Poor Trumpists. The corruption seeping from the White House like a plague is so labyrinthine it’s almost impossible to assimilate, much less ignore.
Thus the cheering as Trump gets ever more obscene and unpresidential at his rallies; nasty, conspiratorial, pushing lies, spewing poison. It’s easier to buy the Biden/Biden fables than to consider the millions Trump’s spawn are raking in, or how foreign governments’ grease Trump’s palm via his properties. Easier to cheer his words about Joe “kissing Obama’s ass” than contemplate his hiring only sycophants willing to befoul the independence of important cabinet departments. To overlook the flagitious stink rising from the White House, smelling like Ukrainian natural gas. That’s what rallies are for.
Do you suppose, on their way home, pumped full of hate for Ilhan Omar, ralliers discussed the timing of the Putin/Erdogan/Rouhani meeting and Trump’s subsequent abandonment of the Kurds? Did they note how it gifted the region to that tyrannical trio, or worry about future implications as the U.S. forsakes the most reliable fighters against ISIS? Are they reflecting on Russian and Syrian troops moving in? Did they wonder how Trump’s gaudy towers in Turkey played into it? Or what Putin must have on Trump?
If they swallowed the lie that Obama “cut and ran” from Iraq (following a schedule negotiated by Bush), is it hard to excuse pulling out of Syria; an announcement made by Trump without discussing it with “my generals,” then flipping again? Does it strike them as “great and unmatched wisdom?” What will they say as not-actually-defeated ISIS regains strength? Have they noticed the subsequent gloating about American unreliability on Russian TV? Has Trump?
After a couple hours of chanting “Lock him up,” were those rapturous attendees disturbed that, abandoned by Trump despite being steadfast allies, Kurds struck a desperate protection deal with the unleashed Assad, worst of the worst? How, one wonders, do they feel about the U.S. joining Russia as the only countries refusing to support a resolution condemning Erdogan’s invasion? Are they puzzled that Trump’s so-far ineffective “sanctions” exclude Erdogan himself? Did they love Trump’s bizarre, made for TV, faux tough-guy letter to him? Of course they did.
Was the escape of ISIS prisoners a topic that followed their enthusiasms? Was there mention of the sixty “high-value” ISIS captives that U.S. forces had to leave behind because of Trump’s precipitous, short-sighted directive? Or the fifty tactical nukes now in Turkish hands?
After cheering Trump’s promise to “destroy socialism” (Medicare, the VA, Social Security, the Post Office, police, oil and farm subsidies, parks?), did they spend time contemplating Rudy Giuliani’s Soviet-born henchman pressuring the firing of our ambassador to Ukraine as she investigated their corruption, versus the false claims of Biden’s? Did they question the relationship between Trump’s recalling the person probing Ukrainian crimes and Biden advocating the firing of one who wasn’t? Did anyone in the back seat raise the possibility they’re being played for fools?
Might Trumpists find it troubling that a day after Attorney 2nd Lt. Barr met with Rupert Murdoch the only truth-teller at Fox “news,” Shep Smith, was gone? Does it bother them that the aforementioned official, theoretically the chief legal advocate for all Americans, has instead become a globetrotting go-fer? Of course not.
Do Trump’s lie-filled, virulent, divisive rallies provide enough primal pleasure to brush away concerns about a “president” claiming the Constitution doesn’t apply to him? And meaning it? And invertebrate Republican legislators agreeing? Do they sense hypocrisy when submissive Lindsey Graham, prosecutor of Clinton’s impeachment, says even starting an inquiry is an attempted coup? Do they think only Democrats like Susan McDougal should be jailed for ignoring Congressional subpoenas? Will they ever have enough of Trump’s lies? Again: of course not. (CNN: tinyurl.com/2lie2many)
Did they get a secret chuckle from this contemptible thing, whatever the source? (Washington Post: tinyurl.com/2kill4trump)
Residue Trumpists are a definitional cult. Victims of human susceptibility to false prophets, blind to the dangers, tribal, they love him like a god. For so-inclined Americans, it’s nothing new: Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, David Koresh, Jim Jones, Charles Manson, Marshall Applewhite. Perhaps proto-humans benefitted from shedding individuality in total submission to an authoritarian leader; today, survival of more-evolved primates depends on the opposite. Once cult-ivated, though, independent thought becomes impossible. Their deceivers know what strings to pull.
Outside the cult, Trump’s autocratic madness and corruption are obvious. Because today’s poison works more slowly than Jonestown’s, there’s still time to put down the cup, but that’s not how cults work. Unfortunately, with Trump’s, it’s not just their own survival at stake.
Email Sid Schwab at firstname.lastname@example.org.