I can’t wait until 2020 finally ends!
You look puzzled – oh, I understand! A lot of people weren’t expecting the epilogue to 2020, which will continue for another week or so. Think of it as a hangover following a particularly unpleasant night of anger-drinking and barfighting, except the night lasted for four years. Or maybe this three week stub is like a post-surgical complication after a four-year illness – you’re expected to recover but it’s scary as hell to wait it out.
It’s even worse than it seems because measuring time in 2020 is kind of like counting ages in dog years. To our frazzled nerves, the next few days will seem to last about six months.
If we’re lucky, 2020 will finally end around the middle of next week.
I’ll resume Bruceb News when it’s more obvious that our country is out of danger. Now is not the right time for technology news.
A quick political note follows. Feel free to look away.
I am still hopeful. Trump is being marginalized. The chances are slim that he will personally be a dominant political voice going forward.
But – and this is a big but – hang on, let me start again, I can’t say “this is a big but” and expect you to read the next part without snickering.
But – and this is a big exception – the rabid right wing will still exist, still feeling aggrieved, still pushing boundaries. They are looking for a charismatic leader to take Trump’s place. As you watch Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley strike poses and compete to sound the most unhinged, remember they are auditioning for a part. The role of Lead Actor is opening up and each of them wants to be a star.
This article by Yale history professor David Blight is a succinct and insightful description of the extreme right – the similarities to previous historical movements rallying around Lost Causes, the importance of big lies to sustain fringe movements, and the things that motivate the ultra-right wing today. This excerpt is the best summary of the US radical right that I’ve ever seen:
“Mr. Trump’s Lost Cause takes its fuel from conspiratorial myths of all kinds, rehearsed for years on Trump media and social media platforms. Its guiding theories include: Christianity under duress and attack; large corrupt cities full of Black and brown people manipulated by liberal elites; Barack Obama as alien; a socialist movement determined to tax you into subservience to “big government”; liberal media out to crush family and conservative values; universities and schools teaching the young a history that hates America; resentment of nonwhite immigrants who threaten a particular national vision; and whatever hideous new version of a civil religion QAnon represents.
“Trumpism knows what it hates: liberalism; taxation; what it perceives as big government; nonwhite immigrants who drain the homeland’s resources; government regulation imposed on individuals and businesses; foreign entanglements and wars that require America to be too generous to strange peoples in faraway places; any hint of gun control; feminism in high places; the nation’s inevitable ethnic and racial pluralism; and the infinite array of practices or ideas it calls “political correctness.” Potent ideas all in search of a history.
“Trumpists want something permanent and stable: border walls; ever-growing stock portfolios; access to the environment and hunting land without limits; coal they can burn at will; the “liberty” to reject masks; history that tastes of the sweetness of progress and not the bitterness of national sins.”
Although we’ve been referring to that litany of grievances and demands as “Trumpism,” it’s not a cult of personality. None of it depends on Trump. After Trump is offstage, the right-wing conspiracy theories and whining will continue, amplified by Fox News, which is the single most destructive force in our society – far more influential than Facebook or Twitter.
That’s why this week’s tipping point is so important. Some Republicans are repulsed by the excesses of Trump cheerleaders in Congress and the White House. If the Republican Party splits and only a faction remains to represent the far right and white supremacists, then the country will endure and find its way past this terrible chapter.
There are other roads and some of them are quite awful. But I’m hopeful. We’re better than this.