Saturday, May 29, 2021

Herd Immunity From the Truth

     I honestly don't remember America, my native country, being this polarized and crazy. And I grew up in the 60s, the decade of Vietnam, the civil rights movement, the Kennedy assassinations and psychedelic drugs.
     I don't recognize it.
     Yeah, some things have changed in a nation's inevitable cultural ebb and flow. I was born into a country in which doctors still made house calls, mail was delivered twice a day and there were milkmen and diaper delivery drivers. Since my childhood and adolescence, all these things and more have all but disappeared. Single bread winners. Pensions. Drive in theaters, waitresses on roller skates. Roller skating rinks.
     You have to expect that life's not going to remain static. Republicans obviously have a problem understanding that.
     But Republicans didn't contest election results in my childhood. Sure, there was political partisanship. There always has been since the Continental Congresses in the 1770s. But partisanship before now wasn't entirely dependent on filing for divorce from reality.
     Five days ago, over four months into the new Biden administration that's been calling the shots and literally getting those shots in arms and stimulus checks into bank accounts, Reuters and IPSOS conducted a poll of 2007 Americans across the country. The results showed something frightening: Well over six months after the election, 53% of Republican voters still believe Trump is the president.
     For a country that's famously hostile and suspicious of politicians, learning that a full quarter of the country doesn't accept the legitimacy of the 46th president, one doesn't have to look very hard to see from which all the head-shaking, denials and nay-saying are originating. And it's coming from lunatics like Trump, who still can't believe he actually lost something whose sole value, obviously, was in the legal immunity it gave him. That's the only thing about the presidency he misses. That and the Diet Coke button on the Resolute Desk.
     It's coming from lunatics like unindicted child molester and whore monger Matt Gaetz and a congresswoman so toxic she was kicked off both her committee assignments. These moral quadriplegics like Gaetz and Taylor-Greene get to call the shots and dictate the terms of reality without any pushback whatsoever from their party.
     I guess we should have seen this coming. For decades now, we've been hearing all sorts of bullshit from climate change and global warming deniers, Holocaust deniers, Flat Earthers and Birthers and now, anti-vaxxers and pandemic deniers.
     So sure, why not call into perpetual question the results of a free and fair election that was pronounced by Cris Krebs to be "the most secure election in US history"? Just because you can't actually see or smell the smoke, it doesn't mean the smoke ain't there, right? Otherwise. why would they be looking so hard in Maricopa County, AZ?
     The problem, of course, is that there isn't any smoke because there's no fire. But what does that matter to people who think that they can indefinitely live in a world in which facts and the truth are optional?
     As I'd written in a recent article, we've seen one of the strangest inversions in American political history: We had a presidential candidate running on a major party ticket who'd run on a populist platform and pretended to make their grievances his. Nothing unusual about that. But now those same supporters are assuming the burden of his very real, if illegitimate, grievances. The fact that he didn't issue a single pardon to any of the hundreds of psychopaths he'd directed to the Capitol January 6th hasn't made a dent in their cast-iron belief the 2020 election was rigged. And a massive proportion of our elected officials are happily feeding that toxic narrative to their constituents.
     We got through the Dark Ages almost completely fact-free. Despite the denialists in our midst, we should get into the 22nd century. But from this vantage point, I don't see how that's going to happen.


At May 31, 2021 at 3:18 AM, Anonymous CC said...

I'd like to see doctors make house calls again.


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