I Just Don’t Get It

It’s really getting to me.

A week or so ago, a federal court ordered Donald Trump to pay two million dollars to charities he had defrauded by using his ostensibly charitable foundation as a personal and political slush fund. Veterans were among the causes from which he stole.

Veterans.

A Facebook meme I’ve seen several times since that court order says something to the effect that “what if you lived in a country whose leader stole from charity—and no one cared? You live in that country.”

Of course, that isn’t accurate. A lot of us care. But then, there are Americans who clearly don’t–Americans who continue to support Donald Trump no matter what despicable things he does– and for the life of me, I can’t understand why.

I realize that most people who support Trump neither follow nor understand public policy, and are basically unaware of the dreadful policies pursued by his administration. They also aren’t watching the Impeachment hearings–they’re just hearing about them from Fox.

Given all the data about civic ignorance, I can also believe that most of his “fans” don’t have the faintest idea how government works, what the Constitution requires, or how much of an assault on critical democratic norms his administration represents.

But here’s the thing.

According to polls, some 40% of voters still support Donald Trump. That’s despite an unending stream of disclosures that have been so widely reported that even people who watch Fox News could hardly have escaped hearing about them. It is virtually impossible to live in the U.S. and not know about the infamous “grab ‘em by the pussy” tape, or his payoffs to porn stars, or the numerous women who’ve accused him of sexual assault. They could not have avoided witnessing his crude, rude and ignorant behaviors, or reading at least some of the unending series of tweets in which he brags, lies and insults using ungrammatical English and misspelled words.

People who voted for him because they thought he was a businessman must now know about his multiple bankruptcies. Even if they dismiss those as “smart” strategies to avoid paying what he owed, surely his increasingly frantic efforts to hide his tax returns would have raised a question about what it is that he’s so determined to hide.

Voters and elected Republicans who still support him have rejected the Mueller Report. They’ve ignored pictures of refugee children in cages. They have refused to believe the testimony of war heroes and longtime diplomats. I could go on and on…but everyone reading this blog can supply additional examples.

Andrew Sullivan recently described the phenomenon:

“The GOP as a whole has consistently backed Trump rather than the Constitution. Sixty-two percent of Republican supporters have said that there is nothing Trump could do, no crime or war crime, no high crime or misdemeanor, that would lead them to vote against him in 2020. There is only one way to describe this, and that is a cult, completely resistant to reason or debate. The tribalism is so deep that Trump seems incapable of dropping below 40 percent in the national polls, and is competitive in many swing states. The cult is so strong that Trump feels invulnerable.”

The question is: why?

I understand partisanship, and the reluctance of people who have voted for someone to admit to themselves and others that they made a mistake. I understand the loyalty of the White Nationalists who see Trump as the Great White (Christian, male) hope. I’m even prepared to recognize that there are people who simply don’t read or listen to any news other than Fox.

But surely that isn’t forty percent of American voters.

I understood the people who wanted to have a beer with George W. Bush. He was personally pleasant, at least. Donald Trump, however, is personally repulsive—someone with no apparent redeeming characteristics. He’s a walking, bloviating example of everything American schools and churches and nonprofit organizations purport to reject. I can’t believe there are people who would want their children or grandchildren to model their behaviors on his.

So—why? Surely, 40% of our neighbors aren’t all bigots.  Could 40% of Americans actually believe Trump’s transparent lies?

My (formerly conservative Republican) brother-in-law thinks they do. He quotes Abraham Lincoln’s famous line  “you can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time…”  and says that the 2020 vote for Trump will provide an exact count of the number of Americans who can be fooled all of the time.

Other theories are welcome, because I just don’t get it. I’m at a loss.

 

35 thoughts on “I Just Don’t Get It

  1. A while back I was reading one of the letters Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote from jail while awaiting execution by the Nazis. His description of their psychology was chilling. You could paraphrase him and no one would know you were not talking about people today. Bonhoeffer concluded the only means of dealing with them was by violence.

    Yet, I am more optimistic. I think the thing to study is how cult members can be successfully deprogrammed. If there is any hope at all, it most likely lies in that direction. To me, the question is whether techniques developed to deprogram individuals can be adapted to deprogramming masses of people? Whatever the case, to call Trump’s followers a “cult” seems clinically accurate.

  2. I have been asking “WHY?” since the Republican party dumped 16 viable presidential nominees and foisted Trump on this country.

    Trump has made his belief that the President of the United States is allowed to do and say anything they want, a reality. He has not done this alone; his revolving appointees, many of them in an “acting” position, and the House and Senate have allowed him to run amok through this government, this country and other nations. Ambassador Taylor said he could not come out and directly say that Trump’s actions in Ukraine would be the cause of deaths due to his unspoken aid to Russia, but I got the message. The same is true in Syria as Turks continue attacking our allies, the Kurds, and Russia has now taken over an abandoned U.S. military base due to Trump’s order to evacuate…except those left behind to protect what he considers HIS oil wells. He now wants to raise the payments from South Korea to maintain our troops there; which would leave them to the practiced nuclear attacks by North Korea.

    The mounting number of “WHY?” regarding Trump do not stop at our borders; his name is used here by mass shooting White Nationalists and regarding escalating battles in our allied nations. Trump’s death toll is escalating and McConnell is waiting to end the Impeachment so they can continue and broaden their “killing fields”.

    “The question is: why?”

  3. This is from your column of a few weeks ago. I oftentimes reread it to gain some degree of understanding as to what is transpiring around us. Hint: not always successfully.

    When the accommodation involves compromising one’s sense of integrity, the tensions are reduced when others join in the effort. This creates a powerful sense of cohesion, harmony and group think. The greater the compromise, the more fierce the justification for it — and the greater the need to denounce those who call them out for their compromise. “In response,” this person said to me, “an ‘us versus them’ mentality emerges, sometimes quite viciously.”

    “What used to be a sense of belonging,” I was told, “devolves into primitive tribalism, absolute adherence to the leader over adherence to a code of ethics.”…

    As the psychologist I spoke to put it to me, many Republicans “are nearly unrecognizable versions of themselves pre-Trump. At this stage it’s less about defending Trump; they are defending their own defense of Trump.”

    “At this point,” this person went on, “condemnation of Trump is condemnation of themselves. They’ve let too much go by to try and assert moral high ground now. Calling out another is one thing; calling out yourself is quite another.”

  4. My theory encompasses several takes on that electorate who put Trump in the White House. There is no one reason for Trump’s support, just as there is no one group of supporters. Per my observations, there seems to be four groups of supporters.
    First the Evangelicals who believe Trump will bring about some great revival of Christianity.
    Second the less than honest wealthy who want an economic system that gives them more wealth no matter the cost to others.
    Third the disgruntled and jealous middle and lower wage folk who’s anger is more along the line of pay back for all the real and imagined injustices they have endured.
    And Fourth those brainless suburban nitwits who simply go along because they want to fit in.
    It is unlikely that either the Evangelicals or the wealthy will turn on Trump. The Evangelicals because their delusional thinking will not allow them to face their own hypocrisy, and the wealthy because their values were cemented in greed long ago and few ever grow a heart after they have sold their souls.
    The angry middle and low wage folk along with the brainless status seekers are reachable, but it will take a mountain of persuasion to turn them against Trump. But it’s possible… Maybe… I hope.

  5. People who don’t think when they are driving or selecting a President are a clear and present danger. A majority who do are simply going to have to vote these bozos out to return this country to sanity.

  6. For the non-evangelicals and non-rich, 45 says and does exactly what his supporters have dreamed of saying and doing their whole lives. He represents every anti-authority wish they’ve ever wished. They love the bully who bullies the people they hate, the elites and the intelligentsia.

  7. “So—why? Surely, 40% of our neighbors aren’t all bigots. Could 40% of Americans actually believe Trump’s transparent lies?” The answer to these two questions is an unqualified YES.

    All of the above comments add together the factors that create this cult. My favorite is that those true believers are too afraid to admit they made a mistake. They will take their cultism to their graves.

    One thing not mentioned is the residual affectation of the overt racism created by the demonization of Barack Obama by the right wing media and Donald Trump himself. He’s been riding that wave of hate and bigotry like a champion surfer. When the wave weakens, he goes to one of his Nazi-like rallies and stirs it up again. There is a true social psychosis associated with Trump and Republicans. Yes, only17% of the electorate voted for Trump, but the down-ticket Republicans still dominate due to gerrymandering and voter suppression (See Wisconsin, Georgia, et. al.)

    Once again, the ONLY way these cultists can be put back into their fetid jar is by overwhelming the vote in November. The impeachment hearings are just exposing what most of us have already known from the beginning with this bastard. The Senate is digging in and will NOT convict Trump of anything. Fox News will continue to trumpet anti-progressive bullshit as it’s always done.

    They are Trump and he is them…forever.

  8. I have two good friends, both highly educated women, with whom I correspond to discuss “the Trump situation”. One of our most-pondered topics is “how can ANYONE still support this man?”. We share links, opinion pieces, report what we’ve heard, and have what we hope are rational discussions. The three of us have created a safe place where we can vent, discuss, laugh, and scream. We don’t get it either. (One thing I personally will be doing is working the next election cycle to support with my time and my money rational candidates who will be willing to get us back to a more “normal” place! Science matters, people matter, facts matter!)

  9. Sheila,
    I have several thoughts on this issue.
    1st — I’m not sure I trust the polling any longer. NO ONE is know – and that is a LOT of people have ever been called for a poll. Maybe it is because NONE of us takes unidentified phone calls. That is a weakness in polling strategies.
    2nd — I don’t think we can apply any “reason” or rationality to Trump’s supporters any longer. crichardallen’s discussion with the psychologist I believe comes closest to a reasonable explanation.
    At this stage it’s less about defending Trump; they are defending their own defense of Trump.”

    “At this point,” this person went on, “condemnation of Trump is condemnation of themselves. They’ve let too much go by to try and assert moral high ground now. Calling out another is one thing; calling out yourself is quite another.”

    They are unable to deal with any cognitive dissonance and unable to do any self-reflection. It would be too painful.

    3rd — We have to look the various interests involved in supporting Trump and the current GOP.
    These include the wealthy who have gained from the Tax Legislation, Corporate Interests, anti-government Westerners whose psychology of “leave us alone to do what we want with the land”, the deep layers of racism that were hiding since the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts of the 1960’s and last, but not least, the “evangelicals” who follow the theology of Dominionism. The last honestly believe Trump was “sent” to bring about the “End-Times” and the resulting “Rapture” – which they all believe will deliver them to Heaven. Vice President Pence is in this camp which is why he was part of the groups that pushed for the formal establishment of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving our embassy to Jerusalem. These folks are just waiting for the rebuilding of The Temple on the Temple Mount.

    The reality we have to understand is that there is some rationality to his support and some that seems irrational to the rest of us.
    Like you, I just have difficulty “getting it”.
    But, I still question the accuracy of that 40%.

  10. I think there are many facets to this insanity. One of them is deep-seated selfishness that has developed in a number of people who have been told all of their lives that they’re “#1.” The “Me” generation out of control. “Hey, I’m White, Male, Christian. Obey me!”

    And they will lie, cheat and steal to prove their supremacy. Yes, they are bigots. But there are many faces to them. None of them are real or good for the rest of society.

  11. The real problem is not the 40% who vote for Trump but the 40% who do not bother to vote. Emphasis should be on reaching those voters, more dramatically, the voters 30 and under!!

  12. I hear a lot of them saying “Nobody ever listened to me before. I voted Trump so maybe now you’ll listen to me!”

    As though putting an unhinged, dangerous, raving mad lunatic in the most powerful office in the world is the path to gaining respect and influence.

  13. Well, there’s a lot of things I could say! People won’t agree with most or all of it anyway LOL. I liken it in a way, to the old frog in the pot allegory. (Why didn’t the frog jump out of the pot? Why did he allow himself to be boiled? Well, the water wasn’t always hot. Turn it up slowly, and eventually you just fall asleep. The heat anesthetizes the body, diverts blood flow from the brain, you just fall asleep until you’re a boiled piece of meat).

    Not all are susceptible to being boiled, LOL. Some catch on to the shenanigans and will refuse to sit in the pot. Those who do sit in the pot do so because of a deluded sense of camaraderie, and a false memory of better times, and of course, wanting to be something that they thought they could never be, and fell in lockstep behind flimflam con artist, an immoral liar, a child predator, and an insane narcissistic self delusional miscreant. Are all of these people evil? We see them every day, some are in our families, some are our bosses or our coworkers, some work at the stores we shop in, and almost all of them hoard guns!

    They’ve been told for years that they had to be prepared for a government that would come for them, and then someone shows up and reinforces their “frog in the pot syndrome,” deluding themselves to believe that the black helicopters will be landing on their front lawns shortly. This whole thing reminds me of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the immense image which was interpreted by the prophet Daniel.

    The prophet Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar, “that the image was large and the brightness was extraordinary, it’s head was of pure gold, it’s chest and its arms were of silver, its abdomen and thighs were of copper, it’s legs were of iron, Its Feet Were Partly Of Iron And Partly Of Molded Clay.”

    Daniel continued to explain, that, the feet represent disunity and weakness, because iron is strong, but mixed with clay, it is extremely weak. This represented the human condition during the time alluded to in the prophecy. An image, “an immense image,” with the weight of human history upon it, cannot stand on a fragile base. Eventually it will crumble.

    Most of this disunity is brought on by religion. Christianity using doctrine, that was cultivated after the death of the apostles, as a bludgeon against other peoples and religions. And of course other religions doing the same thing. There cannot be a unity, because they are not united in belief. You can see a microcosm of this in the United Nations. The venom and vitriol spewed out on a regular basis is mind-boggling. They do it in the name of God. And make no mistake, communism is a religion, just as socialism is a religion, just as atheism is a religion, just as agnosticism is a religion, because their followers all have faith that their tack is the right course!

    This was all brought to our attention millennia ago, and mankind has advanced enough to be able to instantaneously communicate with anyone else on the planet. So the level of disunity must reach a breaking point, there is no buffer against it. There are however a lot of accomplices that help it along, so-called freedom of speech, where a good guy with intellectual articulation can defeat a maleficent Tribune! It kind of sounds like, “a good guy with a gun can prevent a bad guy with a gun from doing bad things” that doesn’t work too well now does it. Every one of these folks follow someone who does not have a civic responsibility or a civic conscience. The lack of civility also shows a lack of empathy and conscience. The moral decay has reached a monumental stench, and you can rest assured, that if you believe in a God, or you believe in Scripture, you had better start beseeching, as things are going to just get worse.

  14. John Sorg,
    And make no mistake, capitalism is a religion too. And that religion is what got us to where we are today, not Christianity.

  15. I think it’s a wide variety of things.

    1) He provides judges – Trump is an idiot, so just picks from the Federalist Society list. Supreme Court and 25% of the federal bench is a pretty good pickup to pretend you like someone for a few years. I mean, 50 years of power for 4 years of a nut? That’s a win.

    2) He upsets liberals and people tend to think “it’s okay if my house gets singed as long as yours burns to the ground”.

    3) Fox News only presents him as a hero

    4) Fox has been telling people “every other media source lies to you, only trust us” for decades

    5) The US has always had an unhealthy, rich = good mind set. Prosperity Gospel has made that roughly a billion times worse. Therefore, wealthy Trump is good. Hardworking, but broke people are lazy dregs

    6) He’s dumb, but not that dumb. He’s happy to try and roll back abortion rights to keep the Evangelicals on his side. Wealthy people will always have access, so it’s a non-issue for him. Similar to the judge thing, giving up 4 years to a nut for banning abortions is a smart trade if that’s your number 1 voter priority. Trump could be raping children on the 50 yard line during the Superbowl half-time show – no Evangelical would budge. Removing legal abortion is worth anything to them.

    7) Government hasn’t been working well at the Federal level for some time – people wanted to throw a grenade into the works and see what happened.

    8)Obviously, all the he hates the right people/conservatives love a “strong man” silliness.

    lots of reasons really. Once you accept that hypocrisy knows no bounds, it’s all much clearer.

  16. im back on the road again,terrorizing the trumpers..not directly as i was before,there is a lull in the opinions,and self rightious,unless stirred. seems maybe they maybe taking a hint,and the mass feedback from media may have opened some eyes. but theres still the die hards,and it wont change their opinion on whose the new god..
    ill push this,if your into reading about whats going on with lula,and evo. you maybe in a front seat of info, that maybe be how the system works,and how,money is running the end game in Brazil,and Bolivia.recent piece by Brian Mier::as lula emerges from prison,u.s. media ignores how washington helped put him there,commondreams.org..ive been following both attempts at how the right wing in both countries have handled the issue,and the background why. save the banana republic stuff, if we can manage to keep the journalism honest here,we may have a front row seat in how todays republicans and corporate america get what they want.(constitution be damned)..and who is making the decisions….this is a money grab,and burning the amazon to keep a meatpackers dominance(JBS) in the world market..is just part of this…

  17. A long time ago I worked for a state-wide candidate whose polling data always sampled ‘alienated’ voters who were angry at the government, their employers, etc. There were a lot of them during the Vietnam era. An insulting, name-calling George Wallace had a visceral appeal to them.

    There are a lot of angry voters now too, and the insulting, name-calling Trump taps into that. He is the most visible example of someone who’s continually angry and delights in letting it show. Trump has never been part of an ‘in-crowd’ so he pushes his way into others’ consciousness with insults, braggadocio, and attention-grabbing media. (He has a deep need for attention.) He swings for and at the fences when he doesn’t even have a bat and gets away with it. Apparently there are a lot of alienated folks (with a lot less money than Trump) who admire and wish they could do that too.

  18. Think about the difference between freedom and (political) power. Freedom only gives you no disadvantage, the same power as everyone else. Power gives you control, the ability not just to be unencumbered but the ability to impose what’s best for you on others.

    What authoritarian entertainment and social media has been paid to do, and have successfully done, is to convince people who are disenfranchised by their lack of any real achievement, power to reject even the concept of government and take, yes take, power over others who have, they believe, kept them down.

    It’s revenge for their own failings. Sweet.

    Think of how entertaining they must be finding the impeachment hearings? Accomplished people all whiney about disrespect, the same disrespect the power cult has felt their whole lives because they never were able to earn anything different.

    It seems that history has been largely written by people who believe that power and freedom are the same thing, but power gives you even more freedom to lord over those whose accomplishments have always given them more freedom and respect by people recognizing the authority of their expertise. Take that, authority!

    Power removes the need for government they are told. Freedom is just the accomplished having power over the unremarkable.

    Power to the people distinguishable by their lack of exceptionionalism.

  19. Why?
    I interviewed a former leader within the Indiana KKK Paul Book. In almost every sentence, he told me why people support Donald Trump. The interview was in 1977.

    Book was a classic loser with no sense of logic, poor ability to problem solve, poor people skills, no ethics, rough manners, poor grooming and a propensity for violence, but he had a photographic memory and demonstrated it by reciting random pages I chose of The Encyclopedia Britannica. And then he growled about numerous times he was passed over for promotions because upper management wanted people who had skinny necks and no personal physical power. “Them kind of people are real, and that reality got in my way all the time.”

    Book wanted to be a fighter pilot, but reality got in his way again–his eyes were imperfect and he was twice the weight allowed.

    Book fantasized a bucket list of ambitions for which he thought his great memory put him at the top of every list of aspirants.

    Detective; and the reality that got in the way was the profession required analytical skills and a highly developed respect for process.

    Preacher; and the reality that got in the way was preachers needed people skills, even preachers who have memorized the entire Bible.

    Architect; and the reality that got in the way was established procedure required a degree and a license and an adherence to standards. Book had dropped out of school in 10th grade and had no inclination to go back, as well as no tolerance for oversight, especially by pencil neck academics.

    After reciting another dozen examples of thwarted ambitions, including a few in which racial preference got in the way, he said that I’d be wrong to think that he and people like him merely have a grudge against education, or established process, or racial quotas, or mannered pencil necked academics.

    “What we don’t like is reality. See, most of what you think is reality is manufactured reality. Laws, rules, process, standards, all those things that impede my progress are manufactured reality.”

    He listed other realities that impede peoples progress, even people with degrees in middle management, realities like illness, accident, race, sex, criminal record, poverty, looks, ignorance, bad economy, and war.
    “Reality is our enemy,” Book kept saying. “Every messiah becomes a messiah by showing people a way to thwart the realities that get in their way. You show me a man who has thwarted all those realities and still became successful, and I’ll show you a man who would be a great president.”

  20. I thought John’s expansion of the definition of religion interesting as well as the observations of other contributors today, especially those of Theresa Bowers with her categorization of Trump supporters. There are many sub-categorizations within each of the four she identifies, of course, and we could cite them and go on and on with our prophecies of doom etc., but I am of the view that we have identified the drags on our economy and society as John Locke did in coming up with his social contract theory, but that Locke is dead and we are left to our own devices for reform.

    As applied to today’s topic, I think that yes, many if not most of Trump supporters are impossible to reach cultists, but that there could be as many as half of his forty percent of supporters who can be reached and rescued from his thrall. So who are they and how can we bring them back into the fold? I think working people constitute the biggest group for our rescue operations, and perhaps to the surprise of many, the much fewer but politically potent rich – and why?

    I think that with wage inequality at an all time high and a coming recession (irrespective of today’s stratospheric Dow which is increasingly unrelated to the economy real people populate) and with populist politicians with their frontal charges on capitalism as currently practiced (which 195 CEOs recently noted with their inclusion of the interests of other stakeholders in addition to shareholders in our economy), I believe that these two currently Trump-supporting groups, one large and one small but politically powerful, can be reached.

    How? With campaigns that stress to working people that they have been had, that wage inequality is far worse now than before, and accelerating; and similar stress to the rich but powerful that survival as a system which has made them rich is in danger of being chucked for an unknown ism designed to strip them of their treasures and drastically regulate their business activities. Won’t work? There are better ways to get the job done in re-introducing reality to these two groups? Fine. Whatever works, but let’s make it soon with an election less than a year away lest we have a repeat of the 2016 debacle.

  21. Yet one more view…tinged by a bit of binging Ken Burns’ “Country Music” and reflecting on my own feelings of aging.

    Regarding the former…I couldn’t help but notice how the giants of country music history had not gone to college, had many, messy marriages, a glut of drunkenness and drug addiction and yet…when fans talked about them it was “they talk like me…they sing about my life in simple words and stories…” And these singers are close to cult figures.

    And the latter…even this pretty liberal 60’s guy is astonished by every day being confronted in the “mainstream” media by images, stories, words that “back in the day” would have been considered distasteful or vulgar – especially regarding gender and sexuality. I still shudder to think that my grandkids are seeing this as normal, just as I am by my children and friends casual use of the “F word” which I grew up understanding as a semi-violent, unloving act by a man on a woman. How can women make this a part of their everyday language.

    Anyway….getting back on track…add to the above the dizzying maze of social media, the horrific rise of inequality, the decline of religiosity and one can feel….AFRAID (and if away from suburban/city life) LEFT OUT and IGNORED. And along comes someone as angry as I am who talks and acts like the folks at my bar who are LOST…wow -MY PRESIDENT, MY QUARTERBACK…

  22. For many Trump cultists, it is about the court appointments. It is the one thing we can’t undo in most cases. For them, the rest of Trump is just noise.

    I think we all can “get this,” and Democrats do not pay enough attention to the decades of this legacy Trump is leaving us…the most damaging of all.

  23. One of the many positive things the country gained from election of our finest then worst President in succession was it held a mirror up to who is inside of each of us and revealed what America still is. The diversity is staggering but the message is clear: we are still only marginally capable of democratic self government with the attendant freedom.

    Those of us willing to accept the responsibility as well as the right of freedom have much to do to maintain it.

    As were the times that created the Revolution, Civil, and World Wars, we are tested again.

    Are we capable of preserving and still deserving of freedom when freedom at all is freedom for all?

  24. At least from what I see posted on Face Book, the followers of President Agent Orange and Pastor Pence have two major issues they always push forward, Anti-Abortion and fierce resistance to any gun control.

    The Reactionary Evangelicals and Conservative Catholics constantly push their Theocracy. It is not enough they can practice their Bronze Age Mythology in their homes or churches, it must rule our society as whole.

    The GOP has been for decades a Cult, waiting for the Male Authoritarian Leader, to lash out in a loud voice or Tweet, without the slightest pretense of Civility. Domineering people view – Civility and Compassion as weaknesses to be exploited.

    Rude Rudy Giuliani is the perfect parasite.

  25. I just finished reading “Heartland” a memoir by Sarah Smarsh about growing up on a farm in very rural Kansas. Her journey of discovering how the women in her paternal and maternal lines had managed to survive in a considerably more hostile cultural environment than those existing today is somewhat enlightening about the deep-seated commitment to DT.

    Abuse, misogyny and mental illness/addiction, the complete absence of any options other than to try something else if you have the strength, mental and physical, to take a different path, were stark realities and likely still are in many places. Whoever comes along and offers a safer, more financially secure place is grasped as quickly as possible even when it means putting yourself and your kids in temporary jeopardy. It has to be better than what you are fleeing, often for your threaten physical life. Religion is a refuge that is known and used when necessary, a cultural cohesive network of momentary needs being met by those like yourself, especially women.
    Sex, romance, escape, longing for someone to love you and be love unconditionally, appear as idealized goals to the frightened, abused and neglected. Teen pregnancy is a constant with religion reinforcing the absolute adherence to cultural norms demanding that women conform to patriarchal, white male dominance. Hard work is not rewarded with anything but bare subsistence and more of the same. Those who escape are the exception, not the norm.
    When a superficially “successful”, wealthy savior offers you a better deal, regardless of the obvious evidence of corruption/self-interest, you take it, most often as the only option available.

    It was a revelatory read, in many ways that I understand from personal experience. Living a reactionary life, waiting for circumstances to happen, instead of being proactive and forcing changes explain a lot. Sometimes, the path being offered and the paths too unimaginable make choosing a crap shoot. Those who are strong enough to keep trying to escape are trapped by choices already made when no other options were available. It these cases, anything different looks better than what is reality.

  26. I’ve perused the internet, including sites that cater to people other than liberals, long enough to know there is one glue that binds a awful lot of people who call themselves “conservative” [though they are not] together: the enjoyment of sticking it to the opposition — those they call “the enemy.” They delight in discovering what is important to progressives and then opposing it on that point alone.

    Whether they believe Trump’s lies or not, whether they agree with his actions or not, whether they recognize that he has committed crimes or not, they do love sticking their thumbs in the eyes of people like you and me. IOW, he’s got the spite-vote.

  27. I wonder what the people who voted for Obama in 2008 & tRump in 2016 are thinking now. These are the voters that can be swayed to come to their senses. We’ll have to wait & see how election shakes down, to find out. Impeachment hearings are bringing hope in that it shows tRump feels he needs foreign help to win. This at least shows that there’s a possibility he could loose.

  28. Larry, Gerald, both excellent points! You call it as you see it, as do I, although more than likely it won’t do much good, LOL.

    Teresa, absolutely, Christianity or maybe I should say, those who claim to follow Christ, are responsible for much of the world’s misery. The Crusades were one, burning heretics at the stake were another, drowning practicer’s of witchcraft, or accusing those of witchcraft, was another. Those who practice true Christianity, not the Christianity of Emperor Constantine, know that they are to preach, not to judge! The intent was to be, spread the truth concerning Christ and the righteous hearted will be drawn to it. All others will abandon it.

    The speaking in tongues which started in 33 CE at the festival of firstfruits in Jerusalem, on that day of Pentecost, those were followers of Christ were touched with holy spirit to speak the tongues of all of the Jews in Jerusalem for the celebration. There were Jews and proselytes from all over the known world at the time, and they spoke many different languages. The speaking in tongues was to introduce Christ’s teachings to those who had an inclination to listen. Those individuals then, after months of study, returned to their home countries to continue the spread of the new religion of Christianity.

    In 325, at the Nicene counsel, Emperor Constantine laid the groundwork to change Christianity forever. This is not just me interjecting, this is also recognized by the Catholic Church, and it is in the Catholic encyclopedia. At the time there was no split in the church, so most Christian religions have the same belief. The church went from congregations of the disaffected poor, to a powerful ruling class, a bludgeon using murder, torture, lies, deceit, and fear of a burning eternity to keep people in line. This was Constantine’s grand plan to gird the crumbling Roman Empire.

    The church made it illegal for the common layperson to own or read the Bible, those duties were left to their priests and ministers who would read Scripture in Latin, which almost all did not understand. They would tell people that it’s a mystery, to trust in them to interpret God’s word. This idea; To keep people ignorant, and fooled into believing something that was not scriptural, therefore cementing the Roman Empire’s control by using the church. Basically it just staved off the inevitable. And the church had a history of murdering any and all who tried to translate Scripture into their native tongues, so, what we call Christianity today, is not really Christianity. It is though, a mismosh of made up untruths and pagan beliefs that completely contradict Scripture. This is no secret by any stretch of the imagination, but, most refuse to believe it.

  29. I read John Sorg’s comment whenever it appears here. He’s my favorite of those who “blog” your “blog”. The frog in the pot…DOES…remind me of tRUMP republicans. I should say …favorite aside…all your blog commenters are great….I read all of them with interest. It’s good I think …that we have healthy and concise reading alternatives to the political chaos we have at hand. It won’t last. It cannot last.

  30. All I see here are smart people being smart and thus missing the point. Maybe I know this because I came from a place where these sort of people live, but it’s really this simple: they are just that stupid.

  31. If I had a dollar for every time I hear that “I just don’t get it . . .” from someone these days, I’d be a rich woman. I don’t get it either and neither do most of the people I am acquainted with. The ones I know who still support him are a) relatives whom I have decided I can’t write out of my life because of their support; OR b) acquaintances I know through my job or cursory encounters doing everyday tasks and it is not worth it to take them on directly . One example is a 80+ year sweet little old lady who comes to the class I teach at the Y who said on Friday “I guess that ‘senseless’ stuff going on in Washington is still on the TV. It’s just SENSELESS!!” Why would I engage her in what she sees as senseless? To what end?? So, I’m with you Sheila, I just don’t get it. I hope the 60% get out there next November or we’re done as a democracy. 🙁

  32. I think Theresa and Peggy had good points and Dirk summed things up nicely. I do think that some of the money types only want Trump for a while. The banker types got their tax cuts and probably think they will hold onto some of it after the Democrats take over. Generally, businesses like stability for themselves (not their workers) and Trump is anything but stable. The “rape the land” types only want to get their destruction of our National Parks started with the belief that once the holes are dug, they will be free to continue for a while.

    Maybe I am a hopeless optimist, but I do agree with Jan – I don’t know about those polls. Most of the polls I see seem to break down the support by political party. If they sample that way, are they using a 2016 breakdown? There are less “Republicans” than in 2016 due to defection and death (there were a lot of OLD white men among Trump supporters) and the ranks of the “Democrats” have increased due to the demographic shift and the pick up of some former Republicans. Still there would remain enough Trump supports to keep wondering why.

    Along this optimistic vein, I agree with Gerald that a lot of the working class Trump supporters can be won back. I think a positive, revival of FDR type politics among the Democrats will make some inroads; I suspect that telling that they have been had would keep them in a state of denial.

    I will add one more reason to the list. Erich Fromm talked about how people were drawn toward authoritarianism because freedom is scary. “We are free now. Great – now what do we do?” That was one escape; I propose another – Escape from Noise.

    Mythical Trump supporter – “Yes, I voted for Trump. Nobody was paying attention to my needs and he pointed out that those “Elites” in Washington and New York and LA were always looking down on us. I don’t know if he was the best choice, but he really told them off and I liked how he upset them.”

    “Now? LEAVE ME ALONE! I keep hearing Russia messed with us; no it was Ukraine; no Russia. Trump did this; no he didn’t; I am tired of it all. Everybody lies and I don’t want to hear any more. Leave me alone and let me watch Survivor and American Idol. I’ll worry about voting next year and I don’t care what anyone says.”

    He isn’t listening to Fox, he just tuned out everything to avoid the noise. It isn’t that he accepts what Trump does as OK, it’s that Trump has succeeded in injecting so much extraneous noise – a new tweet whenever the headlines look bad, changing the subject. He just wants to avoid the noise and hasn’t really listened to anything new since the inauguration.

    And of course, the “main stream media” dutifully reports every tweet, dutifully asks “Well, IS there something fishy about Hunter Biden?”, and dutifully repeats that “both sides” are now extreme. I’m with my mythical Trump supporter – I want to avoid the noise — of course in my case it means a TV diet (not a news blackout) until I finish my work in electing a whole lot of Democrats to try to repair the damage that Trump continues to do every day.

  33. I say this as a (still) Reagan Republican who is a lifelong conservative. I agree with the form former national GOP chairman Michael Steele who said: “This is my damned party, and I’ll be damned if it leave it because of Donald Trump.” I agree. A political party is a collective, not an individual. Though I’m pretty embarassed by what the collective is doing today.

    I think the most accurate description of what is going on is that we have about 35% of the public that belong to a personality cult. Look at the characteristics of a cult and a cult leader. Trump and his merry band of followers fit the description to a tee. But we can’t put all the blame on Trump. The real culprits are members of the “conservative” media echo chamber. Trumpers only listen to media sources that reaffirm their own us v. them predisposition that assures them they are right in believing the other side is evil. It’s a feedback loop. For example of beliefs that have been fostered: Trumpers believe Obama is worse than Vladimar Putin. I’m not kidding. They absolutely believe that.

    I don’t know how you get Trumpers outside of their Fox News, etc. feedback loop and to consider other information. You know I always though the expansion of the media sources would give people more resources for information and they would be more informed about the issues. I was so wrong about that.

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