This cannot be repeated often enough: The American right wing no longer exists in the same universe as the rest of the world. They have been completely isolated from reality by an all encompassing media bubble that feeds them pure propaganda 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
For the latest example of this, take a look at an interview NPR did with a Trump supporter in upstate New York:
He says he hates the idea of neo-Nazis and recalls when growing up, he had friends who were black. But now he thinks the white guys he saw on his TV marching in Charlottesville have some reasonable arguments.
“This is a different white supremacy movement than before, because I don’t think whites are saying, ‘well we’re better.’ They’re saying why can’t we be treated all as equal?
“LaMothe thinks affirmative action programs should be scrapped. He also thinks neo-Nazis who sparked mayhem in Charlottesville are no worse than a lot of activist groups on the left. “I didn’t hear anything from Barack Obama about Black Lives Matter and that was another hate group,” he says.
Think about the disconnect from reality necessary to think that neo-Nazis have a point about white people being the victim. In a country where white men are a minority of the population yet hold most of the wealth, elected offices, and cultural power, it is almost textbook insanity to think they are oppressed. Yet, that is precisely what LaMothe thinks and he’s far from alone.
I don’t know LaMothe and the article does not describe his news consumption habits but in much the same way that we can determine where a person grew up by whether or not they say “soda” or “pop”, I can say with a high degree of accuracy that he regularly watches Fox News. I can also predict that he rarely reads the New York Times or Washington Post. He has never sat through an entire episode of The Rachel Maddow Show in his life.
We know this because in the real world, Black Lives Matter does not fit even the most, ahem, liberal definition of a hate group. We know this because LaMothe claims Obama never called for unity when in the real world, Obama based his entire campaign on unity and called for it after every tragedy. We know this because despite LaMothe’s attempt to blame both sides, neo-Nazis explicitly preach genocide and there is no moral, rhetorical, or ideological equivalent on the left. It simply does not exist except in the fabricated reality of right wing media.
This explains the not-really-a-mystery of why Trump’s support remains so high among Republicans: They literally have no idea what’s going on. As far as they’ve been told, Trump is a powerful, manly and virile leader that is creating millions of jobs, deporting every brown person he can find, and making America great again by being tough on our enemies and weak allies. They also “know” that the Russia scandal is made up by the “deep state” that is trying to destroy him. Trump also makes liberals cry and that is more than enough to overlook little things like massive corruption.
The danger lies in the famous quote by Voltaire: “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” When Trump is inevitably ousted, Trump supporters like LaMothe will honestly and truly believe that a coup has been staged and they will back any and all violence carried out by white nationalist “patriots” in the name of “taking back America.” It won’t matter if it was by impeachment, heart attack, or by a massive landslide election in 2020, LaMothe will only believe that his country is under attack by whatever shadowy enemy Fox News tells him to be afraid of that week.
When the smoke clears, the blood washed away, and the Confederacy has been banished once again, LaMothe and those like him will become the seed of the Second Lost Cause, plotting to “take back their country.” Someday. They’ll pass on their Fox News-generated insanity like a disease to their descendants and we’ll start the cycle all over again.
But that’s for another day. Today, we have to overcome the propaganda driving out country mad and save our democracy from those who would see it burned to the ground. The only other option is to let delusional and paranoid bigots like LaMothe dictate our future.
There are 448 days left to the 2018 elections.
– This article kills fascists
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I’m a stay at home dad, father to a special needs son and a special daughter, a donor baby daddy, a militantly pragmatic liberal, the president of the PTA, a hardcore geek and nerd and I’m going to change the world. Or at least my corner of it.