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      I woke up last night feeling like I was suffocating, because in my dream I was. It began in a church, or an old university lecture hall. Antique. And everyone in attendance was being asked to say little prayers honoring Jesus. Everyone was reciting little prayers that are common among the devout. But when it was my turn, I stood and exclaimed: Jesus was a ph […]
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Donald Trump and His Followers, Finally Unmasked?

So we find out that President Trump was literally a madman, the most dangerous one on the planet. We always sensed it; one does not have to be an expert psychologist to have done so. Incoherent ramblings, the absolute incapacity to tell the truth; the fury, the bellicose rhetoric, calling people names. Some of these characteristics are worse than others, but all are bad, particularly in the person who is in control of the country. And we all knew it years ago, at least as far back as 2015; and for others close to him, far back into his past.

The crucial point is, how did this person get anywhere close to the presidency? In past eras, the party system weeded them out. We had bad candidates, and some bad people, but not a raving lunatic. So how did this happen?

Well, there could be a ten-volume series about this. But to try to crystallize it, it is because of the almost total devolution of the Republican Party, a process which was always in progress, but really accelerated about the time of Gingrich, DeLay and Armey in the 1990’s and 2000’s, and then the Tea Party in 2010 and beyond. The Republicans turned into a party of anger, bellicosity, trying to win at all costs,; bringing down the hammer on Democrats, never ceding an inch to them. Cheating in elections, trying to stop people from voting, demanding that the right to abortion be taken away. Networks which preached, and tried to convert others to, a doctrine of racism, contempt for the disadvantaged, stealing money from anyone they could; lying at all turns, threatening in all contexts; buying a new gun any time they felt upset or impotent, and not caring how many people got shot by their gun-hoarding disciples.

Do you notice how many Republicans in office, not to mention those on the radio or TV shows, local or national, are full of absolute anger, and appear ready to strike or even kill anyone who disagrees with them? Remember Greg Gianforte, running for Congress in Montana, body-slamming a reporter? Paul Lepage of Maine screaming obscenities at the press? Corey Lewandowski accused of battery for grabbing a female reporter and bruising her? I am sure that there are other examples. Republicans, mostly men, of course, out of control, physically assaulting people they disagree with, or who bother them.

How are so many of these people not only Republicans, but actual officeholders representing that party? One assumes it is because their voters do not care a bit, and that they revel in these people doing what they would like to do to people they do not like, or who infuriate them by passing laws, they are taught not to want, or requiring adherence to health and safety rules.

How many people trying to enforce rules about masks have been shot and even killed by Republicans who not only cannot accept anyone having different views than they have. but actually want to murder them? Although they would not call it murder, they would call it standing up for their rights, or the pursuit of liberty. These seem to be people with an urge to kill. All those “stand your ground laws” which proliferated in various states, were essentially a license to do what these people wanted, which is to kill anyone who annoys them in some fashion.

This all didn’t just come out of nowhere. Donald Trump didn’t create these people, they were already there. They loved him, and still do, because he talks the way they like to talk, and gives them license to kill people at political events and marches, try to assassinate the governor of Michigan, storm the Capitol Building with weapons intended to kill political leaders of the other party. Trump praises them, says he loves them. This is what they have been looking for all their lives, someone who understands and encourages them to hate and attack, and even kill. That is why they veritably worship him, as the brownshirts worshipped Hitler.

Now Trump is not really one of them. He has contempt for them, as he has contempt for almost anyone who is not extremely wealthy, or who can pour money into his coffers. But he will use them as his weapons, and also to fill the absolute void at his center. Brutal strong men have always had followers who would kill for them What the followers get out of it, is a sense of purpose, of thinking they are being praised and even loved by the leader, who has chosen them above all the other people that they hate and feel inferior to. It is a perverse symbiotic relationship which recurs in various eras and cultures. It is really nothing new, but the human race should have progressed past it, but obviously cannot. Tyrants offer their followers escape from freedom, from having to make choices, or achieve something in their life. Freedom from what the 19th century sociologist Emile Durkheim called “anomie,” a sense of not belonging, an alienation and rootlessness.

Trump has not one admirable or even creditable characteristic. He has no friends, he never did. He welshes on all debts. He tries to ruin the lives of other people for fun. He is utterly sociopathic. He is also very stupid, but with the cunning to be able to cheat and con people who are as stupid as he is. So they all fit well together.

And then the people who should have been able to have stopped him, did not. These are the Republicans, many holding high office. Some of them ran against him, but quickly fell over themselves to support him, This is because, since all Republicans have devolved to only care about gaining more money and power, Trump was welcomed as someone who could give it to them. And they feared his mob of followers, who would vote against anyone who would not fall in line. And almost none of them possessed the courage or decency to stand up and tell the people how absolutely dangerous Trump was and is.

And we saw the kind of slavish obedience which we imagined existed in the days of ancient empires. Anything Trump did, they defended, said it was nothing, or that he would learn from his mistakes. They have evinced levels of cravenness and obsequiousness that one could scarcely imagine. I don’t even know what goes through their heads, how they rationalize it.

Marco Rubio, who is about as pathetic a political person as one could imagine, the kind of person you might see in a social drama movie, obediently trotting along behind the bad boy whom he so desperately wants to be like, actually wanted to blame General Milley for perhaps trying to stop Trump from starting a world war which would wipe out most of the human race. Were Hitler’s enablers in Germany any different than Rubio? Does he not care about killing billions of people? If Rubio were in Nazi Germany, he would eagerly turn on the gas in the camps, and then say that he was just following orders. And yet people in Florida keep voting for him, because they have been taught to hate liberals more than Nazis. Some think Rubio is sort of pathetically amusing. I think he is horrifying. And he is not the only one.

And all those people in Trump’s Cabinet, why did they not stand up to him, when he was trying to extort world leaders, trying to overturn the results of he election, goading his mob to kill Democratic officials; and, if we are to believe the book by Woodward and Costa, attempting to attack China, possibly with nuclear weapons, so that he could stay in power as a dictator, undoubtedly living in some bunker below. Or maybe he just wanted to have his own cataclysm, his final Eff You to the world, blowing up everything around him. Insane men sometimes kill the rest of their family before committing suicide, or go to a public event with assault weapons, and try to kill as many people as they can before their suicide by cop. Was that what Trump was about to do? And now the insane patriarch who runs Fox News tells his underlings to call Milley a traitor for not letting Trump blow up the world? What kind of science fiction horror movie have we entered into?

And where has the media been in all of this? Covering the endless “horse race?” Reveling in the access which Trump would dole out to the ones who would parrot what he told them, and what they proudly would call “a source close to the President”? Feeling so important that Trump chose them to talk to? Doing their frat boy and sorority girl thing of mocking Hilary, writing inanities like “Hillary the Hawk, Trump the Dove,” or “Trump is wicked, but he’s wicked smart,” and then gleefully following Hillary around to laugh at her some more?

All a fun game, where they get to feel important, too? Their bosses telling them not to call Trump a liar, to try to always make it a “both sides” narrative? Where was their courage? Why did almost none of them speak or write forcefully when it mattered? Is everyone’s career and gratuities, and the illusion of being a big man or woman, so overwhelmingly important, that they would sell their soul and the lives of their fellow Americans for it? Is Trump’s utter contempt for everyone, his mafia-styled belief that everyone is corrupt and stupid and has a price, actually well founded?

The way out of this, if there is one, is to realize how dreadful the Republican leaders are, and that Democrats cannot trust them on anything, much less protecting the health and welfare of American citizens, or even those anywhere in the world. Trump may never run again, or maybe he will, and maybe the Republicans will eagerly support him again. But even if he doesn’t, how much better are Abbott and DeSantis and Kevin McCarthy and Pence and Cruz and Hawley and the others? Not very much. They may not be clinically insane like Trump, but most of them are sociopaths, cruel and angry people who want total power to force everyone else to submit to them.

This is what the Republicans now “offer” to the citizens of this country. Trump was a horrible manifestation of it, but we cannot be foolish enough to think that he and the Republican Party are not both exemplifications of each other Will enough people finally wake up to the reality of what Trump always was, and is? And that what Hillary and Nancy Pelosi and Tim O’Brien, and David.Cay Johnston and Mary Trump always said about him, was the real truth, and maybe worse than even they had imagined? If not now, at last, then never. In most of the great novels, the progress is ultimately toward the light, towards insight and realization and epiphany. It is long past time for it, with regard to the truth about Trump and his enablers.