Worse than you imagined

From The New York Times, June 28, 2023: “This Is Why Trump Lies Like There’s No Tomorrow.” 

It’s an editorial for those who wonder why so many Americans have sold their souls to this malignant narcissist.

Read at your own risk.

Photograph: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

16 thoughts on “Worse than you imagined

  1. “they had been able to play a meaningful role in enacting a shared social identity” is my choice for the absolute key phrase of this article: people who are supremely unimportant acting out their wish to be IMPORTANT !!!

    1. And with as much success as they have seen, I don’t know how we’ll ever convince them to return to their former “unimportance.” I seem to recall reading something about historically speaking, no one who has ever gained power willingly relinquishes it.

  2. The authors have got it right. Fundamentally, it is tribalism writ large, powered by fear and loathing of “the other”. Intolerance of diversity in ethnicity, social customs, and religion leads to bigotry and racism, which in turn are more powerful than mere ideology. Most surprising to me is the support of Trumpism by evangelical Christians. The essence of Christianity is typified by the sermon on the mount: empathy for others including enemies, turning the cheek, and rejecting wealth for wealth’s sake, this all takes a back seat to perceived threats to social stability within the tribe.

    1. I think that it is significant that white evangelical Christians are the most impacted for a couple of reasons. We are looking at people who are required to suspend reality as a tenet of faith, and they are also most likely to have had a limited faith-centered private education. A member of my family married into a family like this, and I was just shocked by how closed and cult-like the family and their extended community was… they even only do business with other evangelical Christians through business directories. A neighbor, also a member of this faith/community, told me that she needed to ask her pastor how to think about the Iraq war. (!!!) It is easy to see how things can spin out of control within a closed community that relies on leaders to tell them how to think.

      1. I’ve always been willing to live and let live where religion is concerned. But that tenet requires that, in return, religious folks keep their religion to themselves. Having it inserted directly into and applied by the government and laws that affect all of us is … um … not acceptable. And then there’s the establishment clause …

  3. That was a really interesting article! I have been thinking about Trump, his lies, and the whole ball of wax from a different perspective fueled by books I was forced to read and life experiences. In college I had to read Civilization and Its Discontents by Freud (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilization_and_Its_Discontents) which really helped me deal with kids in middle school. Boy, do those kids really kick against rules and authority figures, and you can just see the conflict churning away in them. They are getting bigger, and they try to physically intimidate their parents and teachers. In short, they are messes, but eventually by high school (well, if they survive 9th grade…) they become civilized. Unless there is a fight in the hallway… The huge crush of kids piling on and vocalizing is something else as any adult who can get in there tries to stop the fight. The kids are just thrilled by the fight and pumped up for hours… it’s like Christians and lions stuff… and I think it was the vicarious thrill of other people breaking the rules. I think that Trump with his lies and deplorable behavior triggers the same phenomenon for some people. The rallies are just thrilling, and they can be just as bad as they want with him leading the way. It’s like he legitimizes every racist, undemocratic, tribal woe that they resent, and the lies are a necessary component to the legitimization process. That’s why the showmanship of Trump is working but DeSantis isn’t having the same success.

    I also was forced to read Future Shock and Who Moved My Cheese by different employers and I think that this is also an issue. These people long for the 50s again. They want to stuff women back into dependency on men, and people of color back into a lower social position. Trump kind of links to this with all the lies and craziness as people who understand how things work would recognize that what he says sometimes (well, a lot of the time) is not right.

    1. It was a long read but it explained in frighteningly clear terms what for me had been more just a general sense of things. I’m not sure I was ready for so much confirmation of my fears.

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