All posts by meanderer007

Truth is Dying in in Southeastern Manitoba

 

I have been blogging about the death of truth. Now I find the issue is potent in my home town.

Recently, The Winnipeg Free Press reported how the head of a Rural Municipality near us reacted to suggestions he should wear a mask at council meetings:

“A Manitoba reeve has unmasked his conspiracy-laden skepticism about the validity of COVID-19 just as health officials moved his community to “critical” on the pandemic-response scale.

RM of Labroquerie Reeve Lewis Weiss used the word “plandemic” in an interview with the Free Press Friday, implying the deadly global health crisis was orchestrated by people in power.

“It’s almost like it’s been planned out, and maybe it didn’t get as bad as they hoped it would, so they’re just playing it like it did,” Weiss said. “It’s a terrible thing.”

 

They have a political leader who disparages science in favour of conspiracy theories!

Weiss made these remarks just as Southern Health-Santé Sud health region, the regional health district that includes Steinbach and the neighbouring rural municipality of Labroquerie has been elevated to Code Red on the provincial analysis of the status of Covid-19 there. This requires masks to be worn in public indoor places such as Municipal Council Chambers. This did not sit well with Weiss who has not been wearing a mask.

The community of about 6,000 people located southeast of Steinbach is in the Southern Health-Santé Sud health regional authority, all of which will join the Winnipeg metropolitan area at the code-red level of infection-suppression protocols Monday. This is what he said when asked if he would wear a mask: “I told some of my council members, when we talked about masks, I said if I’m ever forced to wear a mask, I’ll probably just wear a snowmobile helmet.” In other words he thought mask wearing was a joke. He also made this amazingly stupid statement: “Who am I affecting, by me not wearing a mask? I am not putting anybody in jeopardy because I am not sick.”

Meanwhile with leaders like this in our area it is hardly surprising that we here in the Steinbach area have among the highest active rates of Covid-19 in all of Canada and our hospital is crammed with patients as never before and health care workers are warning they are exhausted and cannot sustain working like this indefinitely.

When ignorance marches, people  had better seek cover.

 

 

Tin-pot Dictator

 

We all know that Donald Trump has consistently acted like a ‘wanna be’ tin-pot dictator and no one was surprised. He frequently made it clear that he admires authoritarians such Vladimir Putin of Russia, Xi Jinping of China, Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, and Kim Jong-un of North Korea, among others. Trump likes dictators. Democratic leaders not so much. He has tried to twist the arms of Ukrainian political leaders to dig up dirt on his political rival (at the time) Joe Biden. He has used the Department of Justice as his personal law firm against all protocols, and has done much else to make it clear to most that he is an authoritarian at heart.

 

More recently Trump has painted himself as a “law and order president” read to urge on the police to smash all resistance and get tough will all protesters that he characterized as supporters of “toe-tally-terry-tism” as he called them while encouraging authorities to treat them harshly. Trump called rebels opposed to him “domestic terrorists” while asking his racist thug supporters to “stand back and stand by.”

Trump frequently characterized the members of the press that are a bulwark against tyranny as “enemies of the state.” As Allan Levine a University of Winnipeg Political Scientist said,

“Moreover, like a classic dictator, he and his attorney general William Barr, who sees almost no limits on executive power, have manipulated the justice department to do Trump’s bidding. On the pretext of defending federal property, Trump, in a transparent ploy to boost his faltering re-election campaign, has dispatched — without being asked to do so by state or city officials — heavily armed federal Department of Homeland Security agents to Portland, Ore.”

 

At the same time Trump dismisses any media criticism of him as “fake news” thus doing everything he can to convince his supporters that the press, a vital cornerstone of democracy, is actually their enemy. At the same time, he has invented stories about a “radical left mob” that are bent on scaring people off the streets of America while also being engaged, as Levine said, in a “merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children.”

Perhaps the clearest evidence of his authoritarian wishes was his promulgation of bizarre and obviously false conspiracy theories to back his war on truth. The death of truth is the foundation of authoritarianism and on which Trump has built a massive edifice designed to cow his opponents and bolster his supporters, all to his own eternal glory. As Levine said, “And he has lied nearly every day of his presidency, adhering to the well-known fascist dictum that the bigger the lie and the more you repeat it, the greater the likelihood that it will be believed as the truth.”

Novelist Phillip Roth was amazingly prescient in his novel, the Plot Against America, written 15 years ago before most of us heard of Donald Trump. In the book on which the television series was based a foreign power, Germany in that case interfered in the American presidential election like Russia did to help Trump. Journalists were the target of violence as anti-Semitism rose sharply. Exactly what has been happening. In the TV series right wing mobs on the streets looked exactly like the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville who marched with torches chanting, “Jews will not replace us.” The president campaigned in the TV series, with the slogan of “America First,” echoing that of Trump.

Less than 2 days before the play based on the book opened in New York, a real domestic terrorist with an AR-15 and three handguns murdered 11 people during Shabbat services at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Later he told a police officer “all these Jews need to die.” The parallels were to the TV series were stunning. And disturbing.

we have all seen the  tendency of the many of the Trump supporters to take comfort from his racist tropes. This is dangerous and Trump did nothing to stop or even deflect that support. Instead, he bathed in it.

In the drama Herman Levin explains that with Lindbergh as president and  his sly comments about Jews, “Anti-Semites have permission because Charles Lindbergh is a heroic leader.” After hearing an election speech by Lindbergh his friend says, “the goyim are sharpening their knives.” Another character remarks, “win or lose there is a lot of hate out there and he knows how to tap into it.”

Like Trump, Lindbergh runs on a campaign of fear mongering. His campaign motto is, “The choice is simple, ‘Lindbergh or war’.” In the drama, Herman criticizes his friend Monty who supports Lindbergh because he thinks he is good for the economy. He is willing to look the other way: “Not long ago you couldn’t bear our Nazi loving president, but now profits are up, stock market is up, business is booming, everything else about Lindbergh, what he stands for is forgotten? What else matters to you business man?” Does this remind anyone of current Trump supporters?

Just like Trump, Lindbergh is able to unleash hate without actually calling for it. Both are sly. But their supporters know better. They “know” the Jews are not real Americans and they “know” their president agrees with them. On the streets, the America Firsters demonstrate against the Jews. They are empowered and energized by their leader.

When the rioting starts the hate catches fire. As Herman says, “I can’t believe how fast it spreads to other cities. When the hate is there it’s like dry leaves waiting on a spark.” Some how the America Firsters are on the wrong side. Herman says, “They call us “others.” They’re the others. Lindbergh is the other. That man is unfit. He should not be the president. It’s as simple as that.” Yes it’s as simple as that, but that’s not simple at all.

In the series, there is second term election, just like the US experienced recently,  and similarly, the second election results are not very clear. Lindbergh seems to lose. But does he? The results are conflicting. Wow is that familiar.

Then eerily there is trepidation. Where does this leave the American people? On shaky ground I submit. That is the real problem. Even if Trump leaves the White House, he will leave behind more than 70 million supporters who voted for him even after they saw him on TV every day for 4 years. They know what they voted for. These issues have not died. America needs to transform itself. Can it do that? It won’t be easy.

The Plot Against America

 

Philip Roth was a brilliant America writer. He understood the American tendency towards fascism long before any one had ever head of Donald Trump. He wrote a book about it in 2004 called, The Plot Against America. It was a lifetime ago in other words. This year a limited television series was shown based on that book. It was well worth seeing. It really demonstrated how easily America could be tipped into fascism. I would add that Canada is not all that different.

If you think fascism could never come to America or Canada this is a series worth watching and thinking about. The series asks us to consider what life in the United States would be like if Charles Lindberg a famous aviator and racist pundit had defeated Franklin Roosevelt in a presidential election in 1940. Remember, in real life, America had a lot of Nazi supporters at the time. Fro example, there was a political rally in New York that filled Madison Square Gardens with Nazi supporters. Is that hard to believe? In the series Roth Imagined the president signing a treaty of neutrality with Adolf Hitler as a significant number of Americans actually advocated. Then president Lindbergh slowly unleashed his anti-Semitic views, though often his words that were emitted by dog whistles that his supporters understood and many other Americans took as innocent. How would that turn out?

The New York Times described the series this way:

“In other words, as James Poniewozik of the New York Times wrote when the show debuted in March, “HBO asks the audience to imagine the outlandish idea that the presidency might have been won by a celebrity demagogue new to politics who appeals to bigotry and fear, who ran on the slogan of ‘America First,’ who boasts of having ‘taken our country back,’ who sees fine people on the most reprehensible side of history, who cosies up to despots and behaves as if he were their puppet.”

 Can you think of anyone this might describe?

Even when Trump is no longer the president, whenever that happens, as Allen Levine University of Winnipeg professor of politics and Winnipeg Free columnist opined, “It is not surprising that many political commentators are wondering if the country is veering toward fascism and authoritarianism.”

Robert Reich, the former Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton, not exactly a flaming radical though tinged deeply with leftist tendencies, said  in a tweet on June 2, 2020, Trump is a fascist, and he is promoting fascism in America.” I keep repeating this but I am not concerned so much about Trump. I am more concerned about the fact that more than 70 million Americans voted for him in the 2020 election. That is deeply troubling to me.

Actually, I agree with Levine , that 

“In truth, Trump is not so much a fascist as an authoritarian; or more accurately, a would-be tin-pot dictator: “An autocratic ruler with little political credibility and delusions of grandeur.” He declared last year that article II of the U.S. constitution — which defines the powers of the president — gives him the right “to do whatever I want.”

In an interview a few months ago, he claimed that as president his “authority is total.” It is not, but by his impulsive actions Trump has shown time and again that he has no understanding or will not abide by the “checks and balances” system of American government if he can help it. This has become even more blatant after he saw how loyal to him his supporters remained after the impeachment trial earlier this year.

The television series shows how with such leaders the country could slide toward fascism. With the prospect of the current president refusing to leave the White House, we are now seeing evidence of that all around us. I don’t think it is wise to assume that this could not happen. Watch the series because it might disturb your sleep.

Poisoning Democracy

 

This is a continuation of my blog about Stephen Colbert’s reaction to Donald Trump. Colbert got serious: “Donald Trump tried really hard to kill something tonight.” Colbert was dressed in black because he said he was dressed for a funeral. Actually that was true. It was a funeral. According to Colbert, speaking of Trump, “He tried to “poison American democracy.” True again.

Trump said the same thing in 2016 that the election was rigged (even though he ended up winning the election). I suppose he discredited it in advance just to give himself an excuse if he lost  Well he did the same thing this year for weeks. In 2016 he said, “I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters, and to all of the people of the United States, that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election–if I win!” And he thought that was funny! Was it funny?

 

Even before it was held, in the weeks leading up to the 2020 election, Trump promised the 2020 election would be “the most corrupt fraud in the history of the country.” He said that for weeks. Right up to the election he kept making the same point he did in 2016. How did he know? The answer of course, is that he didn’t know. He wanted to sow doubt in case he lost. As always he wanted to obfuscate and deceive.

Trump was trying to poison democracy for his own selfish ends. Colbert spoke out against Trump supporters who failed to object to Trump’s attack on the election with deep emotion: “Because he just attacked the thing that makes us most great. And it is time for you all to mean what your hats have been yelling.

Colbert started by saying, “So, we all knew he would do this.” But he choked up and briefly broken down for about 15 seconds to collect himself and then, he continued with obvious deep emotion.

Colbert did not stop there. He begged Republicans who by their silence and failure to criticize Trump have enabled him. He implored them to condemn Trump as he richly deserved: “Republicans have to speak up — all of them. Because for evil to succeed, all that is necessary is for good men to do nothing.” Everyone who supported Trump should speak up and disavow his toxic presidency. Everyone who does not do that is a party to the offence.

Those are strong words, but I think strong words are needed. Failure to speak up against demagoguery and tyrannical tendencies is crucially important. Here is how Colbert put it:

 

“Say something right now, Republicans… You only survived this up till now because a lot of voters didn’t want to believe everything that was obvious to so many of us: that Donald Trump is a fascist. And when it comes to democracy versus fascism, I’m sorry, there are not fine people on both sides. So you need to choose: Donald Trump or the American people? This is the time to get off the Trump train. Because he just told you where the train is going.”

 

This really caught my ear. Colbert called the president of the United States a fascist. Could that be true? That is a serious claim and on a national TV network. It was shocking. Was it true?

Trump challenging the legitimacy of the American election without any evidence is to challenge the legitimacy of the government without any evidence. If Trump does that successfully that can lead to only one thing American fascism. And no one should think that is impossible.

I want to think more about that.

Trump: From Demagoguery to Fascism

 

I have been talking a lot about truth and what I have called (as have others) the death of truth. I could not have had better examples than what the president of the United States said to the American people after the 2020 election. He demonstrated that he was, as Bill Maher kept saying, “a whiny little bitch.”

Did you see Stephen Colbert after the presidential election? It was surprising in more ways than one.

As Stephen Colbert explained, before all the votes had been counted, “President Trump came into the White House briefing room and lied for 15 minutes.” He said nonsensical stuff about dumping ballots and corrupt officials and secret Democratic counting cabals.

The Washington Post was not as coarse, but just as firm: The Washington Post called it “a speech of historic dishonesty” and “a litany of falsehoods and grievances, with some baseless conspiracy theories thrown in for good measure.

Trump  said many things, always, entirely without evidence. I heard Trump tell the American people that he had been “robbed of victory.” He said he was the winner of the election since he had more “legal votes” than Biden. He said he had been “cheated out of victory.” Trump said the “mail-in-ballots are a corrupt system.” even though he had used it in the past. He said, “They’re trying to rig an election.” Many of us tend to dismiss the rants of president Trump. After all they seem too absurd for a rational person to seriously consider.

The problem is that words matter and this is particularly important when the speaker is the president of the United States. Millions of people actually believe what he says, as absurd as that sounds. They do. When Trump says the election is fraudulent his supporters tend to think that must be true and get enraged. That can be dangerous. We have seen this over and over again, whether it is the Proud Boys or the Boogaloo nuts from Michigan. Trump drives them to action and often those actions are dangerous. Trump often treats this as a joke but it is not a joke. It is serious business.

When I heard these strong statements I wondered what would his rabid supporters do? He has plenty of those. I heard and saw one on TV the next day. The supporter approached an election official who was explaining to a Nevada TV interviewer how careful he and others were being about counting the ballots and rejecting the bad ballots. They were interrupted by one of those rabid Trump supporters.

Colbert’s interpreted the incident this way, according to Emily Yahr,

“Colbert concluded by playing the viral video of Joe Gloria, the registrar of voters in Clark County, Nev., whose televised briefing this week was interrupted by a man shouting about how the “Biden crime family is stealing the election.” Gloria waited patiently until the man left and calmly asked, “Where were we?”

“He let that guy spew his crazy till he was tired and then watched him walk away. And then Joe Gloria took a deep breath and did his job. Which is what we should all do. Just stay cool,” Colbert said, and then segued into his regularly scheduled monologue.”

The election poll workers were still counting on Friday. Interestingly Trump wanted the election officials to stop counting in Pennsylvania where he was ahead but keep counting in Nevada and Arizona where he was behind. This is not quite as nonsensical as it sounds for every state has different rules. Yet we all know what Trump meant. He was not making a nuanced point. He never does. Bill Maher commented on that this way:

 “If your position is that they have to stop counting ballots in the state where you’re ahead, or its fraud, and they have to keep counting in the state where you’re behind or its fraud, you have to consider maybe its you who’s the fraud.”

 

Of course, as always when Trump makes outrageous statements he did so without any evidence to support the claim. He doesn’t need evidence for he knows most of his supporters will believe him without evidence no matter what he says. So why bother? His supporters, and there are millions of them, believe him entirely without evidence just like Christians believe Jesus. Evidence is not important when you talk about religious belief. Faith is important.

All of this had an important consequence however. I will get to that in the next few posts.

A Light Touch with Reality

 

I know I have been ranting about truth. But I am not finished. I started long before the election day in the US. What perfect timing. A good friend said, when we were discussing this issue, “Americans have a light touch with reality.” Very true. Not that Canadians are any different. Canadians are just Americans on valium. I will get to them soon, but have been absorbed by the craziness to our south. And I don’t want anyone to think that the craziness will change no matter who is elected down south. The results are not yet officially in as I post.

Lately  Trump has been spewing out claims of voter fraud entirely without evidence.  Though his claims have a motive. A sinister motive. More on that later too. Trump  lives in an evidence free world. But his followers don’t care. Their devotion is enduring. That is what is important.

The reason things won’t change fast is that what is clear from the election for president in the US is that about 70 million Americans still support Trump. That is more than the votes he garnered in 2016. I strongly suspect that almost everyone who voted for him in 2016 also voted for him in 2020. And this was after we saw what he did for 4 years in plain view. Everyone could see that he was an incorrigible liar. Some called him a pathological liar. Others called him a bullshitter. That refers to someone who does not care about whether a statement is true or not. That is someone who is not even embarrassed when caught in a lie. Trump is obviously that. And 70 million Americans are willing to overlook that and vote for him!

This is the point I have been trying to make in my clumsy way. How can so many people be indifferent to truth? And not just Americans either. Plenty of Canadians still support Trump too.

I think it is time for all of us—Americans and Canadians—to take a hard look at ourselves. This look might not be very comfortable. Do any of us want to admit that we don’t care about truth?

When a society is infected with a disdain for truth it is ready to collapse. Is that where we are at? Has this pandemic we are facing without much truth found a hapless victim? We’ll have to wait and see.

Conspiracies as Weapons

I am posting this while I  don’t know who has won the 2020 US presidential election. It doesn’t matter these issues about truth and conspiracies will not go away and die. They are here to stay.

 

According to Fareed Zakaria, “Trump uses conspiracy theories as weapons against his political opponents.” He is fighting Obamagate. The Deep State. Those who want to rig this election. Or already did.  Hillary Clinton of course, was his biggest target. And he used all his weapons against her. He called her, “the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency of the United States.” He did that while his supporters carried posters saying “Hillary for prison 2016,” or “Indict Hillary,” or “Lock her up.” That was not innocent.

Recently, there was a dark conspiracy theory on the Internet that was absurd but still widely and passionately believed, aided in part by the support of Trump and his other supporters including, InfoWars and  QAnon. It was toxic but incredibly useful. It had a huge following on the Internet. Trump and his allies promoted it even as it grew increasingly toxic.” It was called Pizzagate.

In the 2016 presidential campaign Donald Trump was helped by countless conspiracy theories, many amplified or even concocted by the Russians. For example, the Pizzagate theory that Hillary Clinton was involved in a child molestation in the basement of Pizza restaurant was entirely without any foundation yet many people believed it and therefore did not vote for her, but supported Donald Trump instead. Donald Trump was likely assisted in his campaign for the presidency by conspiracy theories.

These were not innocent dirty tricks. It was not funny. It provoked a rabid supporter named Clinton hater, Edgar Madison Welch, to take action. As he drove from his home in North Carolina to Washington D.C. to take decisive action, he recorded a message with his phone on the dash of the car, to his 2 young daughters. “I love y’all more than anything else in the world. Like I always told you, ‘ you have a duty to protect those who can’t protect themselves, to do for people who can’t do for themselves. ”

As Zakaria said,

“He was preparing to risk his life to save children he didn’t even know. You might think he was a good man, but this mission of mercy was actually a dangerous illusion. Welch fell prey to a twisted conspiracy theory called Pizzagate. He actually believed that Hillary Clinton and other Washington elites were running a pedophile ring out of the basement of pizza restaurant in Washington D.C.”

Again,  not innocent and not funny. It was lunacy inspired and abetted by Trump and his supporters. They led Welch to travel to Washington with his weapons in place to break out these innocent children from their jail and it could have easily led to him dying or innocent people dying and Trump and his supporters were partly to blame for what nearly happened. He was carrying an AR-15, a handgun and a shotgun was found in his car. What is most surprising about the incident is that no was killed. As Jeffrey Goldberg said, “just because it’s crazy doesn’t mean that people won’t believe it.” That’s what happens in Fantasyland USA. He burst into the restaurant causing terrified customers to flee. But there were not abused children. There was not even a basement. The entire conspiracy theory was mad, dangerous, nonsense to which a candidate for the American presidency contributed. Welch went to prison. His family suffered. And Trump got elected. That is justice, American style.

 

So where did all this come from? It started with emails. In fact the source was a leaked email to Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta. It was from his brother and all it said was, “Would love to get a pizza.” Sounds innocent doesn’t it. Well nothing is innocent on the Internet. Especially to conspiracy theorists. As unlikely as it sounds, they jumped all over this email. According to them, “pizza” is well known pedophile code word. It is used by sexual predators of children and law enforcement officials have used it to get at such predators, they say. The theorists believed that various celebrities, like Tom Hanks, had joined Hillary Clinton in a vile pedophile ring.

 

According to Tik Tok a social media platform very popular with children, such as my grand daughters, According to the New York Times Tik Tok has logged 18 million views with the hash tag “Pizzagate.”

FantasyLand lives on. To be continued.

Fabulism

I know that no one is surprised when people like me say that Donald Trump is a liar, or worse, a bullshitter who doesn’t even care if statements are true or false. I think even his most devoted fans understand that. I don’t think anyone is fooled about that. So what really interests me is this: why do so many people, including Americans and Canadians and people around the world, not care about him telling lies? Why do they not care about the truth? This is what interests me for it will be important even if Donald Trump loses the election to be president for the United States in 2020.

I think that is an important question. Too many people focus on Donald Trump’s lies, which after awhile are not that interesting. The real question is why does he elicit such loyal followers that they just don’t care?

Peter Baker said this about Trump in a recent New York Times article:

“Born amid made-up crowd size claims and “alternative facts,” the Trump presidency has been a factory of falsehood from the start, churning out distortions, conspiracy theories and brazen lies at an assembly-line pace that has challenged fact-checkers and defied historical analogy.”

Even though I think that is obviously true, and would be admitted by his followers, or should I say believers, they still choose his side. A recent Newsweek poll found that 54% of Americans now think it has become more acceptable that people in politics lie. Only 13 % think it is less acceptable. The importance of truth itself is eroding and I would submit that is very important.

To give just one example, because more people don’t care if what Trump is telling them is true, they believe him no matter what. So for Covid-19 advice they follow Trump’s advice even though they don’t care if what he is saying is true or not! Is it any surprise that there is now about 1 new cases of Covid-19 in the US every second?

Not caring about truth has consequences and they are important, but they are real. A Harvard Professor Nancy L. Rosenblum, and her co-author Russell Muirhead wrote a book called A Lot of People are Saying after an expression Trump often uses. In the book they said truth may not matter even if Trump is gone. As they said, “that may not change even if Mr. Trump leaves office after one term because he proved the advantages of truth-bending politics and helped build up an information infrastructure where reality is like an à la carte menu from which Americans can pick their favorite variant.”

 

Here is my theory. People don’t care if what Trump says is true or not because he is one of the leaders of their tribe. They identify with Trump. They are on the same team. That is all that matters, not whether what he says is true or not. This is a religious attitude. That is how true believers react to their leaders. Such an attitude has deadly consequences. Those consequences will be with us for a long time after Trump is no longer president. Many of us will pay the price.

 

The Conspirator-in-Chief

John Oliver had a good theory about Trump’s conspiracy theories. He treats conspiracy theories like adult children. He launches them into the world and then takes no responsibility for them. That is why some now call him the “Conspiracy theorist-in-Chief.” Whether they are true or not is unimportant. What matters is whether or not Trump thinks they will help him. Everything else is irrelevant.

This is all part of Trump’s complete disregard for truth. He does not only lie. He does plenty of that, but he also just does not care about whether or not statements he makes are true. He just cares about whether or not those statements help his cause. And often he thinks conspiracy theories might help his cause, because they have done so in the past. For example, conspiracy theories helped him to get elected in 2016 and any theory that might help him get re-elected in 2020 is fine with him.

A Conservative radio talk show host, listened to by millions, understood Trump better than most. He pointed out how clever Trump was in re-tweeting messages without saying he agreed with them. As  Rush Limbaugh said,

“Trump is just pouring gas onto a fire and having fun watching the flames.” The problem of course, is that those flames can hurt people. As John Oliver said, “but during a pandemic is a very bad time to throw gasoline onto a fire because people are going to get burned, making those flames not quite as much  fun to watch, because make no mistake here, people who have been convinced that Covid-19 was overblown have sometimes paid a steep price.”

Lately he has passed on a weird conspiracy theory—without evidence of course—that Obama and Biden faked the death of Osama bin Laden and then arranged for the American soldiers who helped fake it to be killed to hide the truth. Once again, I am sure many Americans believe it. Only because they want to believe it.

One could easily multiply the statements. As Fareed Zakaria pointed out, “Trump’s conspiracy theories resonate deeply with his voters, and that is the most troubling aspect of this story.” That is a very important point. The American people–or a least a very large portion of them–not only live in Fantasyland. They want to be there. That is where they feel most at home. Those people will keep voting for such leaders. I don’t think there is anything anybody can do about it either. Even if Trump is defeated in this upcoming election they will believe the next person who uses the same approach. Think of that.

The defeat of Trump, if it happens, won’t resuscitate truth. It won’t be reborn any time soon. We are in trouble. Maybe we are doomed.

 

The Blue Sky is Pink

 

226,000 Americans have died of Covid-19. Yesterday, the US reached a record high of coronavirus cases per 7-day average of nearly 70,000 new cases of Covid-19 per day. Yet astonishingly, the same day from the White House Department of Science and Technology, a list was issued of first term accomplishments of the Trump administration. One of the listed “accomplishments” was “ending the Covid-19 pandemic.”

 

As Dr. Jonathan Reiner said, “This was mission accomplished right? We had 73,000 new cases today. We have been averaging over the week 70,000 new cases per day. In the last week more than half a million people contracted this virus…Our death toll now is approaching 1,000 per day. So we’re spiking the ball. Congratulations Mr. President it’s over.” Can you imagine saying “ending” the Covid pandemic is an accomplishment?

I recently heard a commentator say that if Trump approached some of his supporters staring at a beautiful blue sky and he said it was pink, they would believe him. They actually would. They believe him. They believe him with theological devotion.

I wonder how the millions of people who work in health care in the US feel about this. They have been working incredibly hard non-stop for about 9 months or so and it is now getting worse! How do they feel?

As Dr. Reiner said, “As we are in the midst of a giant wave, to hear the White House basically laud the completion of a mission well done when we are basically being swamped is outrageous.” It is actually worse than outrageous. Whatever that is.

This is where believing crazy stuff gets us.