Trump-ism - John Samuel Tieman

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Axar.az presents an article "Trump-ism" by John Samuel Tieman.

I had lunch with old pals. That's when I developed my Unifying Theory Of Trump-ism.

My friends are baffled by Trump's followers. One buddy remarked how he is shocked that people are so angry that they just throw democracy away. Another wondered how folks can just ignore Trump's racism. A third friend is mystified at all the dissatisfaction at a time when things are going relatively well for the country. Still another has a cousin who insists that Pres. Trump won the 2020 election.

I'm reminded of the parable of the blind men and the elephant. If you haven't heard it, it goes like this. Three blind men touch an elephant in different places. One touches the elephant’s trunk and says, “An elephant is like a snake.” The second touches the leg. He says, “Elephants are like huge tree trunks.” The third, touching the side of the animal, says, “You're all wrong. An elephant is like a wall.” They are all correct. As are my pals. They are all correct as far as they go. But a clearer understanding comes from uniting the bits.

I have long wondered if there is a way to understand the whole of the Trump movement. To this end, I developed my Unifying Theory Of Trump-ism. It is necessary to bring the parts into a whole, and then envision how that enables Trump-ism. The parts are blinding anger, a studied obtuseness, and encapsulated delusions. All this enables Trump's followers to be nonrationally adversarial.

First, Trump's followers share a blinding anger. And I mean blinding, and I mean anger. There are plenty of good reasons to be angry. As just one example, take immigration. The nation has let this problem fester for decades. Sure, be angry about that. But many of Trump's followers are blind to his cruelty and their own. The Trump Administration intentionally initiated brutal immigration policies. This cruelty was purposeful. “Kids in cages” was not an accident. The policy said, “Come to this country and we'll take away your children, and send you back to without them.” Hundreds of children are still separated from their families. Trump's followers, it's worth repeating, are blind to his cruelty and their own.

Second, studied obtuseness. As I write, it is winter. Yet it is 86 degrees Fahrenheit in St. Louis, Missouri. It was 80 yesterday, and 74 the day before that. There are Trump followers who still deny climate change. That's just one example of studied obtuseness. By studied obtuseness, I mean an unwillingness to even try to understand, in this case, how human activity causes global warming. It isn't that someone is simply obtuse. Studied obtuseness takes work.

Third, encapsulated delusion. A delusion can be fixed and encapsulated. Such a delusion is impervious to reality. It often doesn't interfere with a person's day-to-day functioning, and can occur in the absence of other mental disorders. Think of your cousin, the successful banker, who has spent decades researching Elvis sightings. If you think delusions cannot be widespread, consider the Nazis who insisted that Jews were “untermensch”, subhuman. Now consider this example, critical race theory. People insist it is being taught in all our schools. A recent study found that, of the 554 school districts in Missouri, three use critical race theory. Yet Trump followers insist that it is widespread. Laws are passed about it. School board meetings have been disrupted, sometimes disrupted violently.

Some individuals experience just one of the above conditions, some two, and some may experience them all. As a group, Trump's followers express them all. These culminate in a sense of being permitted to be nonrationally adversarial.

There is nothing wrong with being adversarial. In a democratic republic, however, this adversarial stance is predicated upon the idea that such a stance is embedded within dialogue. That dialogue is framed by loyal opposition. But such dialogue and loyal opposition are themselves embedded in a constitution born of the Enlightenment, the Age Of Reason. The hatred of Trump's followers is many things, but rational is not one of them. Trump's followers are adversarial, but Trump does not enable them with an enlightened or reasoned rationale. Immediately after Pres. Trump was elected, on TV this guy said, “We finally got a seat at the table.” The guy was a neo-Nazi. Since Pres. Trump came into office, anti-Semitic violence has reached all-time highs.

Blinding anger, a studied obtuseness, plus encapsulated delusions, all this enabling Trump's followers to be nonrationally adversarial – that's my Unifying Theory Of Trump-ism.

2024.03.18 / 09:54
See also

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Schools and Number Trouble - John Samuel Tieman

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Why I hate Trump - John Samuel Tieman

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