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Why Reason Won’t Work

Never the Twain Shall Meet

Pagun

(VANCOUVER ISLAND) Progressives, liberals, and other rational people view the Trump juggernaut with a variety of reactions. It’s fair to say that horror, terror, disgust, and revulsion are among the reactions experienced by normal people when they consider the idea of Donald J Trump occupying the White House. But the one reaction every rational person has with respect to the rise of Trumpery[1] is one of bewilderment. Trump is so palpably, patently unfit for the presidency that Trump singinganyone with a smattering of reason, of intelligence, of judgment knows that the world would be a much, much worse place with him as the “leader of the free world”. So what on earth is going on with those people who attend his rallies, hang on his every word (and he has lots of words, great words), wear his idiotic slogan on his cheesy trucker hats, punch out those who differ with them, speak his name in hushed tones of reverence or shrieks of adulation, and actually intend to cast a vote for him in the general election this November?

Those of us who posses a modicum of rationality ask whether it’s possible that his followers don’t see what is plain to the rest of the world. Can they not see that his promise to build an enormous wall along the Mexican border and have Mexico pay for it is simply not going to happen? That deporting over 11 million people is just cloud-cuckoo land? That refusing to allow people of one religion to enter the US is neither possible nor morally acceptable? That it is simply impossible both to raise and to lower taxes at the same time on the extremely wealthy? That printing money (as he has suggested) will not pay off the national debt?

The rational among us wonder what happened to a country that could cheer without irony a presidential inauguration JFKaddress that included the words “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you…ask what you can do for your country.” And then we remember…Oh, yeah. That guy was shot in the head. But surely the country, since the days of Camelot, could not have descended to such a nadir that the ideal president for a significant segment of the population is a misogynistic, racist, congenitally lying, narcissistic, ignorant, hate-spewing vulgarian.

Let us be clear. Those who support Donald Trump, in this age of access to information, have abandoned any morality they might have had. They have crossed a Rubicon and no longer have any claim to human decency. Now here’s the hard part. Donald Trump is not to blame.

He didn’t push those people across that moral line, he didn’t turn them into bloodlusting, hate-filled, violent, racist bullies. They were always there, just waiting to be mobilised by someone amoral enough to want to mobilise that violent hatred to fulfil his limitless ambition and to stroke his gargantuan ego. Trump has no politics, he has no vision for America, he

Supporters of republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attend a campaign rally at the Myrtle Beach Sports Center on Feb. 19, 2016 in Myrtle Beach, S.C. (Olivier Douliery/TNS)

Supporters of republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attend a campaign rally at the Myrtle Beach Sports Center on Feb. 19, 2016 in Myrtle Beach, S.C. (Olivier Douliery/TNS)

has no position on any issue, other than whatever will get him the ego fix he is jonesing for. And that ultimate fix will be the presidency of the United States. No, we can’t blame Trump alone for what is happening to America. Certainly he is clinically disturbed; he’s unquestionably a narcissist, quite possible a sociopath. The real villains in the piece are the vicious hordes that fell all over themselves to get in line behind him; they let him know what they wanted, and he responded. Theirs is a symbiotic relationship; he feeds their need for validation as victims and bigots, they feed his need for adulation.

So there is our answer to the question of why the Trump supporters can’t see what the rest of the world sees: they can; they just don’t care. As Trump himself has bragged, he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and he wouldn’t lose a single vote. They don’t need a wall; they don’t need to round up all the Muslims. What they need is someone to tell them that they have been right all along; the world has mistreated them, their financial woes are the fault of an identifiable group, that other religions are persecuting Christians, and that black, brown, and yellow people are taking what’s rightfully theirs. They are inhaling deeply on the fumes of self-righteousness, validation, and the implication that those “others” are going to be made to suffer.

crack addict            The true believers are as impervious to persuasion as crack addicts are to any rational argument that they simply put down the pipe and get a job. They don’t care if we liberal elitists call them racists; they won’t temper their language or their violence for the sake of “political correctness”.

The notion that there will ever be a moment where the Trumpies will actually listen to arguments that run counter to their vitriolic hatred is a non-starter. You can rationalise all day long with a crack addict, but if someone else comes along with a rock and a pipe to offer, you won’t see them for the dust.

All that is left is to hope that the rest of America is not so addiction prone and maintains a degree of rationality. We have to hope that they will come out and vote at this election despite their ennui and despite their declining confidence that there are any political solutions to the problems that plague us. There is no persuading a Trump supporter; let’s hope that the rest recognise that the clear and present danger of Donald Trump needs to be put down and put down hard.

[1] trump·er·y ˈtrəmp(ə)rē/ archaic

Noun                       1. attractive articles of little value or use.

Adjective               1. showy but worthless. “trumpery jewelry”

ENDITEM…

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