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.