Trump. The decisive trait that unifies Donald Trump's voters isn't social class, it's skin color. His election victory isn't the result of class conflict, it's the product of a clash of cultures.
It shouldn't be forgotten that it has only been a single generation since packed churches in white suburbs, patriarchal family structures and ethnically homogenous workplaces were considered the norm by most Americans and Western Europeans. Only the 1968 cultural revolution made it clear that there were political groups who didn't have a voice in the political process, such as women, homosexuals and ethnic minorities.
Shouldn't Everyone Be Happy?
In his novel "American Pastoral," Philip Roth described the collapse of this system and how a younger generation confronted its parochial parents with their hypocrisy. A democracy that didn't include entire layers of society wasn't worth the name.
Today, this generation dominates the corridors of power: It forged globalization and invented color-blind neoliberalism; it seeks to free humanity through technology, writes editorials, leads companies and fights for marriage equality and the legalization of cannabis.
It is a generation that took it to be self-evident that its cultural domination would be beneficial to all. It believed that even the reactionaries in this world they were creating would acquiesce. After all, these people weren't losing anything just because homosexuals could get married and stoners could get stoned. Everybody would have a place in this world.
The intellectual underpinnings of this revolution were provided by the post-modern theoreticians found in Paris, Princeton and Berkeley. They posited that language determines reality; that answers always depended on the question; and that political realities could be changed by permitting new voices to join the debate. They believed that the social order, the language and the worldview that their parents saw as a law of nature was an artificial construct -- which meant that it could be reconstructed.
No one, though, seemed to understand that the mere loss of privileged status could be perceived as an indignity. Nobody realized that equal rights aren't necessarily a desirable ideal for those who have the best deal of all and are treated better than everyone else. In a liberal and just world, everyone was expected to be happier.