You’ll need a little context to get your bearings. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice extraordinaire, died a couple of day ago. It’s September 21, 2020. In about six weeks, the US will have a presidential election. On the ballot, we have insanity versus sanity. We have fascism versus ho-hum normalcy.
I don’t get those who are undecided, who haven’t yet figured out that American democracy hangs in the balance. Being undecided at this point is like having two plates put down on the table in front of you. On one, the one on the left, there is a hamburger. It looks pretty good. Hamburgers may not be your favorite, but you’ve had them and they’re generally not bad, especially if they’ve got both mustard and mayonnaise and maybe a jalapeno slice or two. On the other, there is a pile of dog shit that hasn’t aged very well. You gag a little and pinch your nostrils closed because it’s less than an arm’s length away. The undecided person sits looking at both plates and thinks, “Gosh, I’m not for sure. I might have to end up flipping a coin.”
Pardon me if I sound a mite sarcastic and snarky. I’m feeling somewhat sarcastic and snarky. If these two things haven’t taken total possession of you yet, you probably need to wake up because you’ve been napping.
I’ve got a million reasons to hate Trump and Trumpism. It would take me two months to simply list out all my grievances here. But I’d have to put one at the top of the list. It’s that Trump, his followers, and his movement are a boisterous celebration of willful ignorance. They will totally believe nonsense even if they know that it’s nonsense. In fact, the more obviously nonsensical the belief—the more transparently false and irrational—the more proudly they cling to it and proclaim its truth. It’s like they want everyone to know that, by God, they are stupid and proud of it too. In the old days, in the days before this weirdness took hold here, people tried to hide the fact that they were stupid. If, by chance, they said something that was utterly dumb, they might get embarrassed and blush. The first principle of Trumpism is that saying stupid shit is cool, that public demonstrations of not knowing anything is enlightenment. That even if one gets caught saying really questionable stuff and there’s taped evidence to prove it, that it didn’t really happen if the right person says it didn’t. Just trying to describe how Trumpism works is hard as hell because it requires me to contemplate the possibility that words no longer have meaning as well as confront the potentiality that aliens have long been here, living among us and developing their own way of understanding and representing reality.
What does any of this mean? How is a thinking person supposed to live in such a world?