Thursday, December 10, 2020
They've Gone Coup-Coup
Science confirms consistent neurophysiological and psychological differences between conservatives and liberals. How they react to threats. Their reliance on the observable and their response to presented facts. Evolutionary biologists have theories, but it’s intuitive that, in addition to rationalists, primitive societies benefitted from people who don’t need no damn proof to react to perceived threats. Noises. Shadows. Gut feelings. It could avoid becoming a meal.
Who knows why such brains remain in circulation? Individuals are safer now. More often than not, there’s time to think, evaluate. Threats from saber-tooth tigers (or, if you believe certain preachers, dinosaurs) are uncommon. Yet, having out-survived their benefit to society, such paranoid, no-need-for-facts people persist. Mysteriously, these evolutionary throwbacks appear to reside mostly in today’s retro-exceptional United States, and only in one political party.
A few days ago, reporters asked every Republican member of Congress who won the election. Eighty-eight-percent of them refused to say. Two declared it was Trump. (One of them, Rep. Gosar of AZ, is so awful his own family urged voters to reject him.) Of 251, only 27 were willing to say it was Joe Biden; Putin-adjacent Trump demanded their names. For what purpose, one wonders. Met with what level of Republican silence? A clue: Moscow Mitch just quashed a motion authorizing the inaugural committee to acknowledge it’ll be Biden and Harris.
Except for being indescribably dangerous, it’d be hilarious. Gaseous Rudy. Long-time Trump buddy and undeserving commutee, Roger Stone, claiming North Korea brought boatloads of fake ballots into the US via harbors in Maine. Around the Horn? Through the Canal? Seems logical. Same with believing votes for Biden were switched or faked, but not for down-ballot Democrats. McConnell, Graham, and Collins won. End of conspiracy.
“I’ve probably worked harder in the last three weeks than I ever have in my life,” whined Trump at a recent anti-democracy rally. He was referring to trying to nullify his resounding defeat, not to fighting the resurgent virus. “Working harder than ever.” Some jokes write themselves.
But it’s not funny, is it? A mob of armed Trumpists surrounded the home of Michigan’s Secretary of State, shouting threats and obscenities while she was inside, decorating for Christmas with her four-year-old son. “Stop the steal,” they chanted, convinced by … what? Zero evidence. Multiple recounts, investigations, fifty rejected lawsuits including, thankfully, without dissent, by the Supreme Court. Having confirmed their elections were secure, officials are fearing for their lives. But Trump says it, they believe it, that settles it. His second coming was an article of faith. The analogy is obvious.
It’s like the approaching, not-for-eight-hundred-years convergence of Saturn and Neptune, but perverse: years in the making, “conservative” denialism now converges both upon democracy and the lives of many thousands more from the virus. Is this what Gingrich and similars had in mind when they chose endumbification as their path to permanence?
Our founders feared it: millions of rabid, mis-educated Americans, convinced of fraud despite mountains of bipartisan refutation. Certain enough to destroy the Republic over it. Exhorting others to die for a lie (in our history, there’s precedent). Literally.
For everyone’s sake, even delusional Trumpists, whose future is equally threatened whether they recognize it or not, this must stop. After decades in the euphoric fog of fiction mainlined from rightwing media pushers, to which millions have now, as intended, become addicted, can it? From armed, bulging-vein threats, to states suing each other, to legislators willing to disenfranchise their own citizens, this spectacle of sedition was a long time coming. It feels too late to put the genie back in the toothpaste.
Plus, Trump-inspired, demented animus is a money-maker. Their malicious mendacity has made Hannity, Carlson, Limbaugh, et. al., very rich. From his compliant cultists, Trump is raking in millions. Republican leaders who remain cravenly silent are complicit in what amounts to a coup against constitutional governance. They’re already doing everything they can to delegitimize Biden’s presidency and his efforts to restore comity. Since the election, Trumpist Republicans’ disdain for democracy is undisguised. And incompatible with functioning government. Ahead of their January runoff, Georgian leaders are further reducing polling places in minority precincts.
With their terror campaign against honest state officials and continued efforts to reverse the election, Trumpublicans threaten the rule of law far more than a few misguided equality demonstrators breaking windows. Anti-democracy, anti-masks, and a poisonous, autocratic “president.” That’s “conservatism” today.
Maybe sanity will return if enough actual conservatives, seeing their party’s descent into insurrectionist lunacy, say “enough.” And there’s the problem: they’ve already had plenty of time.
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