Sad, angry and wow: the liberal reactions to 2016

In February 2016, Facebook users were provided the option of reacting to posts in their newsfeed instead of just liking them. In retrospect, the feature was introduced just in time for liberals all around the globe.

Facebook reaction buttons

Since that, I had the opportunity of clicking sad on posts after the Brexit referendum, wow on campaign promises of former Presidential candidate turned walking threat to world peace Donald Trump, and had the privilege of letting the world know that I was angry after the clusterfuck, which seemed to signal the end of the 2016 US presidential election.

I see the results as the following. Russian President Vladimir Putin helped a walking mad man receive 3 million votes less than the sensible candidate, and now this person is moving in to the White House.

My point is: while the ignorant masses just liked their way through 2016, we liberals had to panic between the wow, sad and angry buttons all year long.

Not everything is lost though and relief comes from places, where you would not expect it from. Just proving that extraordinary is considered the ordinary in the region, Romanian voters just laughed into the face of the zeitgeist and elected a corrupt, but pro-EU, pro-US (whatever that means now), social liberal force to form the next government of the country.

I am not saying that there are globally relevant take-aways from the Romanian elections, but it is nice to know that even if Romania remained to be the second poorest country in the EU, they still lived up to certain principles.

The real problem is that neither Romania, nor Facebook reaction buttons will make a difference. A fair share of the population of Western-Europe and North-America simply forgot that the long lasting peace and amazing progress since the second world war is probably the result of economic and political integration, combined with the military guarantee of the United States of America.

Take any of the elements out of the equation and you can see regions, where the power vacuum is filled by non-state actors, like ISIS, or pretty much state actors, like the Russian Federation. Let us start building a consensus that non of those situations seem very encouraging for the future of the West.

It is time for liberal forces to organise, act and push their agendas in a louder, more efficient and clearer manner than before. Competing forces and ideologies did not go extinct and if liberal democracies do not fill the space available for power, then perverted versions of failed ideologies will do.

If you are tired of using the sad, wow and angry buttons on Facebook, then it is high-time for you to stand up and act in real life, to create more likeable content for 2017. This might as well be your New Year’s resolution. Happy New Year!


About the Author
David Forras holds a Masters degree in Corporate Communication from IE University, Madrid, Spain. He worked in the Hungarian financial services industry mainly in the fields of commercial development, marketing and PR. He was involved in several civil organizations and therefore has experience at community development and extremism monitoring. Currently, he works as a journalist in Budapest, Hungary. All views in the blog are his and do not represent the opinion of any organization.
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