Thursday, June 03, 2021

Irrational

The question with Lucy and the football was always whether, on some level, she believed the things she said.

-- xkcd caption to "Finish Line"

trump's electoral loss in 2020 did not end the madness.

In some ways - looking back at the last 40 years when the madness began under Reagan - the madness has been getting worse, with the Republicans reacting caustically to Bill Clinton's administration in the 1990s and then going full-on obstructionist during Barack Obama's tenure between 2009 to 2016. It's been a downward spiral from Southern Strategy to Newt's Contract On America to the Tea Party to "Stolen Ballots," and it's been getting worse as trump trolls the nation with his Big Lie that ongoing recount "audits" will lead to his "reinstatement" to the Presidency by August. As noted by Maggie Haberman, quoted in this Brendan Morrow article in The Week:

Haberman tweeted on Tuesday, in response to reporting about Flynn's comments about a coup in the United States, that Trump "has been telling a number of people he's in contact with that he expects he will get reinstated by August" — confirming in a subsequent tweet she means reinstated as president.  

"No that isn't how it works," Haberman added, "but simply sharing the information."

"That isn't how it works" refers to the reality that our Constitution spells out via various Articles and Amendments that the person who wins the Electoral College (in 2020 that's Biden) and gets certified by Congress (which happened on January 6 in spite of trump's insurrection) and takes the Oath of Office on January 20 (which Biden did) becomes President at that moment. Anyone previously President loses the office, the powers, the job title, a number of perks, and gets flown out of town while the new President parties on down with everyone he brought with him. If by some chance trump and his people were able to prove there was voter fraud or stolen ballots - which they haven't been able to prove for more than seven months now - there's no do-over vote or recount: The 25th Amendment kicks in and it goes to the next in line (since the voter fraud likely included the Veep count, Harris would be out) and it would go to the Speaker of the House currently Pelosi.

I guarantee you trump won't accept that either.

It seems like madness to those of us outside of trump's epistemic bubble, but that madness stems from one core trumpian belief: The world is made up of "Winners" and "Suckers" and HE, donald trump, must never be a "Sucker". So he always presents himself a "Winner," in spite of the business failings, in spite of the clear evidence he is unpopular to a majority of the world. In trump's mind, there is no way he could have lost, and so he lies to others - and apparently to himself - that the election was stolen and he deserves being the Winner despite the rules, despite the reality.

This wouldn't normally be a problem if it was just trump ranting about this back at one of his mansions (I think he's hiding out in New Jersey at the moment, Mar-A-Lago closed for the summer apparently). He'd be flailing at friends and family up until the point they tire of it and have him Baker Acted for delusions and onset dementia.

The horrifying thing is, trump's madness is infectious. It spread to a group of people already suffering their own delusions among Republicans who have been told for decades to hate and fear minorities, women, college students, and Democrats. trump became the mad king of a political party whose Grand Far Right Narrative was open to the lies trump spewed, and his lies became their madness as well.

And it's a madness with no cure. Once those acidic ideas got into the voter base of the GOP, once the corruption seeped upward into a leadership hungry to stay in power in spite of the real majority, there's no talking them down from that fantasy. How can we convince them otherwise, to accept a real world where they're not the heroes of their Far Right Narrative?

To quote the Rude Pundit:

As I've said before, you can't argue with someone who refuses to accept that reality is real. They are, for lack of a more articulate term, sick. Perhaps even actually mentally ill. I don't say that lightly. What else can you say about people who believe a fantasy to the point that they are willing to commit violence over it? The thing is that one day the most fervent are going to want their belief to be put into action. And I think that the full danger is that Democrats are not just underestimating how much Republicanism is about rigging democracy, but they are not getting just how many legitimately sick people there are.

In other words, we are dealing with a Trump-induced hysteria, one that plays into every fear that conservatives, both the craven opportunists and the true believers, have warned their followers about for years, one that takes all their fears of non-whites and socialists (whatever the fuck they think that means) and abortions and non-Christians (because that fucking sky wizard is always in the mix) and LGBTQ people and wraps it in a big package with QAnon bow that says, "Of course they had to destroy the one man who was going to save us all." And, of course, in the face of that, a coup is horribly logical to keep that fantasy of white Christian supremacy alive...

For all the hope in the media that trump is just spewing nonsense, we have to look at how eager trump's fanbase rose up to trump's commands to storm Congress and stop the Electoral count. We have to consider the eagerness of trump's handlers and advocates who openly call for further coup attempts the way Mike Flynn did when he praised the Myanmar takeover as "something that should happen here".

The United States is still facing a sizable faction of our fellow citizenry consumed with the fantasies of a militia uprising against "the communists and subversives" that they read about in the Turner Diaries and listen to on the Far Right rage shows. It doesn't help us that a number of Republican-controlled states are passing pro-gun laws that are going to make it impossible to hold the gun-nuts responsible for their actions.

We're looking at a hot summer, America, and I'm not talking about climate change (although that's another problem).

Stay safe, and for the Love of GOD turn off the Fox Not-News and every other Far Right ragefest. That hate is making everyone around us insane.


3 comments:

dinthebeast said...

The only "cure" I can even imagine working is if Fergus gets convicted and imprisoned and when his idiot hordes act out over it, they get arrested, convicted and imprisoned also.
Yes, it's as ugly as it is unlikely, but the alternative is just the continuation of the Republican drift into fascism that has remained unchecked with each successive Republican president's felonious acts going unpunished.
As Bill Clinton once said, they'll keep doing this as long as it keeps working.

-Doug in Sugar Pine

Infidel753 said...

What else can you say about people who believe a fantasy to the point that they are willing to commit violence over it?

That's normally called "religion".

Once fundamentalists captured the Republican party, the present morass of violent delusions was pretty much inevitable. Minds that embrace one deranged belief are easy prey for other such beliefs.

Paul W said...

I know that religion - especially the evangelicalism that has an absolute "God Loves ME For Being Perfect" mindset - has affected the Republican Party, that a lot of their disbelief in democracy comes from that evangelical mindset to never share power or wealth.

There are other ideologies - other isms - that corrupted the Republicans as much as religion has. The racism that underlines conservative thought, the Jim Crow Keep-Em-Chained Segregation Forever bullshit, which jumped from Democrats to Dixiecrats to Nixon's Southern Strategy to Reagan's modern Republicans. When you listen or read to what the Far Right is spewing, a lot of it is fear and anger related to that godawful Replacement Theory: A mix of racism and religious bigotry once aimed at Jews. The modern GOP has upgraded that to include Blacks, Mexicans, Asians, Muslims, and Feminists.

There are other religions, other beliefs out there that AREN'T bound or tainted by racism (and sexism). I say this as a (lapsed) Unitarian who does find some personal strength in my belief. Faith alone isn't the problem: Fear and Rage masquerading as faith is.