The pompous son of a bitch knows everything—too bad he doesn’t know anything else. – Philip Roth, The Plot Against America
We have met the enemy and he is us.– Walt Kelly
Frank A. Pelaschuk
It’s enough to drive one crazy.
There’s a madman out there leading a nation of distracted, angry folk. They seem unable to articulate exactly what it is that so riles them but are certain they know it when they see it and they see it, the vast conspiracy, a cabal of radical left-wing socialist terrorists united in effort to take the little they have and Black Lives Matter, an anti-police movement and threat to the white supremacist view of life that should never have been.
Restless and angry, frightened too, most of them uncertain of the future or even if there will be one and their role in it, they just know someone is to blame and trust their leaders to tell them who. And the leaders are there, religious, social and free-market, all experts at fingerpointing and alternative facts. Unfortunately, the rabble do not often pause long enough to reflect and question their choices in whom to trust; they just want easy answers and assurances there is nothing wrong in them and that those responsible will pay. Republicans to the south and Conservatives here, are all too willing to join the game.
So, they listen to the babble of others expressing the same fears and hear above the noise political and social leaders pointing fingers at Muslim immigrants, Hispanic migrant workers, radical socialist educators and students bent on corrupting the great American and Canadian way of life with impositions of exotic beliefs, faithless religion, and terroristic ideologies. The roiling rabble of discontented see in the BLM movement a threat necessitating the alt-right response, “All Lives Matter”, a response connoting not only recognition but also fear of chickens finally coming home to roost. Racists, such as Trump, the Proud Boys, the Sons of Odin, seize on that fear, likely unaware that in doing so, in seeking to counter the BLM movement, they are acknowledging their brutal historical contribution to the racial and religious divide where the colour of one’s skin and the strength of one’s belief can lead to death. White supremacist racist thugs see a reckoning heading their way; perhaps not in the immediate future but it’s coming and they are afraid. So, they spread the message, “All Lives Matter”, as if a new awakening when, in truth, that was the reality they refused, refused, to acknowledge from time immemorial with their anti-Semitic, anti-black, anti-Hispanic, anti-Asian sprees of mayhem and death. It is only now, when the victims of the intolerance and violence are speaking up and fighting back, that victimizers, including those who, while not actively engaged, supported with their silence and inaction, have suddenly discovered the value of all lives. That is something the BLM supporters and all victims of intolerance have always known. Yet the bigots and the cowardly silent refused to listen. Yes, all lives matter, but why today? What about my life then, when the lynching, burnings and bombings were happening, where was the All Lives Matter Movement then for the countless victims of religious and racial intolerance? If those in the BLM are angry, who can blame them? The victims have had enough. There is no threat from BLM, just a declaration of notice: They will not, they cannot, they shall not take it any longer. That is not too much to demand of a free society.
But Trump and far too many like-minded political, religious, media, and societal leaders, mostly conservative, relying on support from white supremacist conspiracists with their grievances of victimhood would have you believe otherwise, would have you believe that victims standing up for themselves pose a threat not just to the victimizers but to all of society. The bigots, the stupid, and the cruel lap it up preferring to listen to the loudest lies by the loudest liars, and wink away the bromides and simplistic solutions contrived to further divide and harm claiming of those politicos engaged in such, “They tell it like it is.” Yet, when challenged to explain what they mean, the adherents often cannot only certain they like what they hear because it conforms to what they want to hear. The merits of what they hear don’t enter the picture because the followers of demagogues never question. And, why should they? It’s easier and more comforting to gorge on the poison you like. Chaos is the menu of the day and fear the dessert.
And then we have the pandemics: Covid-19 and the age of aggressive stupidity, maskless folks, loudly proud of their rugged individualism, eagerly banding together in huge mobs apparently to prove—what?—endangering themselves, their loved ones and others in society with an irresponsible idiot int the White House encouraging such antics. With all the modern devices around us that makes it even easier to learn and know more, it is astounding that we so wilfully embrace a new dark age of ignorance, of superstition, of conspiracies, of magic thinking, preferring to dance to the tune of lunatic Pied Pipers: What we don’t see, hear or know, cannot hurt us.
So, folks drink from the poison chalice offered by that monstrous orange-headed narcissist without any awareness, it seems, that he is their enemy, that, even as he uses them, he holds them in contempt as mere toilers, dirt grubbers, hardworking scrabblers eking an existence far removed from his. Trump is right, they do not know their enemy; they refuse to see, hear and accept what is before them. Trump is a clown but he is theirs in the la la land of present-day America.
What do they see in him that they would surrender everything? Not just themselves and their future, but also possible generations to come. He is the man who will save them. That it is self-evident that he does not care one scintilla for them matters not a whit: he will lead them from the wilderness. They have surrendered completely to this “Grab them by the pussy” predator (his own words), this tax-avoiding business failure, this congenital morally bankrupt liar, this total incompetent who fails miserably as a feeling, empathetic life form in a shell resembling something human. His “leadership” during the pandemic has doubtless resulted in needless deaths. Yet they flock to him, hands outstretched as to a god figure, those millions who love America, quote the bible, go to church and engorge themselves like greedy pigs on every filthy, poisonous deed and sere word he extrudes. They applaud his perspicacity not only in defrauding them, taxpayers, into gifting him millions, but also in avoiding taxes because, as he put it, he is “smart”, ignoring the inference naturally flowing from that.
These are the men and women who hate and mistrust government. Yet, when Trump was asked during the Presidential debates if he would condemn extremists such as the Proud Boys, he responded, “Stand back and stand by.” Right wing extremists heard that and were elated no doubt recalling Trump’s tweets of April 7, “Liberate Michigan” and “Liberate Virginia”. On October 8, the FBI arrested thirteen extremists for plotting to kidnap the governors of both those states. Yet, when prodded, Trump’s supporters deny any correlation between the three events. Fake news. If Trump loses the election, the presidency will have been stolen. They see conspiracy everywhere. Scientists are conspiring to take away their God given freedoms by recommendations they wear masks and social distance; Covid-19 is a gigantic Chinese hoax which, if real, is spread, by China, through cellphone towers; flu shots cause autism, and the Democrats are pedophilic Satanists plotting to overthrow, with violence, a legitimate government if Trump wins. For them, Trump, predator and misogynist, is as close to a god as any human could ever be.
These are not just foolish die-hard-from-the-cradle-folk, they are stupid folk and dangerous to themselves and society. Oh, I know that’s not nice, but I have lost whatever tolerance I have had for stupidity and simply wish the idiots would collect their Darwin Awards and slip away unmissed by me, at least.
Cold? You bet. But the streak of perversity pushing folks to willingly and consciously engage in reckless behaviour and vote for a moral imbecile, a narcissistic weakling, and an inarticulate blowhard liar while professing faith in a God and America when, apparently, they have lost faith in both, begs for retribution. That’s unlikely so I’ll vent. Common sense eludes them, they disbelieve what they see and hear even as it happens before them because they allow nothing to penetrate that wall of ignorance and denial shutting out the world that is from the world they live. Trump will save them. But from whom and what? Themselves? Stupidity? The socialist hordes? It is impossible to reach them even when the dangers posed by the choices they make are real and imminent. In a way, they are protected, living as they do in a world as real to them as the notion they are special and loved and will be protected by the very man who detests them even as he exploits and feeds into their fears. They know, just know, they are protected by a cloak of invincibility and the lasso of truth will help them to make us see they were right.
Special? Yes indeed.
But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.
They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. — Benjamin Franklin