When the history of the Trump era is finally written, those who will have lost the most will not be immigrants, or the “enemy-of-the-state” media, or liberal elites, or Democrats, or objectified women, or even the Republican Party, it will be those who were his most fervent supporters: the MAGA hatters. These are the folks who lose the most when the Affordable Care Act is gutted, opioids are distributed like M&Ms, school funding is eviscerated and teachers migrate to urban areas, fracking and industrial waste ruins water supplies, middle-class take-home pay falls to subsidize tax cuts for corporations and wealthy individuals, infrastructure projects (especially broadband) never advance beyond rhetoric, and plentiful guns become the weapon-of-choice to settle family feuds and end the hopelessness of the forlorn—the so-called deaths of despair. In this age of deceit, Trump’s swindle of white, mostly rural, Christian, MAGAs will amount to one of the greatest cons ever perpetrated on a group of citizens in American history.
His trick? Making sure MAGAs remain fearful of, and enraged at, all the wrong things: collectively Trump’s stalking horses. Mexican “rapists,” all people of color, immigrant families, working women, all non-FOX media, Democrats, sanctuary cities, and virtually everyone and everything beyond the borders of the Unites States—especially Muslims. Trump’s next ghost-written book should be titled, The Art of the Con. Deflection, distraction, dishonesty, and his ultimate goal: disorientation, are easily achieved in the stew of fear and anger that he and FOX news work tirelessly to foment among MAGAs. His relentless campaign that utilizes Twitter, FOX, and revivalist-styled stadium rallies have one target: MAGAs. Fear begets anger, which begets more fear and anger such that the spiral of disorientation is assured. The result: a disorientation so extreme that its victims can no longer discern truth from lies and, ultimately, right from wrong; they become so disoriented as to approach the clinical definition of mental illness. More specifically, MAGAs suffer from Trump-induced psychosis: a severe mental disorientation in which thought and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with external reality, which is exactly what Trump must maintain to keep his fascist fantasies alive and, moreover, Trumplican congressmen and senators in line.
Emerging studies now show the reality of Trump’s stewardship of white rural America. Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America’s Heartland, by, Jonathan Metzl (Basic Books, 2019), reveals the extraordinary costs inflicted on white America by Trump and the Trumplican Party. Metzl studies public health and the “intersecting histories of race and health in Southern and midwestern states.” He observed an array of conservative political movements like “starving government funding, dismantling social programs, and allowing the free flow of most types of firearms” that originated with the Tea Party, funded by the Koch brothers, legislated by the Freedom Caucus and given voice (particularly to the alt-right) by online outlets like Breitbart. The effects on “state agendas, national GOP platforms, and, ultimately, policies of the Trump administration” resulted in what he calls “backlash governance.”
Metzl further […]
Destroying places of peace and unity—sanctuaries—appears to be a thing today. In both physical form and ideation, sanctuaries have been under attack in this age of deceit. Whether it be the accidental burning of the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, the murderous rampage at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in Pittsburgh, the numerous bombings and burnings of African American churches across the South, or this Easter morning’s church and hotel bombings claiming more […]
It is nearing time to choose a path; do we continue down the current rabbit hole of what columnist David Brooks has called “performative narcissism,” or do we reach back to the values that actually made America great and reengage with each other by demanding honesty, humility and decency? The top of the presidential candidate card for both parties—Trump, Biden and Bernie—appear to be mired in Brooks’ performative narcissism. To be fair, Trump is in […]
As the snow falls softly this New Year’s Eve on our hideaway in the Colorado Rockies, I feel a welcome sense of seclusion from the outrage porn we have come to endure from the steady stream of farce and deceit pulsing through the wired and wireless reality that continues to warp our senses and worse, corrode our values. And yet, I can’t help but summon a cup of gratitude at having been granted the fateful […]
“If you have no character your destiny is tragedy.” These words offered by former federal prosecutor John Flannery as he described the likely outcome of Donald Trump’s presidency and life. This notion of self-inflicted fate has been around for centuries as when Oedipus the King was advised by Tiresias, “Creon is not your downfall, no, you are your own” (Sophocles, circa 430 B.C.). The remarkable thing about the noose that appears to be tightening around […]
What follows here is a draft introduction of my next book, American Deliverance: Restoring the American Dream in the Post-Trump Era. I am sharing it with subscribers to provide an historical context and outlook on the question, What now? I hope to have it completed and published before we need it!
American Deliverance: Introduction
I was born in 1957, the peak birth year for Baby Boomers and the year the Soviets launched Sputnik into space which, just […]
The divisive tribal partisanship so many sociologists and political pundits talk about today may, in the November midterms in 2018 and presidential election in 2020, boil down to little more than an amplification of the gender wars previously explained in John Gray’s 1992 bestseller, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. A number of recent studies suggest Trump has succeeded in creating gender gaps in political preferences unseen in the history of American politics. […]