Monday, July 25, 2022

How far down the rabbit hole before we can't find our way back?


   I started this week with a phone call from a person I hadn't heard from in years.  At first, I was pleased to be back in touch with him. We spent some time catching up, and then came a foul breeze out of the dismal swamp. He asked me how I feel about the vaccines.  I replied that I am fully vaxxed and double-boosted and when another booster is ready, I will be in line for it as soon as possible.

  This individual mistook this as an opening to launch into the whole conspiracy thing.  It starts with minor observations, that sound just a little bit off, but, it quickly segues into full-blown Q-Anon quality insanity.  Pretty soon he was declaring that he has unimpeachable sources that prove the vaccines are the, "Death Shot", and it snowballed from there.  

  Okay, I have known this man for over 30 years.  He is the educated son of a doctor.  He has a highly capable intellect, and one would never in a million years expect to hear the paranoid foolishness that came out of his mouth.  I had him on speaker and my wife was sitting across the dining table listening as the conversation took a nose-dive into insanity.  We looked at each other and rolled our eyes, then shook our heads and finally managed our best facial renditions of being 'gobsmacked'.  

  Somehow, it hasn't bothered me all that much to hear this kind of crazy from people out there in the Great American Outback.  I have travelled enough to know that our great continent has always had pockets of either stupidity or just out-of-touch idiocy.  Yes, it's disconcerting when you suddenly realize you are in one of these 'dumb zones', but, it's also clear that you will be somewhere else in a short time, so no need to be concerned. We used to joke that we were hearing the theme from 'Deliverance' as we drove through...."Da,da,da,..dun da".  And, then, it's behind you.

  It's an entirely different matter when you hear seven shades of crazy coming out of the mouth of someone you would never expect it from. That's what threw me for a loop this morning.  The longer this man spoke the deeper the shit got and I finally had to shut it down with, "I can't do this.  What you are saying is just too insane for me to accept."  Even as these words came out of my mouth I was thinking of the veritable tsunami of untruths that we have been assaulted with over the last five, hell seven, years. 

  I have read a number of articles attempting to understand/explain how the right is steadily working at eroding our relationship to a fundamental concept known as, "The Truth".  These people instinctively realize that if they succeed in destroying Americans trust in certain things formerly accepted as basic and bedrock ...objectively and provably, fucking TRUE.....that they can pretty much insert their version of what they WANT TO BE TRUE, but is not at all so.  Ever since Kelley Ann Conway stood outside the White House and asserted to the press that there are, '...alternative facts', the ground under us has become less and less firm, and now is virtually gelatinous.  We have been steadily dragged into a far-right swamp of foggy ideas...all of which are intended to achieve power over anybody who is not a white supremecist. Many researchers have studied how nations leave democracy behind in favor of a 'strongman' who becomes their Dear Leader.  The methods and the progression of steps is very well known and recognized at this point.  And, we are right on track to do this.  It's scary and tragic, but it's also inevitable unless the rational and freedom-loving people in America get busy.....I mean really engaged and active in doing whatever they can to squelch the assault on our democracy.

  In conversations with sensible people that I have had over the last two years, there has been a common and emergent theme: "I just don't know what or who to trust anymore".   And, that is a clear indication of how much the insurgent fascists are gaining ground in mainstream America.  This is precisely what they want people to think and feel, because it creates a yawning opening for them to insert all the crazy shit that they have taught themselves to believe. 

  It's not very difficult to see what is driving all of this insanity and the hostility and even the potential for violence that we saw a small glimpse of on Jan.6.  It is FEAR. Pure and simple.  And, that is, again, exactly what the insurgents, i.e. the MAGAs, want.  The more fear they can pump up in their base, the more likely those people will not only vote for their candidates, but will even be willing to commit violence if it becomes necessary--in their sick view--to maintain power, and fully realize a white supremecist state.  We watched in horror as this became a stark reality on January 6th. 

  This is not far flung speculation. I wish it was. This is simply a description of what they want and how they are making inroads towards getting it.  A growing number of pundits are speculating that events on that terrible day could have gone horribly off the rails if even a few small items had fallen into place. For example, if the capitol police had been ordered to use lethal force.  One did and MAGA-world has used the 'martyrdom' of Ashlee Babbit to good advantage....closely paralleling the Nazis use of a stormtrooper who died in their 1923 Munich putsch, Horst Wessel, as a martyr for their cause.  Of course, both Wessel and Babbit were actually insurgents working for the illegal overthrow of their respective governments.

  But, had the riot at the capitol on that day descended into a maelstrom of shooting by both sides the death toll and wounded count would have spiraled right out of sight.  Had the Secret Service agents in the presidential SUV not refused to carry the Orange Idiot to the capitol, that is almost certainly what would have happened.  Part of his plan all along was to lead his followers in a bloody coup d'état and install himself--perhaps permanently--as America's first Emperor.  Of course, he's been watching the success of Putin and Xi Xinping, not to mention all the other pocket dictators, i.e. Erdogan, Bolsonaro, Duterte, and on and on.  It's not a wild speculation to pose the idea that Trump uses the methods and means of these despots to decide how to proceed towards his own coronation.

  It's now a horse-race to see if the Democrats and the few remaining GOPs who have not imbibed the Kool-Aid, can A: wake up in time, and B: do something of such power and effectiveness that it will stop the coming Facist Front.

  Because, like the Climate Crisis, it is not over the horizon anymore.  It 's here and we need to really get that with sufficient alarm and determination that it can be addressed and stopped.

Do you really doubt that this man is, A: Batshit crazy, and, B: wants to be King?


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