I’ve read countless articles in media and written by non-journalists the past four years on the subject of how someone could vote for such a vile person as Trump. Indeed, that is what all of the sane world has been wondering.
Are Trump supporters just all terrible people, are they all racist, are they all hate-filled people, do they just want to hurt their fellow Americans out of some kind of misdirected rage, are they just a combination of extremely gullible and extremely stupid, are they totally brainwashed, are they in favor of massive corruption and criminality and lawlessness in government, do they not support the constitution and our system of laws, do they not believe in Democracy, do they hate America?
If you only love your country’s greatest errors, greatest flaws, greatest failures, do you really love your country?
All valid questions. And of course each of those things is involved in the makeup of a Trump supporter. And to be clear, I’m only talking about people who still support Trump, not those gullible people who voted for him in 2016 and soon realized the huge mistake they made. No doubt a Trump supporter would say none of the above things are true and would very likely project all those things back on anyone who doesn’t support Trump. But that’s the thing about members of a cult — they think they are the chosen ones and they alone see the truth while everyone else is being lied to, which is of course ironic because lies are the only thing that keep a cult together, and that is true of the cult of Trump as it is of any other cult.
Radicalization of Republicans
I’ll admit, I go back and forth on my view of Trump supporters. When I am feeling especially generous I’ll say only some of them are awful hateful people who want terrible things for America, while most of them are just gullible brainwashed people who do want good things for America but they’ve grown up or fallen into only listening to extremist right wing “news” sources that have radicalized them and rotted their minds and literally convince them good things are bad and bad things are good.
Everything is doublespeak to a Trump supporter.
People devoted to Fox News and right wing talk radio or other more fringe right wing propaganda sources are brainwashed and become addicts of hate. Many of them are just unfortunate lost souls. Like the proverbial frog in a pot of boiling water — their minds and critical thinking abilities when it comes to anything they are told is related to politics were slowly boiled away over the years as right wing media sources kept them in a pot of lies and hate-filled rants that got more and more extreme and intense until we reach today when they are rabidly proud and supporting of a self-serving narcissist who has no love for American values, the American people, democracy, or our laws. Trump supporters are the face of radicalization in America. They are made to hate others and have an unquenchable desire to oppress them.
America is not hate
America has been in a 200+ year struggle to become what its founders wrote and believed it was on its founding. A nation of laws that apply equally to all, a nation of immigrants of all backgrounds, a nation of equal rights, a nation that separates church and state, a nation in which compromise is supposed to lead to good governance, a nation without a king but a president beholden to laws and held accountable by government, a liberal democracy that aims to lead the world to a more just and moral and prosperous future.
That is not the nation modern day conservatives want. They believe there are two Americas: a right wing ideologically, demographically, and religiously pure America, and an enemy America of everyone else. They despise immigration as long as those immigrants aren’t white and Christian or at the very least don’t support their own political agenda. They despise when the law is applied equally to their own, but relish when it is applied unequally to anyone else. They believe America should be a religious order rather than have a secular government tolerant of all religions. They believe government is inherently distrustful and corrupt and should be extremely limited when their own are not in charge, but any and all corruption, lies, criminality, lawlessness, cruelty, poor judgement, immorality, and tyranny is warranted and celebrated when their own is in control and they call all these things freedom. Rather than be upset at elections that go against them, they actually believe democracy is bad and undesirable when it favors those with different ideas, and is only good when it favors the ideas they support. They proudly hate American values while in the same breath claiming they love America itself.
They have contorted their minds to believe that America is not a blueprint for freedom and prosperity for all, but rather that America is an idea to codify how tyranny can create freedom and prosperity for themselves. Which would make America no different than every oppressive government or power that has ever existed. Trump supporters have couched un-Americanism in the patriotic slogans of American pride.
Everything is doublespeak to a Trump supporter. In Trump world failure is winning, weakness is strength, authoritarianism is democracy, laws are feelings to only be applied to those they disagree with, lies are truth, cruelty is justice, incompetence is just good instincts, laziness is hard work, hate speech is free speech, peaceful protest is violence, police brutality is law, gun murder is liberty, and endangering others is freedom.
Trump supporters tell themselves and others they love America, but what they love are America’s greatest failures. They love a treasonous seceding South that fought AGAINST America and for the institution of slavery — they call this heritage. They love the idea of a woman not being able to make her own medical and family decisions and instead having to defer to the opinions of old white male politicians — they call this pro-life. They love a legal institution of love and commitment that bans certain people from engaging in it — they call this protecting their family. They love a white-only and Christian-only society — they call this safe and moral. They love when law enforcement applies “protect and serve” to one skin color but terrorizes all others — they call this justice. Above all else, as we have seen these past four years, they love when lawlessness and corruption and tyranny bring their goals closer — they call this freedom.
They call this America. That is not America. If you only love your country’s greatest errors, greatest flaws, greatest failures, do you really love your country? Or is that just the story you tell yourself to sleep at night? Or rather, the story that others tell you so you keep them in power.