HOW ALT.REALITIY BECOMES REAL.REALITY
ALL IT TAKES IS A WILLING BELIEVER AND NOW WE HAVE ONE
So my liberal ideals do not spring from some academic readings of Marx nor indoctrination at a liberal university nor was I raised in a liberal family. In fact, my upstate New York working class mother and father were not all that liberal and most likely voted Republican all of their lives, although I have no way of verifying this now. So when Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones and Donald Trump rail against the liberal elite, the liberal effetes, I think “that’s not me.” Although their rants about how we liberals have destroyed America cut me to the core.
But I was thinking this morning about all the anti-Fascist placards on display at the 3 million strong Women’s March against Trump and how the alt.right world simply derides such rhetoric as so much “bad feelings” and “sour grapes” because we lost the election and they won. Such Fascist rhetoric has accompanied the Trump campaign since day one, but is it real? Is it overblown? Is it just smoke up your ass?
Maybe. But thinking back to yesterday’s Trump performance while visiting CIA headquarters and Spicer’s press conference where both men simply made up shit when they were displeased by a confrontation with reality – the size of Trump’s crowd at his inauguration and the fact that a week ago Trump accused the CIA of Nazi tactics – started me thinking about Germany and how could it have been that Hitler was able turn Germany into history’s prime example of Fascism gone mad?
Up until World War I, Germany had been Europe’s leading intellectual light for half a century. No nation surpassed Germany in the arts, in literature, in science, in industry and in inventiveness. After World War I and Germany’s defeat, the German nation was plunged into the depths of a depression primarily as a result of war reparations. The German mark became worthless. Germans were starving. The Great Depression came along and nipped whatever recovery the country had experienced in the bud. So when Hitler came along, Germans were rightly open to his Uber Alles, Germany Forever, rhetoric having suffered enormously for a decade. His words fell on receptive ears.
You could compare the rise of Hitler with the rise of Trump among his followers since they too felt as if they had suffered under the hands of liberal rule. However, unlike the German people in 1939, these Americans have not suffered real deprivation but were expressing a psychological deprivation as a result of their perceived loss of primacy, their angst a becoming a minority group in the American scheme of things or perhaps from feeling ignored, overlooked and left out. Sure, they were angry that Obama’s recovery hadn’t come fast enough or deep enough, that their children would not be able to achieve the American dream and that the entire political scheme of things (liberal media, liberal elites) were working against them. Their “sufferings,” however were and are imaginary, relatively speaking. What would their answer be if they were asked: “Would you like to live as a Black person?” We all know that the answer from 100% of them would have been a swift, loud NO! The sufferings of the German people were real.
On the other hand, the imaginary sufferings of these folks obviously had traction. Why? The biggest reason is that there is no longer any touchstone of “real” or “fact” or “truth” in American public discourse today. When Britisher David Ickes can travel around the world giving lectures, writing books, about how the world is run by a secret cabal of Jewish billionaires or when Alex Jones can proclaim that the 9-11 terrorist attack was done by the government and the slaughter of kids at Sandy Hook Elementary wasn’t real but a staged event and people believe this, then you have the perfect stage for someone like Trump who traffics is such unrealities to prevail. I recommend that you subscribe – “follow,” I guess is the correct Facebook term - to one of the radical right wind news feeds. Alex Jones is a good place to start. And read the comments that follow whatever fake news feeds are spewing forth and you will see that there are many, many believers in this alt.right world of unreality. Although Hitler came to power from the real sufferings of the German people, he maintained power by manipulating reality, by providing Germans with an alternate story of why they were suffering. This is exactly what Trump has done during his campaign and continues to do.
From his “the Mexican government is sending rapists across the border” exhortation, to his “the press is lying,” to the “Washington elites have stolen the country,” to “all elections are rigged,” to denying the attendance numbers at his inauguration, every single “theme,” every made up fact, is designed to dovetail into the unreal world created by the alt.right folks that creates doubt and fear, a discomfort in their lives as if there’s something afoot, some mysterious force that is controlling everything. The folks who believe this crap or are rattled sufficiently as to doubt what they see with their own eyes and experience in their own daily lives. The “Dark America” Trump created during his campaign and reiterated with his inaugural speech has no basis if fact, in reality. Just the opposite in fact, since so much has improved since the World Wide Crash of 2008. And, rest assured, that Trump’s followers do not inhabit this dark world of crumbling inner cities, in criminals rampaging through the nation’s communities, the dark clouds of hopelessness and despair running rampant across the land.
Just like you and me, Trump’s supporters don’t live in this Dark America. But they believe that this America exists somewhere, just not where they live. Or even if they don’t experience it now, haven’t experienced it in the past, there’s no telling how soon this is what America will become if liberals and the liberal press continue to rule the country. It’s no different from how Hitler came to power. His speeches are full of the self-same “dark days” and “troubled times” for ordinary German citizens. But the big difference is that in Germany at the time, it was more true than not. Germans were suffering and had been suffering for a couple of decades. But this is not the case in America and yet Trump made the case that this was the true condition in America. And he won.
You could put this down to the lack of facts and data by his supporters but that doesn’t begin to tell the story. They are not stupid. They know full well that their neighborhoods, where they live, are not dark, depraved communities. But what the alt.right internet folks have done is sown so much doubt, so much fear that it’s not all that hard to understand why these folks were so enthralled with Trump’s fact-less, fascist rhetoric. There are literally thousands upon thousands of right wing internet sites that spew this fear mongering garbage every single day. Fox News and Rush Limbaugh are only the tip of this grand iceberg and even they are extremely mild and moderate compared to others. Take a look at Alex Jones’s site. It’s here Alex Jones Infowars He is extremely popular among conservatives. He's also extremely deranged. But he has a huge following of believers. Just like our Presedent.
Yes the Twin Towers attack was unimaginable. Appalling. The Sandy Hook Elementary School attack was unimaginable. Appalling. The Orlando Pulse night club slaughter was unimaginable. Appalling. Columbine, San Bernardino, Colorado Springs, Charleston, Oklahoma City, were all unimaginable. They were all unimaginable. They were all appalling. But as unimaginable – how could a human being do such a thing – and appalling – why would anyone do such a thing? – There must be another explanation! – but they were real. They happened. And as unimaginable and appalling as they are, there is no hidden, secret, no underhanded, mystery about them. They are the tragic products of human beings acting in ways that we might find unimaginable and appalling but they are real.
But when you’ve feasted on a diet of “mysterious forces are the reason why you feel disconnected, why your life is unsatisfactory, how things seem so out of control, so frightening,” this thematic rationale becomes the easy, if imperfect, justification for responding with anger, intolerance, bigotry and hatred. After all, you are responding to a situation that you have had no part in making, have no control over and seems real enough – there are all those seemingly intelligent guys telling you that these secret forces are real – so that its not irrational to be frightened and afraid. So you tell yourself. So you find yourself lashing out against gays, and liberals, and foreigners and the elites because someone must be responsible for the way I’m feeling; someone must be responsible for all the secret organizations that Alex Jones says are actually behind the mess we are in, pulling our strings without our knowledge. The unimaginable and appalling now have meaning.
We find Hitler and his gang of Fascists unimaginable and appalling. But they too were real. They happened and there is no alt.right reason about how and why they happened. Sometimes, like a Dylann Root or an Omar Mateen, people do unimaginable and appalling things for reasons that we cannot fathom. It’s just the way it is.
We are facing a new era here in America. Yesterday’s Trump and Spicer pathetic mewlings against the press were more proof that at least for the time being we are going to be faced with an alt.right world, one where inconvenient facts are simply tossed to the trash bin and new, freshly baked and wholly unreal facts are made up to ensure that Trump doesn’t “look bad.” To make sure that the world reflects them and their beliefs as preposterous as they may be. It’s the evil press (Jew, faggot, foreigner, Muslim, liberal) that’s bad. Not them. This, folks, is nascent Fascism on the rise. If I were a journalist, I would already have vowed to do everything in my power to expose these men and to bring them down.
Be Aware. Be Prepared.