For the last 50-plus years, the conservative movement has been busily working on developing just the right conditions that’ve led to the rise of, first, Dan Quayle, then George W. Bush, then Sarah Palin, and now, Donald Trump. The two-pronged approach they’ve taken has been to undermine the traditional press by creating an entertainment network called Fox News, all the while making sure new generations of Americans are almost entirely uneducated about government and politics by cutting public school budgets and rewriting text books.
This plan has finally come home roost in perhaps the most devastating ways possible, so much so that noticeable segments of the conservative movement agree they’ve accidentally created a monster. Trump.
But this crisis we’re facing is far worse than Trump alone.
Before we dig into that, let’s review a story from Bob Woodward’s bombshell new volume, Fear: Trump In The White House.
According to Woodward, the president was being briefed by his former economic adviser, Gary Cohn, on the World Trade Organization. Actually, it wasn’t so much a briefing but a classroom learning moment for the Trump. During the lesson on the WTO, Trump spoke up and told Cohn, “The WTO is the worst organization ever created.”
Trump continued by ranting about how the United States always loses its legal cases before the organization. Cohn, of course, corrected the president and told him the truth, which is that the U.S. wins 85.7 percent of its cases. So, predictably, Trump refused to accept the word of his own advisers and instead bought into a line of bullshit he likely heard on Fox News Channel.
The book is filled with anecdote after horrifying anecdote in which the president, despite having an enormous bureaucracy at his disposal, almost routinely believes Steve Doocy and Sean Hannity over his so-called “best people.” How many times have other members of the administration contravened Trump’s Twitter tantrums, whether about Russia sanctions or transgender soldiers and all points in between?
The president, and many of our own friends and relatives, has been brainwashed by Fox News and AM talk radio. The real crisis facing the United States and, by proxy, the world is the fact that tens of millions of Americans are just as defiantly ignorant and as stubbornly misinformed as Donald Trump — suspicious of expertise and buying the word of an entertainment network over actual hard news.
Tens of millions of Americans are so dedicated to their support for a man who, for 30 years, has been well-documented as dishonest, disloyal, racist, erratic and corrupt, that they refuse to accept physical, objective reality. We’ve said this about certain diehards for many years now, especially the automatons who blindly follow carnies like Alex Jones, but it bears repeating: no amount of evidence you collect from first hand sources or reputable news agencies will ever harsh their mellow for the cartoon dictator in the Oval Office. Nothing.
Those of us who’ve tried to do it, myself included, are not unlike Gary Cohn (minus the Goldman-Sachs fortune) trying to educate people who don’t want to be educated by anyone except Tomi Lahren and Brian Kilmeade, both of whom are likely suffering from brain worms. No matter what you say or what facts you present, it will always be met with crossed arms and a puckered mouth — soon to be counterpointed by fiction pulled from Laura Ingraham’s show while dismissing your facts as “fake news.”
Tens of millions of Americans.
How can we possibly expect to proceed as a nation, based on realpolitik, facts, math, science, and the expertise of merely thousands? With a voting bloc of that size, so inextricably married to its willful distrust of factual reality, and with so many of these people running the show in certain states and municipalities, we can surely count on further disasters. Disasters perhaps not on the scale of Trump — hopefully not — but we can surely count on the fact that large swaths of the nation will exist under laws not based on facts, fairness and justice, but based on utter gibberish.
Not too long ago, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby and against the Affordable Care Act’s morning-after contraception coverage mandate. The Court erroneously believed that the morning-after pills covered in the law are, in fact, abortion-inducing even though science and the AMA have determined they’re not. Indeed, the Hyde Amendment bans federal funding for abortions. Yet the pills covered in the law merely prevent the fertilization of ovum, not the implantation of a fertilized egg upon the interior lining of the uterus. No fertilization means no embryo which means no conception which means no abortion. But the Court didn’t see it that way — again, in total defiance of the facts.
This will happen again and again because way too many of the people around us are just as deluded as their leaders. Speaking of which, the great George Carlin once scolded us for complaining about how much our politicians suck.
Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don’t fall out of the sky. They don’t pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens. This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. It’s what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you’re going to get selfish, ignorant leaders.
No wonder Trump won.
Making matters worse, Russia is actively exploiting this gaping vulnerability, seizing on the mass ignorance and diseducation of too many Americans, flooding the zone with propaganda that’s devoured by nearly every target.
What this means, in the end, is we can expect more doofs and would-be dictators to rise up from this ocean of stupid people. The question remains whether we can apply new strictures to the presidency to make sure none of the spawn of this conservative fuckery will make it to the White House ever again. There’s really nothing more important.