Like everything else, the January 6th Committee hearings are splitting the country into believers and non-believers. Never mind that these hearings uncover the ongoing treason committed by a former president, his government co-conspirators, and his not insignificant numbers of loyal followers. (71 percent of Republicans — roughly 52 million voters, according to a University of Massachusetts Amherst poll) So the truth, instead of uniting us, divides us further. And that is leading to more and more erratic thinking and public behavior.
Contributing writer Tom Nichols of The Atlantic wrote an article I think can be instructive in our situation on June 22, 2022). Here’s an excerpt:
“In the film adaptation of the Cold War epic Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, John le Carré’s fictional British intelligence officer George Smiley describes his opposite number, the Soviet spymaster Karla. Smiley knows Karla can be beaten, he says, because Karla “is a fanatic. And the fanatic is always concealing a secret doubt.”
What this means, I regret to say, is that there will be more threats, and more violence, because there will be more truth. It’s going to be a long summer.”
“Our” fanatic, Trump, seems to have no doubts, but his less informed followers hear the beginning whispers of truth. Like Mr. Nichols points out in his article, they are angry and striking out at any and all who get in their way, no matter the insignificance of the supposed infraction.
Any irritation will do. “Require masks? I’ll shoot you.” “Voice an opinion I don’t like. I’ll flog you.” “Do anything that stops me from getting what I want when I want it? You’re my enemy, and on top of that, you’re trying to destroy “my” country and take away my freedom to have childlike temper tantrums.”
In other words, don’t get in my way while I fall back to my default mental condition that requires no reasoning, self-control, responsibility, or obligation to anyone but me. The only thing missing is dropping to the floor and kicking our feet while we scream, “I don’t want it…you can’t make me…I won’t listen.”
Growing into maturity is not an easy process. Those of us who made it have known the growing pains. And I don’t mean to confuse the occasional slip of an emotional response with emotional immaturity. But, this condition is not a slip. It’s a permanent state of emotional immaturity.
So, to sum up, we have a narcissistic fanatic, Trump, with no doubts, attempting to rid us of democracy by influencing emotionally childlike people in adult bodies who believe his fantasies.
Crazy enough for you? Not yet? Well, try this on from Raw Story: “Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers testified that Donald Trump and his campaign attorneys asked him to violate his oath of office, but he admitted he’d vote for him again. ‘If he is the nominee, if he was up against Biden, I’d vote for him again,” Bowers said. “Simply because what he did the first time, before COVID, was so good for the country. In my view, it was great.'”
Still not crazy enough? Mike Pence, former VP to the president who uttered over 39,000 lies and misleading statements, told Fox News’ Larry Kudlow that Biden has lied more than any president in his lifetime.
There’s something terribly wrong with a society that can’t discern the truth from a lie, throws an emotional fit, and threatens violence when forced to confront the facts. Groucho Marx framed the question well, even though he’s been dead since 1977. “Who will you believe, him or your lying eyes?”