Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Trumpspeak, translated


     One of the joys of the Joe Biden era—besides seeing our national problems addressed honestly and vigorously, which is happiness aplenty, or should be—is we aren't pinned to the wall by a firehose of lies and self-puffery geysering hourly out of the mouth of Donald Trump and his supporters.
     Oh sure, Trump's still off somewhere, haranguing wedding parties at Mar-a-Lago. But the condemnation of history is hardening around him already, and maybe the law too, and the latest Republican go-to move of restricting voting so the people disgusted with them have a harder time booting them out of office, well, that isn't really a tactic of the strong and confident, is it? 
     That doesn't mean the battle is over, however. Those who haven't figured Trump out by now never will, and they are on the move. Though the putsch of Jan. 6 was thwarted, and it was a come-to-Jesus moment for a few, the reset continue on as before. The trouble is, once you commit yourself fully to ignoring reality and crafting your own alternative world, then it doesn't matter the enormity of the particular reality you are ignoring. You can always slap a few rolls of pure fabrication over the rot, stand back, and admire the shimmering effect. 
      The forces of authoritarianism, denied the executive office, have gone local. It isn't just in southern statehouses. Here in my quaint little village of Northbrook, there is an election of town officials next week, and one faction is vigorously winking and gesturing at the MAGA crowd, in code of course. Let me draw your attention to the sign above, several of which are jammed into the ground along with the various candidate signs in front of our red brick village hall.
     Let's unpack the code in this sign—it bears no attribution, of course; nobody becomes a fear-peddling bigot out of surfeit of courage—shall we?
     "INSIST ON HONEST ELECTIONS" means undercutting the election process that you are losing. Which Trump was already doing back in 2016, assuming his own defeat, which through some malign fate did not happen. A strategy he returned to in full-throated fury in 2020, stirring up that rebellion against our government Jan. 6, and pushing the lie onward, as Republican legislatures try to restrict and limit the casting of ballots, to improve their sweaty grasp on power.
 Remember, the 2020 election was thoroughly vetted, in court, triple-counted, and found to be impeccable, for those of us in the reality-based world. Honest elections were already insisted upon; that's why he lost. But "CORRUPT THE VOTE" makes for an uncomfortable banner, even for them, so they are mobilizing around the concept of "honest elections" in the service of dishonest elections.
     "FREE SPEECH" means shrugging off consequences of their own speech Once you've established yourself as a racist, for instance, speaking exclusively to your similarly-bigoted friends, it can be uncomfortable when your frame of reference shifts and you must attempt to justify yourself to those not crouched in the same cramped corner of the mental spectrum you occupy. So in an attempt to distract attention from the fact that you are doing and saying racist things, you focus on the criticism that you honestly receive and pretend you are being repressed, and pretend that your right to spout idiocy is being somehow squelched. Go on Fox News and complain that your voice is being silenced, the way a person who has said something stupid and been called out on it in those terms will point in indignation at the insult of being labeled "stupid" while completely overlooking the stupidity that prompted it. I suppose they consider that clever. It certainly fools themselves, if no one else.
    And finally, "UNBIASED MEDIA" is, in classic Orwellian "WAR IS PEACE" form, a hurrah for biased media, the type that curled purring at Trump's feet, uncritically passes along and amplifies his lies, and demands that everyone else does the same. News outlets that reflect the drumbeat of craven cowardice and demi-treason emitting from the Republican Party must be themselves skewed, because the only other explanation is the reality they are reflecting, and that was abandoned long ago.
     Not to forget the final decorative dollop of the American flag, brandished by those betraying literally everything it represents. 
     I went to vote Monday, and chatted with one of the Democratic candidates for trustee in front of the village hall—no Republican candidates in sight, I guess they're satisfied letting their anonymous signs do the talking. She said the Trumpite faction is ominously strong in Northbrook, and I do see their MAGA red everywhere. Before the election, there were those big rallies at Shermer and Walters, young people insulting the passing traffic, venting the free-floating grievance that passes for political philosophy. As I've said for a long time, Trump wasn't a cause, but a symptom, and the fear and perpetual indignation that spawned him has not gone away, just trickled down below the foundations of our homes, to emerge below our feet with the crocuses, an ominous bloom. 
These red signs have to be worrisome to those of us working to ensure that the Trump offense is confined to our shameful past, and not merely a preview of worse to come. Make sure you get out and vote, while you still can. Because what happened in Georgia can happen here, too.


  1. The Orwellian warning sirens have been wailing for a while now. The ignorance of history grows and this gradual shift to the right has become a huge fault line. God help us when that fault line breaks.

  2. “Are we not disempowered more by the mindlessness of the movement than by the physical danger it poses?”
    “...nothing but stupor, people spellbound by the deceptive magic of an idea which consists of not having any.”
    K Kraus

  3. We're sitting in the sunshine and watching the plumes of steam and smoke. The volcano is in a dormant phase right now. But only for a while. It is going to erupt again and spew all that fiery orange lava. The internal heat is still simmering. All the anger and resentment and ridiculous grievances have not gone away.

    The eruption may happen this year, or next year, or in three years. And there's a good chance that the next eruption will bury us all for good. America as Pompeii. The clock is ticking.


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