We are in the midst of a disinformation pandemic.
I often have these conversations with Trump supporters, but they aren’t really conversations because there is never an equal exchange of viewpoints, ideas, or even debates. Their idea of a debate is to send me a link, oftentimes emanating from Russia. It sometimes feels like I am talking to a robot, or someone who has been taken hostage. But what’s confusing is that these people are smart, nobody’s fool, but it’s odd because they seemed to have suspended critical thinking, no acknowledgment of Trump’s past or his white supremacy embrace. I was always under the impression that my friends were not racist, that they have a good heart, but here they are supporting a die-in-the-wool racist.
“By adulthood, researchers have found, most Americans have been exposed to a culture with enough negative messages about African-Americans and other marginalized groups that as much as 80 percent of white Americans hold unconscious bias against black Americans, bias so automatic that it kicks in before a person can process it, according to the Harvard sociologist David Williams.” Page 186 Wilkerson, Caste
I’m not sure if it’s 80% but the negative messages we’ve been exposed to are a fact. But I still don’t get it. I can’t reconcile the dichotomy of my friend’s goodness with their embrace of a racist.
In the southern rural areas, Trump supporters embrace a man who is fighting tooth and nail to take away their healthcare, in other words, their lifeline. How do you support a man who wants to leave you naked, devoid of any medical security blanket?
I don’t get it…
But I do now.
As Jake, the State Farm guy says: ‘Here’s the real deal.’ Let’s open the discussion with a quote from Hitler’s information czar, Joseph Goebbels.
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
Our President has told over 20,000 lies since taking office. This IV of poisonous lies has been injected into the bloodstreams of his base. It is daily, relentless, and served up with a sweetener, and scapegoats, making it more palatable. And if they have buried seeds of racism, his lies nourish that strain.
Since January, he has said the word HOAX over 250 times, with no specifics or names, just poisoning the airways with unspecified charges, leaving people confused, helpless, wallowing in a dangerous environment created by a baseless conspiracy theory where only a strong leader like Putin or Trump can save them. Propaganda is the lifeblood of a demigod and Trump is following Goebbels playbook to a tee.
As Trump made clear recently: “I alone can fix it.”
George Orwell, 1984: “Ignorance is strength”
“War is Peace”
“Freedom is slavery”
Kelly Ann Conway: ‘There are alternate facts.”
Mark Meadows, Trump’s Chief of Staff: “Lack of evidence of mail-in voting
fraud is the definition of fraud.”
The horror that Orwell predicted is unfolding in plain sight.
“A misogynistic demagogue contends that the existing political system is corrupt and broken (rightfully so) and promises, through the force of his personality, that he can fix the problems with a new vision for government. But he needs both a mob (of admirers and attackers of perceived enemies) and a propaganda machine that feeds this mob a continuous stream of lies to promote his message while disparaging other sources that might counter these deceptions. We can’t disregard how important this propaganda machine is in swaying opinion. If people hear enough lies, many people begin to believe them. Repetition and timing are key.” Gabe Ortiz, Daily KoS
Fox News is the propaganda arm of the Trump organization. These enablers foster and amplify Trump’s daily lies, validating the scam, and legitimizing baseless conspiracy theories. He even praises QAnon, who the FBI has deemed a domestic terror threat.
Recently, a reporter challenged Trump on his lie (already told 150 times) that he got the Veterans Program passed, stating: “They been trying to get that passed for decades and decades and no president’s ever been able to do it, and it got done.” As Jake would say: ‘Here’s the real deal’: President Obama signed the Choice program into law in 2014. It was championed by two Senators Trump hates—Bernie Saunders and John McCain. When the reporter pressed him as to why he would lie, Trump just walked away.
As did the Nazis, this administration utilizes the power of euphemisms. Euphemisms were used by the Nazis to cloud the full extent of their horror. Jews were sent to work camps, not concentration camps. Today, we have kids in concentration camps at the border but the press never calls it like it is: these are concentration camps for kids, and what makes it even more egregious is the fact that these kids are separated from their parents, an act of cruelty that doesn’t even measure on the Richter Scale.
Anna Deavere Smith: we are becoming “…and we have less and less awareness of the pain of the other.” And perhaps that sums up the tragic fault of my Trump friends: a lack of empathy for the pain of others.
It helps my Trump friends condone this daily drumbeat of lies and cruelty?
They are the modern-day enablers, having surrendered their integrity to Trump’s propaganda juggernaut, a movement that resonates with their racism, their misogamy, and their homophobia.
Is there not one with the courage to say: ‘The emperor has no clothes.’