By Pamela Anderson
Anniversaries are always a great opportunity for reflection and I have seen quite a number over the last few days and weeks.
The Democrats in the USA have been commiserating and consulting each other about their year with the Trump administration. The British are still trying to figure out why people voted for the Brexit in 2016 referendum. The Germans and the French have barely gotten over the stunning success of AfD and Le Penn in their recent elections. And many wonder how people in Philippines could possibly elect someone like Rodrigo Duterte.
There is a lot of despair and thought about "what happened?"
One American commentator even declared after the election night that she contacted "people who lived, or had lived, under authoritarianism to ask what to expect".
I do not think that you should ask your friends in North Korea, Saudi Arabia or Uzbekistan what to do. Good old relationship advice is far better suited to equip you with some wisdom here.
So, here are my FIVE STEPS on how to get over the political heartbreak, how to move on and how to find new a happy political life with a new love.
I hope this helps you make sense of this new reality and helps you make better love and political choices in the future.
1. View your relationship from the outside.
If you have been in a relationship for a long time you might start to feel comfortable, or even worse, you get complacent. And bored. From that comes resentment and on the top of it the sex has gone stale and unexciting. Before you know it, one of you is filing for divorce. This is what happened with Hilary Clinton and the Democrats base.
You also need to be able to see if you are in an abusive relationship.
Get the hell out of it if you are.
Thankfully, the Democrats did this last year during the US primaries, in droves. However Clinton was not letting them get away from her that easily. Bernie Sanders was a serious challenge to Clinton. He was genuinely popular while Clinton won the primaries only through an abuse of incumbent power. He was strong, she was weak. And we saw all the hallmarks of a controlling and manipulative partner. Clinton rigged the primaries just so nobody could leave. We recently saw this in Donna Brazile's words. Brazile stuck up for Clinton because that is often what victims in abusive relationships do.
2. Do not play blame games.
Blaming everyone else for getting out of a bad relationship is positively odious. Don't believe that all is fair in love and war; it is not.
Democrats are blaming the election on many things. On the Russian government. On sexism. On Wikileaks. On "fake news"...
But totalitarians triumph when the grievances of the ordinary people have no outlet, and when people are enticed by false populism. The recent examples show that parties of reaction explicitly speak to the people whose material conditions have worsened under the neo-liberal consensus, globalization, deindustrialization and the transition to a service economy. They pretend they have remedies to these problems, while at the same time using minorities as scapegoats. But they direct these social grievances towards the further empowerment of capital, which stands to worsen overall conditions even more.
The neoliberal "center," as it likes to think of itself, has no answer for this.
In the USA, the Obama/Clinton ascendancy within the Democratic Party shows an outright failure to understand these social antagonisms and respond to them properly. Instead, the Democrats were fielding a candidate who represents continuity with the very political reality which has oppressed the American people. This is the reason for their failure. Nobody or nothing else is!
You must stop this and own your experience.
3. Don't do rebounds or replacements
Rebounds rarely turn into happy, long-term and stable relationships.
They are for emotional maniacs. They usually result in even more resentment and bitterness.
There is talk that Michelle Obama or Mark Zuckerberg or some other billionaire should run in the next US presidential election. Or some other "centrist" with progressive credentials. Reactionaries are winning in the Democratic party and are marginalizing Bernie Sanders and his movement. These might have some electoral purchase in the short term but it is doomed in the medium to long run even if they win.
You can do better.
But it is not just in USA. In the UK, there are so many attacks on Jeremy Corbyn and all sides are constantly trying to undermine him. It is very unhealthy.
4. Stop making the same mistakes.
Stupidity is defined as repeating the very same action over and over yet expecting a different result.
You must not fall into a pattern of repeating the very same dysfunctional relationships. Avoid courting the same old narcissists.
The ones who think it is all about them. Who promise you the world but treat you like rubbish.
And when they hurt you, they pretend it never happened.
The same goes for politics. In the last USA elections, the Democrats were adamant about maintaining the status quo. They are still obsessively holding onto their old agenda and refusing to acknowledge that things need to change. They are in love with the same awful neo-liberal policies which ruined millions of lives in the USA and beyond.
It is true that for some of us (those slightly more well-off with jobs), neo-liberalism has been friendlier, less destructive and more sustainable. But we must admit that it did not work out for many many other people. It did not work for the under privileged working people in the USA and in the West. For miners and steelworkers and manufacturing workers who lost their jobs and were expected to find employment in the highly competitive service economy. Selling goods and services made by the glorified slave labour of people in other parts of the world, like South East Asia, Eastern Europe or Latin America. All while exploiting the poor in the periphery of Global South. While destroying the most of the planet to enrich a small part of it. While waging wars.
And this has created the world you now lament.
It must stop.
5. Take a leap of faith with a new love
There is a saying that a relationship is like a house. If a light bulb breaks, you do not get a new house. You change a light bulb. Unless the house is all rotten. In which case, you get rid of it and get a new, much better one. With proper light bulbs.
You see, your entire house is beyond repair, its wiring is rotten and and damp have set in. Every single light bulb exploded, causing harm. It is a time you raze it to the ground and build a new house. With a better architect using new and different ideas. And of course with energy saving eco-friendly light bulbs.
Finding a new love now might seem unthinkable but it actually isn't.
Just be open to trying new things.
You can start supporting those candidates with social programs that herald genuine progressive change. People like Bernie Sanders in USA, or Jeremy Corbyn in the UK or Jean-Luc Mélenchon in France. Their popularity is increasing more and more. Their programs are a more genuine remedy to the hardships of the poor people. It would be a social transformation of some form of social democracy, potentially retooled for the modern global economy, with better environmental policies.
Their messages represent the only viable counterargument to the swindle that exists in parties of reaction.
Join their movement.