May 7th 2019
It’s a bit strange right now, comparing the headlines in the news with the general calm in the population at large. Trump and the Republicans are actively staging a coup against the United States, and seemingly inviting a revolt with their open sneers at the Constitution and rule of law.
But for now, people are just going about their business, outside of the cable stations and general media. Folks watched Game of Thrones the other night, and if they drew any correlations between Cersei and Trump, they didn’t speak of it. John Oliver did discuss what he calls “Stupid Watergate,” but the balance of his show was on the topic of lethal injections.
Some people are watching closely, of course. Even a majority of Americans are watching now. In the cesspools of Faux News, the viewers and readers are being assured that this is a plot against the wildly successful, patriotic and deeply Christian Donald Trump by Democrats seeking revenge for the Clinton impeachment or something. They have succeeded in making their audience so self-isolated that they can tell them anything, no matter how objectively ridiculous it is.
Just to show how insular and divorced from the mainstream this Republican cult really is, a fellow named James McDaniel set up a fake ‘right wing news’ website that featured stories of Hillary Clinton sacrificing children and Barack Obama running a secret coup from an underground bunker in Washington DC. He then promoted the site on actual right wing sites, mostly by forwarding his fake news stories.
In just two weeks, his site received a million unique visits, and hundreds of thousands of likes and shares. He said, “If I wrote about CNN being fake news and connected to ISIS, readers would agree wholeheartedly with my fabricated article. If I wrote about a black liberal or Obama supposedly saying something controversial, the response was unbridled racism and hatred. When I wrote about Hillary Clinton’s new emails that proved she was a child sacrificing maniac, people screamed for her head.”
Alarmed by the type of response he was getting, he posted a message saying everything on the site was fake, and added a disclaimer to every news story. Didn’t help. He wound up parking the page because right wingers kept right on believing the fake news stories.
So it’s not surprising that about 35% of the population has been brainwashed into supporting what amounts to open treason against the United States. But what’s going on with the rest of America?
In light of the Mueller report, in which the redacted version shows such a vast array of criminality and corruption on the part of Trump that over 700 federal prosecutors have signed a document stating that the evidence was so compelling that anyone who was not a sitting president would be facing multiple indictments right now, his popularity has actually improved somewhat, from a -16 on the aggregate polls in late January to a -10 now. Fully 78% of Republican voters believe the Mueller Report cleared Trump of any wrongdoing. Pfft! What do 700 federal prosecutors know, anyway?
Part of this response, ironically, is a tendency of people to ‘rally round the flag’; the thinking, if that’s the word for it, is that our president is under attack, and we must forget our partisan differences and defend the country. If you think that it requires a stunning level of ignorance to achieve that mindset, you are in a minority; relatively few Americans know who William Barr is, or even Mitch McConnell. These vaguely ‘support the President’ sorts take pride in “not paying attention to that political stuff” so all they know, in a dim sort of way, is that Congress and the President are having some sort of tiff, and it’s along party lines. They know who Trump is, but Jerry Nadler is just some Democratic politician they never heard of, so they side with Trump. And they are lacking the intellectual and educational tools needed to understand just how serious Trump’s defiance of the Constitution is, and how grave the consequences for them might be if he should succeed in his drive to become a dictator.
That still leaves over half the voting population of the US unaccounted for. And one of the strangest things about the coverage of all this is the utter lack of attention to what the voting public thinks about all this. Outside of the right wing sewers, media response is all but unanimous and vociferous: rule of law must be upheld, Trump must be held to account. But you can search the web in vain for reports of any outcry amongst the public. The aggregate polling sites ask if people think Mueller ‘cleared’ Trump or not, but not how the feel about what is going on. Activists sites such as MoveOn are rabid about the contempt Trump is showing for America, but not discussing actions outside of the power of the subpoena.
It’s perplexing. In just about any other country, a situation like this would result in massive rallies in every city, and talk of general strikes. Hotheads would be discussing revolution, and broadcasters would be urging calm.
Let me be clear: nobody sane wants a revolution, and I’m talking about rallies, not riots. (I don’t trust the right not to stage riots, either on their own behalf or provoking riots at rallies just for purposes of ratfucking the rest of us). But the country is in a very clear and immediate danger, and if Trump wins this, the only likely outcomes will read like the plotline from Game of Thrones. We can either move peacefully now and help save America from Trump and the Republicans, or face far less palatable options later on.
Why the ongoing silence?