ART BY TIFFANY CHAN
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this piece are not a reflection of the views of Paw Prints Weekly as a whole. They are the sole views of the author. Paw Prints Weekly celebrates a diverse audience and staff, and it supports the declaration of the duties and rights of a Journalist per the U.S. Constitution.
A massive crowd of people march down a Polish street in opposition to the European Union’s immigration policies. Homophobic slurs echo through Brazilian rallies on election night.
All around the world, countries are experiencing the strongest conservative wave the world has seen in decades. This rapid regression of hard-fought politics will no doubt cause major chaos in the world if not quickly addressed.
So how did this global conservative fever come about?
Perhaps one of the greatest contributors to this phenomenon is the rise of a vocal minority on the left, who are given a strong platform to signal their radical ideas. Though voicing one’s opinions is completely valid and even encouraged by society, numerous politically-charged groups have taken such a right too far.
Such groups include Antifa, a radical left-wing group that uses violence to silence disagreeing individuals, which completely disregards the First Amendment. Many other people, some of whom openly advocate for white genocide, are also violating the rights that American citizens are granted through the constitution.
And the United States, with all of its global political power, is a prime example of far-left individuals taking advantage of a once fair system. For instance, the American public’s violently negative reactions to President Donald Trump’s election proved that citizens felt the victory of Trump to be a direct insult to their liberal agenda. While this reaction illustrated the country’s resilience when it comes to electing a disagreeable individual, proving the country adept to keep its politics in line with reserved progression, countries who do not have as prolific of a progressive history are not so lucky.
One such country is Brazil, with its notoriously conservative election happening just a few weeks ago. Newly elected president Jair Bolsonaro is just one of many signs of a rising conservative movement across the globe. Earlier this year, France too witnessed the rise of a serious conservative candidate, Marine Le Pen, who advocated for stricter border control policies against Muslim immigrants. Similarly, Poland is host to an aggressively conservative government, which also actively defies the controversial immigration policies of the European Union.
While many proclaim these countries to be racist, misogynistic, islamophobic and any other label we can think of, it is important to take into consideration the defining cultural differences between countries.
For centuries, the United States has boldly blazed the trail for reform and progression time and time again. Specifically, the United States has historically been a leading beacon of change for human rights.
Furthermore, the United States exerts global economic pressure. As such, it is difficult for many less prosperous countries to oppose America’s democratic values. And yet, with all of its progressive grandeur, America still harbors some of the most radically liberal individuals, protesting with violence in the worse cases. With this happening in America, the most influential country for decades on end, it’s no surprise that less fortunate countries may feel pressured to stick closely to traditional ideologies, so as to prevent such extreme liberal outrage.
Though often taken for granted, the sweeping social changes in the United States are only relatively recent developments. Many countries did not grant women the right to vote until the 1950s, and only recently did the United States finally pass gay marriage. When people are faced with the unknown, the most common reaction is fear. Attacking new developing countries as they adjust to progressive change just because they are not adjusting fast enough only provides weight to the fearmongering that many right-wing activists in these counties employ.
The election of Jair Bolsonaro only worsens the already dire battleground for progressivism. In many ways, the election of Bolsonaro might be even more harmful than Trump’s. Bolsonaro plans to take Brazil down a new path of uncertainty, making statements that impose extreme misogynistic, homophobic and downright dangerous rhetoric.
Initially, Bolsonaro campaigned with a desire to eliminate political corruption and change Brazil. Yet, he quickly targeted radical liberal rhetoric, stating that they were too intense and instilled fear in Brazilians.
Bolsonaro’s rise to the presidency greatly parallels that of President Trump. Both presidents declared war against journalism, deeming liberal-leaning newspapers “fake news.” While a few news sources are indeed excessively biased, the majority of criticized newspapers do not warrant censorship. Elected officials’ scrutiny and degradation of even moderate newspapers, stripping away people’s freedom of speech and right to information, sets a dangerous precedent for future officials.
Additionally, both presidents would not hold their current offices if it were not for the mistakes made by the opposing party. In America, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) alienated many voters by cheating Bernie Sanders out of his nomination. Instead, the DNC nominated a controversial figure with a long history of corruption and questionable circumstances. Additionally, the DNC isolated many white, middle-class voters in recent years, in favor of minorities and immigrants. President Trump took full advantage of this, basing his platform almost exclusively on the “forgotten blue collar American.”
And in the recent election that Bolsonaro won, things were no different.
Just as President Trump did, Bolsonaro seized the opportunity of a struggling liberal party, fully basing his platform on bringing about economic reform to Brazil. Yet, many voters chose to ignore the unpresidential statements that these individuals constantly remark in favor of political change.
There is a simple fix for this. Left-wing politicians can no longer ignore a massive demographic of voters or a widespread corruption problem; instead they must address these issues head on. At the same time, liberal-leaning citizens must keep themselves in check, restricting platforms from those who hold more radical sentiments.
And with the recent onset of political controversy, especially in the context of conservatism, it’s important for citizens of the world to understand the weight of politics and government. Blindly protesting for extreme reform without being adequately informed is completely counterproductive for the progression that world politics really needs today. Mistakes like the fervently radical steps some liberals are taking today serve as direct ammunition for controversial candidates to fire against innocent citizens. If unable to address such pressing issues, this immense conservative wave might truly overtake us.