Replacing the worst does not mean we have to wait for the flawless Mr Perfect

Alternatives are always there. There may not be perfect alternatives but better alternatives are never too far. Donald Trump’s replacement need not have the stature of Lincoln or Roosevelt

Replacing the worst does not mean we have to wait for the flawless Mr Perfect

Ranjona Banerji

Of the many mind and thought manipulations that the right wing has become adept at is this, to my thinking, most brilliant of all. It says that since I am regressive, reactionary, bigoted, prejudiced and everyone knows that I am so, anyone who stands up against me must be my exact opposite, and perfection itself. Otherwise, I have to reign supreme because no one is a worthy challenger.

And the first to fall for this arrant nonsense are the left-of-centre woolly-minded liberals permanently in search of an ideal, flawless, faultless god that they themselves do not believe in. The trap is set, and the political destruction of a civilization is in place. And even worse, it will be engineered by the very people who claim to oppose the regressive, the reactionary, the bigoted, the prejudiced the genocidal, only because they are too stupid to accept the fact that they are being played.

It’s a pattern being repeated world over. Since it’s currently fashionable for Indian commentators to become all-knowing on US politics, let me venture there. As the US presidential elections are underway and Donald Trump and his team try every trick in the book to win, it is anti-Trump people themselves who spend most of their time picking at his opponent Joe Biden and Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama. These are people who claim they do not like Trump and list all his transgressions. But they are unwilling to accept any political opponent to Trump because no opponent can pass the perfection test set by Trump himself. Trump does not of course have to pass the test because he is regressive, reactionary et cetera.

I leave you to mull over the stupidity of this while we switch to India. After over six years of BJP and Narendra Modi rule, anyone with half a brain, regardless of their political leaning, knows that we are in a mess. But we still have our esteemed thinkers telling us that Rahul Gandhi cannot oppose Modi either because he does not have enough experience or because of something his great-grandfather said or did. And this same pattern is repeated across every political party in India, whether it’s the DMK, the Trinamool Congress, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Samajwadi Party, the Left Front and so on. Only the BJP is allowed that free pass because it does not have to pass any moral test or indeed have a moral compass.

Let’s be kind for a moment to these commentators with high standards. Yes of course, the very purpose of objecting to regressive, reactionary, prejudiced genocidal maniacal bigots is to want someone better than them. The problem is that when you or I pretend that there is any ideal human available. It’s the extent of the failing that we need to consider, not the fact that someone has one or several flaws. Look around you, we’re all flawed.

And take a closer look, all gods made in the human image are also flawed. Those failings are an essential part of their divinity because they are supposed to teach us lessons of failure and success, of overcoming obstacles and making mistakes on the way to a goal. This is where I wish everyone was a student of literature because that’s when you fully appreciate how the essence of every tragic hero is that fatal flaw that leads to their downfall, that in your greatest victory lies your biggest loss.

How these intelligent liberals missed the essentials of human nature and applied some crackpot perfection model to real life and that too to something as venal as politics boggles the mind. Yes people, you are correct, there is no perfect alternative to anyone. But there is always an alternative. You have to add up the odds and decide which is the best of the bad lot. That’s about as idealistic as it gets.

And if you decide that if there is no perfection, you would rather go with the worst of human nature, then why not come out openly and say so? The supporters of reactionary, regressive, bigoted, prejudiced, genocidal maniacs are proud and open about their associations. Just join their gang of thugs and drop this pretentious public-handwringing.

Of course, while they still allow it, we still have freedom of thought and the search for perfection too. Why not apply those high standards to everyone, including the worst of us? Remember, the shark has, pretty teeth, dear…

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