LUMPENPROLETARIAT—As Americans, roughly half of us, are certainly in disbelief this election cycle, that President Trump is engaging in mass narcissistic abuse by gaslighting the nation, feigning victimization during the election process. Roughly speaking, the other half of the country is cheering on Trump to hang on to power, by any means necessary. Meanwhile, people are tweeting that their state’s GOP is, literally, talking ride or die.
Indeed, @raleighnc55. This is not the America we want. We want democracy! When do want it? Now!
This political scandal, this new antidemocratic low in American politics is all over the news:
Arizona GOP has taken one for the team, so to speak. The other state GOP bosses can sit back and see how this plays out. This is what cognitive linguist Dr. George Lakoff and others refer to as a trial balloon. President Trump has mastered this manipulative practice. Trump will float a trial balloon, throw an idea out there, and see if it flies, or see if it gets shot down easily. If it doesn’t get shot down easily, if there isn’t overwhelming resistance, then Trump, et al. will proceed further, with even more absurd policy pushes, and even more absurd trial balloons. This is how the GOP always pushes the envelope of right-wing extremism. They have useful idiots, like Trump and the Arizona GOP, do their dirty work. So, the Arizona GOP has asked its supporters, if they are willing to die for Trump, and congressional Republicans are silent. Meanwhile, Vice News, et al. show videos of white nationalists frequently saying precisely that: they’re willing to die for their cause. There is no question. Political manipulators can always find useful idiots, or mentally challenged individuals, who they can manipulate and mold to fit into their narratives and agenda. The post-9/11 manipulation of mentally unstable individuals by intelligence agencies as “mosque crawlers” and whatnot comes to mind as one example. But American intelligence agencies have been acting antidemocratically against domestic civic engagement for decades, haven’t they? What, with all the COINTELPRO business and all.
Trump knows very well, the Republican Party and its operatives are engaging in voter suppression tactics across the nation, as investigative journalist Greg Palast has been showing over the last 20 years, since the Bush election of 2000, widely viewed as a “stolen election”. But, if you watch Fox News or other corporate news, the chances are you’ve never heard of Greg Palast. People have to dig for information. If people rely on only one channel, or one variety of news, then they’re not going to see the big picture.
It’s been 20 years. Did we think the political corruption would go away on its own? It’s not surprising to find the problem has worsened. If the Bush 2000 campaign and administration weren’t bad enough, we sink to new lows in 2020 with Donald Trump’s bumbling legal-loophole coup attempts. But what’s worse about the whole Trump nightmare is not the damage he is doing with his narcissistic abuse, but the precedent he is setting by lowering the bar of public expectations. If we put up with the stolen Bush 2000 election, and now we’re putting up with this, what’s next? As Atlantic contributing writer Zeynep Tufekci reminds us, “America’s next authoritarian will be much more competent.” That is a horrifying thought. We need to wake the folk up.
Often, if not always, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. So, we must not forget our past. In fact, we must study it deeply to learn from our past mistakes. Even better, we can also consider the past mistakes of others. Celebrated journalist Chris Hedges, for example, offers us much to learn about how open societies become closed societies, how free societies become authoritarian, because he’s seen it firsthand. Similarly, people who have lived in other countries, who have had coups, can offer us great insights into what we might expect, as our nation continues to descend into antidemocratic lawlessness. Contributing writer at The Atlantic, Zeynep Tufekci, is one such person.
THE ATLANTIC—[7 DEC 2020]
‘This Must Be Your First’
Acting as if Trump is trying to stage a coup is the best way to ensure he won’t.
On the evening of September 11, 1980, my mom was approached by a neighbor who held rank in the Turkish military. He told her to stock up on bread and rice. “Oh, another coup,” she immediately groaned. The neighbor was aghast—he wasn’t supposed to tell anyone what was coming. But my mom, of course, had immediately understood what his advice must have meant. Turkey is the land of coups; this was neither the first nor the last coup it would face.
Over three decades later, I walked up to a counter in Antalya Airport to tell a disbelieving airline employee that our flight would shortly be canceled because the tanks being reported in the streets of Istanbul meant that a coup attempt was under way.* It must be a military exercise, she shrugged. Some routine transport of troops, perhaps? If so, I asked her, where is the prime minister? Why isn’t he on TV to tell us that? Another woman approached the counter. “This must be your first,” she said to the young woman behind the counter, who was still shaking her head. “It’s my fourth.”
[ Zeynep Tufekci: America’s next authoritarian will be much more competent ]
I told the airline employee that we were not getting on that plane, destined for the Istanbul airport, which I knew would be a primary target. The other woman and I nodded at each other, becoming an immediate coup pod. I went out to secure transportation for us—this airport was not going to be safe either—while she and my 7-year-old son went to retrieve our luggage. “His first too,” I said to her.
— snip —
Read more at THE ATLANTIC.
[11 DEC 2020]
[Last modified on 11 DEC 2020 at 05:47 PST]