CHARLOTTE, N.C., November 27, 2016 – For years, the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders has been a voice crying out in the wind for a greater understanding of the threat posed by Islamic extremism. Early this week, Wilders gave a closing statement to a three-judge panel in his current trial which centers on the beseiged Western tradition of freedom of speech.
Wilders has already been acquitted on similar charges in the past. But this time, his accusers say he has overstepped his boundaries by targeting Moroccans in his remarks.
For years, Wilders has lived his life largely in isolation at least in part because he has become such a powerful advocate against Islamic extremist ideology. He cannot open his own mailbox out of fear a bomb. He wears a bulletproof vest to meetings and police constantly guard the door when he uses the bathroom.
And yet, opponents have still failed to silence him. But ironically, now Wilders’ own government may accomplish the job.
Observers of the recent Brexit vote in the United Kingdom should have been aware it constituted a powerful indicator of what to expect in the American elections that ultimately voted underrated Donald Trump into the American presidency. The mood of the world is rapidly changing. The Geert Wilders case is another example of how weary people have become of leaders who fail to listen to its own citizens who live in lands where freedom supposedly rings, at least faintly.
In the United States, the people have a voice and they have expressed it loudly in three successive elections, 2010, 2014 and again in 2016. All three took place during Barack Obama’s tenure. While the current occupant of the White House is far too narcissistic to see or recognize this trend as a repudiation of his policies, the rest of the world has only recently begun catching on.
Said Wilders in his final statement to the court,
“…when you judge me, you are not just passing judgment on a single man, but on millions of men and women in the Netherlands. You are judging millions of people. People who agree with me. People who will not understand a conviction. People who want their country back, who are sick and tired of not being listened to, who cherish freedom of expression.”
Wilders was not only talking to the Dutch judges. He was also speaking out for the freedom-loving world at large.
In the United States, if the progressive whining and wailing concerning the outcome of Election 2016 does not come to an end soon, liberalism will inevitably face a long road back to relevance. That is because—other than the east and west coasts—most Americans are wearing red these days and they are fighting to take our country back.
The United States often views the world with tunnel-vision, with many citizens and leaders alike unable to focus on the prevalent moods in other countries. Elections will soon occur in Austria and Italy. Do not be surprised if the results are similar to Brexit and Trump or if the polls once again fail to predict these outcomes..
Next year three other countries will also go to the polls. Once again, given recent history, those elections will prove even more powerful because they will take place in France, Germany and the Netherlands.
On this side of the Atlantic, American liberals may pooh-pooh the Trump phenomenon. But they will be unable to explain away the Brexit vote and the growing discontent in other Western nations whose voters that are their disapproval of the status quo at the ballot box.
Oddly enough, a song penned in 1964 by Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan sums up the current popular mood not only of the United States but many Western nations as well:
“…admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You will be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin.’”
To be sure, one day the pendulum will swing back in the other direction. But for now, it is time for the other side to have its say for a change, and attempt to make realistic changes that help us all rather than to aid only the elites who make up the rules that have long favored only themselves.
Geert Wilders and others like him, are, at long last, finally being heard in their own countries and around the world. Granted, the outcome of his current trial may make little news in the U.S. But it will be yet another indicator of where the global community is heading.
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Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
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