Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Two Houses That Occupy The Same Space Cannot Stand.

During the 2016 election Donald Trump and his supporters argued that America was a devastated landscape economically, that only his financial genius could turn the country around. The day after his inauguration his fans cheered the amazing turn around in this country's fortunes. A year later those songs of praise still ring loudly even though many of the economic indicators show either no change from the previous four or five years or in some cases a slight slow down. The same economic data that was previously a disaster is now a startling accomplishment. Imagine that the New England Patriots, on their way to yet another Super Bowl appearance were talking in press conferences about the need to "Turn the team around and get on the right track". Any reasonable person would doubt their sanity, just as reasonable people doubt the sanity or the motives of the Trump supporters.
Apart from the electoral consequences of his supporters living in an alternate reality where Mexico's government will be paying for a wall in penance for their practice of selecting murders and rapists to send across the border to steal jobs when they're not otherwise busy with killing and raping, there is, perhaps, a larger problem for us to consider.
I believe that many in the top 1% of the 1% understand the game plan, disheveled and crazy as it seems at times of the Trump administration - to move more and more of the country's wealth into fewer and fewer hands. The greediest of this group no doubt applauds that practice and some may honestly believe that this will benefit the country as a whole. The extreme racists, the neo-Nazis, the Klan etc. are perfectly tuned into his wavelength and understand clearly the racist message, recognizing their own propaganda finally freed from dog whistles and innuendo. There is another group I see in his followers; those who don't identify as white supremacists although they may share some core beliefs and who are certainly not in the top 1% of wealthiest citizens, and yet accept the same alternate reality that the administration has delivered.
When this administration is gone we'll still have the disgruntled racists and they'll most likely retreat from center stage as they did in the 1960s as the civil rights marchers began to be seen as the heroes and respectable participants in the struggle while those will the clubs, fire hoses and angry dogs became a national embarrassment. The greediest of the wealthy will be able to retreat into their many homes and continue the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed, but what of the rest?
One would hope they would recognize the false narrative they've been fed and begin to support polices rooted in reality whether liberal or conservative, but with the option of 24-7 input from Fox News, Breitbart etc. it's easy to see how they could continue in this Twilight Zone of hatred and rage. It really is a science fiction scenario, a group of people who are living in an alternate reality, an unreal world set in the real world where the actions of those alternate reality people impacts the real world around them, and ultimately themselves and yet remain unaware.
Discussion, debate, progress requires a shared reality - either economic indicators are up or down, 4% unemployment is good or bad, it can't change minute to minute and it can't be both simultaneously. We may have to deal with fellow citizens who continue to live in the alternate reality that has been fashioned for them because they still occupy the same physical plane as the rest of us, and their actions can still have real world consequences. I would argue it's easier and more productive to debate policy with someone who acknowledges the same set of facts as you but suggests another approach than you've thought of than to try to work with someone who sees black as white and up as down.

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