This fits a number of categories because there are so many things that have me enthused and puzzled and worried, personal stuff and overall stuff. I tried keeping notes as reminders to take to the keyboard, but that didn’t take off. So I am just going to have to start in even though my viral infection is still lodged in the back of my neck, preventing me from raising my head to a level where I can type and follow the output.
Obviously we must look at the decline in our government. Most people don’t get that government and politics, as I explained to my grandson this morning, are about deciding on how to use resources. If 5 people want to go to the movies and so pool their money and discover they have more than enough to cover tickets and need to decide on what to do with the overage, some will urge reserving that for the next movie, others will want to divvy it up at the concession stand, and others will want to go out for ice cream with it after the movie. Of course, one will suggest all the money be given to him b/c he knows best how to spend it. He’s the politician.
Only kidding. That process of deciding how to utilize resources is politics. And just imagine all the personality types involved in such a process: the giver, the taker, the bully, the pleaser, the clueless, the con-man, the selfless martyr, the reformer, and so on. So for people to say they hate politics and then complain in the next breath about the pothole in the street in front of their house is just stupid.
The other day we talked to a very nice couple who have very little information about the current political scene and current events. My wife and I discussed how easy it is for manipulators of public opinion to rely on the assumptions of such people that if what they hear on the news sporadically agrees with their pov, then it must be true. Thus Republicans can claim that the country is being overrun my immigrants, ‘overrun’ suggesting vermin. Uninformed people will note the common experience of running into immigrants in their neighborhood, in their workplace or school, even in their church, and decide it is true but incidentally absorb the negative tone of ‘overrun.’ Thus we build up impressions which spread and then pervade at least certain elements of the population.
The destruction of institutions, one of Trump’s few accomplishments, goes unnoticed by many, esp Trump voters, b/c they sat in the back of the room during Civics class with an unheeding stare. To this day, when they are 60 years old, they have no idea how the polity is run. They vastly underappreciate the expertise required to keep the society running. Their knowledge comes from movies and TV programs which center the action on an individual who does it all. So it was easy for Trump to step up to the lectern and claim he could do it all. Not only that, he was the only one who could do it all.
How come so many people believed that? Just mentioned above are 2 reasons: the great man notion of how societies run and their lack of knowledge as to how it really happens.
But why weren’t these people turned off by Trump’s moral unfitness? Simple: they act the same way themselves: vulgar, insensitive, bigoted, ignorant, and on and on. They may not have a personality disorder, but nothing in their background makes Trump’s behavior stand out as unusual.
Jan. 13 Trump’s shithole countries remark has burst upon us. Shock but no surprise is the common reaction. A mass uprising against the Vulgarians? The silence of the GOP leadership on this reflects their general opposition to non-White people in this country unless they are working for peanuts…. or nothing.
Jan. 17 It irritates me when politicians say, OTOH, “I can only speak for myself” but OTOH, “The American people want…..” In the first instance they are dodging answering a question whose answer they know perfectly well, like did Trump really label other nations shithole countries, and in the second they make claims for all of us when often only a minority of Americans would agree with him or her. Just dumb. Trump supporters, for example, have little idea of what other countries are like and easily accept stereotypes and overbroad generalizations about them. Even sophisticated people can be swept up in media hype as when Tavis Smiley tried to correct Bill Maher’s erroneous characterization of all African countries as basket cases or when a soccer dad told an Ethiopian immigrant that he must be glad to get out of all that famine and the Ethiopian had to tell him that the famine occurred in only 2 provinces and he himself came from middle class parents and got his university education in Ethiopia. (It didn’t sound like he was very generous to the asshole)
One reason Trump’s supporters are impervious to information is what I said above: they are ignorant, insensitive, bigoted and incurious. So let’s unpack that. Today we received our copy of Fire and Fury. I hope to get some quotes from it reflecting the thinking of those around Trump. But a lot of us were raised around people like that; it’s not that we don’t recognize they are all somebody’s brother, uncle, aunt or sister. We just have to take a sober look at what lured them into the Trump camp. What is interesting is how identity plays into this. My identity could be, on one axis, White, and I can think of any number of relatives who, if still alive, would have voted for Trump. OTOH, my wife’s relatives have many of the same attitudes but would be highly unlikely to have voted for Trump b/c their social identify is African-American. We were at a family gathering (not our families) where one older patriarch type was voting for Trump; of all the people there, he was the only one. Non-Black people can fudge on racism b/c it appears not to affect them directly but Blacks can’t do that: no matter how pro-police you are, you give your boy The Talk. IOW, Black people live reality-based lives.
But to continue the unpacking:
Jan. 18 The Wall. What is that all about? Trump voters think borders are sacrosanct, cannot be crossed on pain of death, like the WW II movies with jack-booted Gestapo types asking for papers. They’re not that way; just ask a smuggler. They can’t be. They’re a fictitious line in the sand. And that is what this is about: the little kid yelling at another little kid, “Stay off my pwopewty!!” and going into a rage when the “enemy” puts his toe on the grass. Time for howitzers and flame throwers. Throw in that the violators are brown and you really have a volatile mix – oh, and the utter immaturity of Trump voters. They’re the ones sitting in the back of the room during Civics class.
Who are foreigners? People Trump voters know through movies. They don’t read books. If they travel, often in the military, they see only one side, one part of a country unless they’re like my wife’s cousin who lived in-country and learned the language (Italian – tough assignment). Foreigners are seen as exotic at best and dangerous most likely.