Disquieting Times

So here we are, a little over two weeks after the election. In all my adult years I’ve never felt less certain about the near future of this country than I do now. It feels to me like a crisis in scope second only to the civil war. The circumstances are of course different, but the feeling of similarity in terms of a deeply divided country that presaged both crises is difficult to deny. We have a president refusing to concede the election because to do so would be the pin that pops his outsized ego. If you’re reluctant to believe that, if you think that’s merely “my opinion,” it really is not just an opinion. It’s an undeniable matter of fact as plain as the nose on your face.

For the past four years tRump has weaponized twitter spewing an orgy of noxious lies, baseless claims, and misleading statements, without equal, certainly for a president. All for a single purpose: to seed doubt and division in this country. And it worked. And it was deliberate, supported in no small part by his lackeys in the republican party, with disappointingly rare exception. The end goal of this division was to concentrate tRump’s supporters and weaponize them, figuratively and in some cases literally, to sew contempt for the Left and in turn keep tRump in the white house another four years. Make no mistake about the true nature of this pathologically egotistical goal. Winning the white house this time wasn’t about the furtherance of republican ideals for another four years – by most measures of what that means tRump is not really a republican anyway. Nor was it only to get more people to vote republican – this was never really about winning the game in the marketplace of ideas. No. That’s swamp talk. In the president’s mind, as in war, games have a sole winner and everyone else is a sucker and a loser. To avoid losing – all that tRump has ever cared about – the real strategy was to dupe voters into believing he, and he alone, would be their savior from the evil of the Left.

And it worked. Over seventy two million people voted for this Prevaricator in Chief. Surely though by now, two weeks after his loss, republicans in both houses of congress have begun to repudiate this man’s refusal to concede, right? Wrong, crickets.

Again, this is not merely my opinion. There is simply no way any rational human being assessing the evidence of lies, contempt for his enemies, and baseless claims the past four years would reach any reasonable conclusion other than this man is a pathological liar and narcissist. I don’t come to this conclusion lightly. This is the president of the United States for God’s sake, how did this happen?

Well, maybe you’re right, but he did lower taxes, right?” Yes, with support from his lackeys in the senate your taxes were lowered. Check. But pardon me for saying this, that’s analogous to the conclusion, in judgement of a cheating husband’s love and commitment to you, “Well, he did recently buy me a new car.

My point in all this goes to motive. tRump didn’t lower your taxes because he wants to make America great again, he would just as well have raised taxes if he thought it would make him, personally, better off. No different than the cheating spouse who aims to buy your continued devotion. None of tRump’s policies, domestic or foreign, derive from a commitment to republican principles – again, quite a few people (some republican) have convincingly argued tRump is No true Scotsman. No, every single action the man takes is a swindle, calculated to keep the national focus on his smug, orange face in order to dupe voters into Keeping. Him. In. Office. No other conclusion of his true motive makes sense.

As was mentioned by Sam Harris during a recent episode of his podcast, every single dial of tRump’s ethical and moral constitution is tuned to the absolute worst possible setting. It’s true. There is zero evidence tRump has any courage, any conviction, any smidgen of caring, sympathy, or empathy for others. If it could be said he does anything well, it’s demagoguery. Again, it pains me to say this, it really does, but the (outgoing) president of the United States is a horrible human being. Although, and here again I agree with Harris, that does not mean tRump is the worst human being ever. He is not Hitler. He’s not Stalin, or Pol Pot, or Ceausescu, etc. Those men also had their dials set to the absolute worst possible settings, but they went further and murdered many of their own citizens. That flips them into the truly Evil category.

I fear what may come next. I fear, as some others do, in his retreat from failure tRump may lay ruin to many things. Things he knows are still within his power to ruin. If that were to happen, you would think it would prove to tRump supporters he never really cared about them, their way of life, their families, their healthcare, the horrors of a raging pandemic, protection from malevolent foreign operators. But I don’t think it’ll go down that way. Instead, I fear the Master Demagogue will too soon re-emerge, create a new social media platform, maybe allied with Q Anon, a new pulpit of his own design from which he can spew more lies. “All that ruin? Wasn’t my fault, it was the Left that did it. Sad!