Divided by Disinformation

I started this blog in an attempt to understand how people I know and respect could be Trump supporters. I found him to be an unacceptable presidential candidate the second he mocked a disabled reporter. My view was reinforced by a litany of other despicable behaviors and actions that showed a criminal level of incompetence and immorality.

Trump has no political ideology and was a registered Democrat who donated to democratic candidates over the years. Trump’s only ideology is “what’s in it for me.” Steve Bannon is the one who advised Trump to run on populism, nationalism and anti-immigration platforms.

To me, it was inexplicable that anyone could support him. After three years of researching, I found that my Trump supporting friends have been consuming media that created an alternate reality that is not held to any journalistic standards, no commitment to the truth. It’s purpose was to create hatred for the other side, to stoke emotion over reason and to rake in profit.

Trump’s campaign personified more than 30 years of right wing vitriol. Evangelical Christians, Christian nationalists, white nationalists, white supremacists, neo-Nazis, anti-government militias, conspiracy theorists, libertarians and ordinary republicans united in this realm of disinformation to undermine, if not, overthrow American democracy.

This explosion of misinformation was caused by the growth of unaccountable social media. It was brought to the forefront by the “false narrative” president and supported by Republican enablers. It culminated in an insurrection! But I don’t think it’s finished! This isn’t the first time that a new media source created a frenzy of misinformation.

Beth Rabinowitz reports that when newspapers first became widely available at the turn of the 19th century, sensationalism and hyperbole sold newspapers, fact and fiction were blurred, and fabricated headlines and false dangerous medical advertisements were published (BCT 01/24/2021 Yellow journalism period offers cues to fight fake news by Your Turn Beth Rabinowitz). She continues, when the dangers of this misinformation was realized, the Society of News Editors issued its Canons of Ethics which marked the beginning of responsible journalism.

This shows that we need to hold social media and internet platforms accountable, too. According to Rabinowitz, we need to get “…a handle on the viral spread of dangerous misinformation.” And, we need “…to decontaminate the country from the poison of misinformation, we have to develop clear guidelines and sanctions for social media and communication platforms.” The dissemination of false information is illegal and not protected free speech. We have existing slander laws and protections from advertisers making false claims. We must insist that all media be held accountable to providing accurate information.

So my Trump supporting friends were and are getting their news from sources not dedicated to the truth or reality. Sadly, many ordinary people have become radicalized and have engaged in seditious acts. What’s even worse, experts say that it is nearly impossible for them to return to reality. Any attempted correction of misinformation is countered with deeper conviction to the lies.

They unknowingly support the deconstruction of the administrative state which is what gives us strength and standing in the world. The only people who benefit from this deconstruction are our international enemies like Russia, China, North Korea and Iran, and the American oligarchs. The losers of this deconstruction are us, ordinary hard working Americans. The only thing that can save us is the truth!

Cautious Celebration

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were inaugurated as President and Vice President on Wednesday, January 20, 2021. It’s been a long four years of living through lies, incompetence and watching our norms and institutions being damaged. I wanted to celebrate Biden’s win on November 3rd, but the vote wasn’t declared till November 7th due to the counting of mail-in ballots. Then Trump pathetically tried to declare victory before the counting was completed, he refused to concede, denied the ascertainment needed for the transition to begin, filed 62 frivolous losing lawsuits challenging the election results without providing any evidence, called state officials begging them to “find” votes to overturn the election, continued to repeatedly declare widespread voter fraud without any proof causing his supporters to believe the election had been stolen who in turn called their representatives and Senators who then challenged the electoral college vote certification on January 6th. Then he incited an insurrection causing his supporters to storm the Capitol to stop the certification. Even though they caused deaths, desecration and destruction, the vote was finally certified. Then I had to wait two long weeks for Inauguration Day while wondering if there was anything else that could stop the transition.

Finally, I got to celebrate after two and a half months of election results turmoil. I cried tears of joy most of the day as I watched the inauguration activities. Now, the fight to eliminate the virus and rescue the economy has begun, and the lies and incompetence has ended.

Sadly, however, white nationalists, anti-government militias, QAnon, Republican obstructionists, and average Trump supporters stand in opposition to healing. Right wing media will continue to divide us and disperse the lies that created a space for a dangerous autocrat to rise to power, and will continue to attack democracy.

Are we on the path to healing as a nation or is this just a short reprieve until the next election? We must be vigilant and truth must prevail!

Impeached Again!

Donald J. Trump incited a mob that attacked, breached, damaged and defiled the Capitol building of the United States of America. They ruthlessly attacked and beat the police who were defending the building and chanted their goals of killing Speaker Pelosi and hanging Vice President Pence. Fortunately, their plans were foiled, but not before five lives were lost.

This mob was prepped by 30 years or more of right wing lies with the final push being the false claims of voter fraud. Who is responsible the liars or the believers of the lies? Some in the mob believed they were invited by the president and justified in their actions, while others were hardcore anti-government white nationalist militia members bent on destroying the government.

Not only has America’s ugly underbelly been revealed, but also how ordinary Americans have become radicalized. Author Anand Giridharadas suggested that this revelation marks the beginning of the end of white nationalism in America and the beginning of the future of our multicultural democracy. We must return to truth because the foundation of democracy is truth and the rule of law.

The house impeached Trump for inciting this insurrection. He has four days left as president. Here’s to hope for a brighter future.

Poor Loser Behavior: A Symptom of Mental Illness

Trump’s post election behavior is abominable and embarrassing for all of us. We’ve never seen anything like this from an American president before. At first, I blamed this behavior on never being held accountable and always being bailed out by his father and later by bankers who bought into his created “successful businessman” narrative. People whose failures are constantly bailed out by their parents fail to mature, continue bad behavior and struggle with marriage and relationships according to Kevin A. Thompson (Parenting Adult Children Who Make Bad Choices 07/02/2013 kevinathompson.com). Trump’s stern father and the neglect he suffered as a toddler when his mother had a lengthy illness (see Mary Trump’s book) also contributed to his current day behavior. But, this is all on top of, most likely, having untreated inherited Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

People with NSD usually have a vision, a desire to be admired and to want to build empires, but they are UNABLE to listen, accept criticism, be consistent, maintain healthy relationships and experience empathy. They can’t love. They only love what the other person can do for them. And, they often can’t accept loss or failure.

Evita March writes in A Personality Psychologist Explains Why Some People Can’t Admit When They Lose – And How They Spin Failure to Blame Others (www.businessinsider.com 11/12/2020) that people with ‘grandiose narcissism’ “…may be unable to accept, or even comprehend, that they have not won.” They suffer from cognitive dissonance when their internal “belief” does not match up with actual reality. Experiencing cognitive dissonance feels uncomfortable and can even threaten the very core of one’s sense of self. March writes that “…strategies we use to reduce dissonance can also make us unyielding in our belief. Ongoing acceptance of our beliefs could make us unable to accept outcomes even in the face of damning evidence.” This suggests that TRUMP DOES NOT BELIEVE THAT HE LOST; IN HIS MIND, IT HAS TO BE A MISTAKE, SOMEBODY HAD TO HAVE CHEATED, FOR HIM THERE IS NO OTHER EXPLANATION!

Having an NSD inspired personal narrative combined with the power that comes from having nearly a half billion dollars provided by your father can take one far, far beyond their “actual” abilities and way outside reality. The ascendancy to the presidency has laid bare the false reality in which Trump seems to live and has revealed incompetence, immorality and corruption. His refusal to accept the outcome of our fair and free election and to desperately make 60 or more baseless legal claims of voter fraud and to call for multiple recounts that did not change the numbers, finally brought full attention to his, what seems to be, pronounced debilitating personality disorder. He seems so disturbed right now that he can’t even carry out the basic duties of the presidency. We’re in the middle of the worst disaster since the Civil War and all he can do is play golf.

Narcissists can change, but they have to want to and they have to be aware that they need to. It seems that Trump has never engaged in any self-examination or reflection during his entire 74 years on earth. Has there ever been a previous president this seemingly disturbed or this far removed from reality? Sadly, Trump has demonstrated behaviors commensurate to a severe personality disorder and is playing them out on a world stage. How insane is it that he involved the Supreme Court of the United States and actually threatened the foundations of our democracy with his unacceptable behavior and what seems to be a break from reality?

This is a nightmare. We have a president seemingly detached from reality, but still got 74,000,000 votes and has nearly the entire Republican Party afraid of a Trump tweet. Trump’s false “super successful super smart businessman” narrative is constantly repeated and supported on right wing media while they portray him as a victim of the evil left and the fake mainstream media when any negative truths are revealed. But, insider Secretary of State (for one year anyway) Rex Tillerson told us that Trump is a “f…ing moron.” Trump does not seem to care about America or Americans or doing the everyday duties of the president, he seems to only care about the attention and the power and the personal wealth he can draw from the position. He’s been a destructive disaster to our democracy, to our government and to our standing in the world. He is maybe the most dangerous and deadly force faced by America, especially in light of his failed response to the pandemic.

Regrettably for us, the DMSV defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder as a MENTAL ILLNESS. Not accepting the reality of the election loss is a clear sign of delusion. He did nothing new to broaden his base of supporters and that cost him the election, not any voter fraud. He lost the popular vote twice, by 2.8 million in 2016 and by a whopping 7 million in 2020. He lost because he didn’t do the work needed to win. It seems his false grandiose sense of self made him believe he didn’t need to do anything new to win. HE LOST THE VOTE ON HIS OWN! And now we are subjected to the unacceptable and dangerous behavior of a seemingly mentally ill loser who is protected by the office of the presidency and his enablers that refuse to hold him accountable or to remove him via the 25th Amendment.

Hopefully, we can begin to heal on January 20 and return to sanity. Maybe the Republican Party can review and renew their values and ideology. Maybe they can lead from the top down instead of letting a few aggrieved right wing talk show hosts, solely motivated by money and fame, turn Republican supporters into a bunch of populist conspiracy theorists white nationalists lie believing truth deniers. Republican leadership needs to step up because our democracy is in danger of failing. They’ve become the anti-government party! But, we ARE the government. Our government is our face to the world. We need to believe in our government in order to succeed in the world. The Republicans need to leave behind their “unfit” leader and start anew with a healthy and capable candidate for 2024. America can only be great if we work together!