Saifi Yunus: The rise of Donald Trump and his possible Presidency, Exit of Britain from Eurozone, exponential elevation of fringe loose mouthed politicians to enviable stature in India, newsrooms turning into courtrooms: times have never been so good for xenophobes and demagogues since Cold War era.
Not only the path of maligning ‘others’ is reaping rich dividends, it has also become an easy route to climb the ladder. Gone are the days when it required years of struggle, protests, perseverance and political sagacity to make a name worthwhile in public life. These are the times when communications have brought information closer but made people farther from each other with suspicion and hatred.
Rumour mongers and miscreants are having a field day. Any picture of Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Chanakya and Winston Churchill with any fictitious caption finds immediate takers on internet. Social Media has given voices to many such jingoists and bigots who normally can’t muster courage to question anyone in person. So they hide behind the comfort of anonymity and spit venom.
Poignant part is that people tend to believe what they want to believe, even if not verified, rather than agreeing to something which clashes with their inherent ideologies. As a result those who lack in traditional profundity and astuteness, resort to this weapon: Fear Politics. Donald Trump has never been known for his leadership qualities, nor for his expert opinions on foreign and fiscal policies. Unlike his predecessors, he can’t seem to frame a single sentence of his speech with expected Presidential erudition. He, being a wily businessman, understood forehand that he didn’t stand a chance in public discourses against seasoned senators and figures like Hilary Clinton,Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio.
The way to encounter their logical aspersions was to reply with something so distasteful which unsettles the rival’s senses as well as grab the eyeballs of the world. Building a wall and expecting Mexico to pay for it is as preposterous thinking as it can be. The promise to wipe out $18 Trillion debt in 8 years is again a ludicrous statement with no substantial explanation. But what all this demagoguery has done is that it has made all the dormant right-wingers and supremacists rally behind him.
Today Donald Trump is one step away from becoming the Leader of the Free World which proves that he is not as asinine as his rivals think of him. Cut to India. The rise of so called ‘firebrand leaders’ like Yogi Adityanath, Akbaruddin Owaisi, Kailash Vijayvargiya, Sadhvi Prachi and Giriraj Kishor is not a mere incidence. These demagogues know very well the rich dividends they can reap from the vicious war of words. Not a single member of this chauvinist club can articulate well on real issues like fiscal condition of the economy, growing Left Wing Extremism, unstable border situation, unemployment, dismal HDI or the gaping sex ratio in the country.
They avoid one-to-one Question-Answer sessions as they know they’ll be left finding words in the mouth. Hence they chose monologues. They spit venom and then hide behind the curtains. Its a cold blooded well-thought out plan. What is helping their cause is the rise of news anchors-turned-judges. In the name of National pride, these new age journalists are nothing but chauvinists who are crime in partners with these demagogues.
The Newsrooms of such compromised media personnel taste blood on each extreme statement and go berserk. Social Media zealots get ample ammunition to sling mud on each other. Prime time coverage is given to these bigots. Within no time these individuals climb the ladders of political popularity upto such a level which even decades old seasoned politicians fail to match. The troublesome part is that this brigade of xenophobes and demagogues is only bound to grow in this atmosphere of heightened communal frenzy. Because its a short cut to success; a lethal tool for low IQ individuals, a lucrative business in the world of cut throat competition.