On my regular walks in Arizona, I have enjoyed many interesting podcasts, including some about the crazy things done by Trumpsters. One series of such podcasts were hosted by Jordan Klepper under the title “Jordan Klepper Fingers the Conspiracies.” I have listened to a number of them.
On one of such walks through Johnson Ranch in San Tan Valley I learned about Trumpsters who believe that even though Trump lost the election he is still in charge. They believe he still leads the American armed forces.
Klepper specializes in attending Trump rallies for the Daily Show on television in order to interview Trumpsters. Often they are hilarious. All he has to do is ask them questions and they do the rest. But I loved one comment he made: “you can tell how these people really love America by the weapons they have bought to hurt other Americans.” For example, the Proud Boys, who are strong Trump supporters expect the American military to attack them so they must be prepared. In America that means they must be heavily armed.
Often crazy conspiracy theories have a hint of truth to them. For example, on January 6th of this year it was obvious that a number of military types still support Donald Trump. To them he is still the Commander-in-Chief. Nothing he can do will change that! They would die on the hill for Trump if he asked them to. Frankly, to me that is a little frightening.
Many of the Trumpsters are former members, or even current members, of the American military. And conspiracy theories gather around the military like iron filings collect around magnets. I believe the reason for this is the extraordinary level of fear among the theorists. A military of course is important to all of us. They are meant to protect us from some of our worst fears. As a result, conspiracy theories abound in and around the military. For example, there is a new theory in the United States that Donald Trump is still calling the shots for the military, even though he is no longer the president.
General Mike Flynn was Trump’s was the 24th U.S. National Security Advisor who was appointed by president Donald Trump and he lasted exactly 22 days of the Trump administration. He resigned after it was revealed he had lied to Mike Pence and others vetting Flynn for the advisor position.
Flynn held some whacky conspiracy views and it is disturbing that for 22 days he was so close to Commander-in-Chief of the United States. In some of his on-line posts he showed that he gave credence to conspiracy theories including the one that there was a plot to kill Navy Seals involving current President Joe Biden who had been involved in the assassination of Osama bin Laden by the Seals.
Trump also endorsed such views when he re-tweeted some of those theories. Trump denied that re-tweeting constituted an endorsement of such theories, but what else could that mean? We also must remember that Donald Trump had about 50 million Twitter followers at the time, so re-posting such theories was a dangerous thing. Trump followers notoriously believe what Trump says and don’t require evidence to back up his claims. His proclamations are enough to convince them no matter how much contrary evidence is available.
Another on-going conspiracy theory—most of these never seem to end—was the call by Trumpsters to the Attorney-General to investigate reports that in Italy certain nefarious actors had hacked the voting machines in American election, even though they offered no evidence that this had happened. As Klepper commented, this theory had “as much substance as cotton candy that had been put through a clothes dryer.” These conspiracy theorists expected the authorities to pay attention to these wild and unsubstantiated claims.
Conspiracy theories aren’t getting more rational are they?
Credulity in America is a serious problem. This is one more sign of serious decline in American society. Having a president or national security advisor promulgating them can have serious consequences.