THE WILLINGNESS TO REJECT REALITY

There was an article in “The Atlantic” — A Political Obituary for Donald Trump (this article will appear in the January/February 2021 issue) — about Trump and how his lies are like radioactive dust. The distrust they have caused may never entirely die. There was also a commentary pointing out that Trump’s “believers” cannot be assigned to mere stupidity or ignorance. It takes an act of will to consciously remove yourself from a world of established fact. It take a powerful act of will to reject reality.

It is an excellent article and I recommend you read it. It added more questions to my ever-growing collection about what is it we did wrong to cause so many people to want nothing more than to escape into a non-real world? You would think that the escapees would be the most oppressed and poorest people, but that would be wrong. The people who fight systemic racism, financial inequality, and other injustices are not rejecting reality. They are fighting against wrongs that exist, but not against basic facts and essential truths.

This is something about which we need to think. The majority of Trump’s believers in a non-fact-based reality are not the poor and oppressed. Many are wealthy or at least well to do. Most are middle class or better. They are not suffering oppression. Yet it is obvious that they hate America and the values on which the nation was built.

What is it they hate? Why do they hate it? To say they are fighting “neglect” or being “overlooked” is untrue. Most of these folks are not neglected. More accurately, they don’t feel they get the honor and respect they think should be theirs and which the rest of us feel belongs to everyone.

So. Is it the concept of democracy itself — the idea that all humans are born equal — that they hate? Are they so bound up in the ugly belief that they are “superior” people? That no one should be their equal? That they should be honored because they have white skin or are (nominally) Christian? It is that they cannot tolerate standing with others who are in some way different to form a society?

That is what I think. These people don’t like or want democracy for anyone but themselves.  No democracy if it includes people of whom they do not approve. People with a different religion or skin color are O-U-T. It is a giant mass of intolerance, fear, distrust, and whining complaints. It is a twisted child infant born of democracy but demonized by those for whom democracy is what they get. but only them. No one outside their hand-picked group is allowed into the circle.

There is a lot of tracing the lines of hatred and ugliness that we need to do. After which, we have to see if indeed there is anything we can do that will fix it. I’m not convinced that we can ever fully understand how these people came to hate everything and everyone and I really wonder how or if we can make it go away.



Categories: American history, democracy, good-and-evil, Government, Lies - lying - liars, Politics, Racism and Bigotry, right and wrong

Tags: , , , , , , ,

9 replies

  1. Thank you so much for writing this post. It was very helpful for understanding what has gone wrong. It seems to boil down to self-centeredness and selfishness that is fueled by anger and hate – or the other way around. This explanation makes more sense based on my observations of who are Trump supporters. I don’t feel hopeful because it is very hard to fix self-centeredness and to create compassion and caring for those who are different.

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    • I’m at a loss too. But these people seem so self-righteously angry that “no one appreciates them.” No one appreciates most of us. I worked more than 40 years and didn’t get any prizes and eventually my job was declared “obsolete.” Remarkably, this didn’t cause me to join a hate group. Maybe I’m not important enough.

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      • LOL – nope, no ribbons for showing up and doing what we agreed to do and do our best at it. Maybe after Trump is out of office these people who have always been there will retreat to the quiet of their home and wait for another angry, incompetent person to give them reason to fight for the rights that go with being a white male (or being married to a white male who doesn’t respect women).

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  2. We live in a society where freedom of speech is based on the ability to re-write history in any way you choose.., especially if you have the money and power to do so. We simply deny the Holocaust, endorse stealing land from from Native Americans, or import a work force from other indigenous cultures. Truth is unbound by the fact of its actuality. Alternate truths can be freely inserted, and validated, just by saying. What have we become?

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    • We have been rewriting history since we founded the country. Before, actually. We have NEVER told the truth about slavery or the slaughter of Native Americans. Or, for that matter, refusal of the government to allow Jewish refugees into the country as the Nazis were setting out to murder them.

      ALL country’s have ugly secrets. Maybe some of them tell the truth about them, but I doubt it. When pretty much every Australian actor they could find made “Australia,” (the movie), the critic down there hated it. WE liked it because it was not that much different from our own (true) story.

      After WW2, many country’s rewrote their history. They couldn’t live with the stench of reality. We are not different. We also aren’t any better.

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  3. I believe this systemic hatred and intolerance comes out of an education system where so much of what is taught depends on the local school board. Many of them are run by people who are not educators, but local people who pass along their own ideas of history and society. The hate is taught at an early age and so many Americans are indoctrinated into it. I am not sure how we will ever overcome this view that is taught and perpetuated by intolerant people.

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    • Not to mention that the textbooks and curriculum are OLD OLD OLD. Since the “no child left behind” nonsense passed, schools have been awful, even in states where they used to be pretty good. We have successfully diminished education throughout the nation and then we wonder why our people are so damned dumb and hateful. We don’t offer them any alternative to whatever trash they were taught at home.

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