(Illustration: ‘Eye,’ by MC Escher, and found here).
A way-enormous chunk of Americans are carrying around solid cases of mental disorder of the highest caliber and are prone to fits of pure fantasy even with shit they see with their own freaking eyes and hear with their own asshole ears. I really don’t know if this shit has been here for generations or somehow came full-blown from a series of crazy-attacks within the right wing political sphere since Ronald Reagan, but at least since the 1990s with the Newt. And pushed further with the arrival of Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, and of course, the T-Rump.
Mind boggling how an absolutely obvious lie will be believed:
"It was zero threat, right from the start, it was zero threat" — Trump on the January 6 insurrection that left 5 dead, including a police officer pic.twitter.com/6YBho1bywM
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 26, 2021
And swallowed whole by a shitload of Republicans, with actually a majority giving credence to a huge, atomic-powered pile of shit:
It's truly frightening and frustrating that half of Republicans believe the January 6th riot was "peaceful," even as the families of dead officers are still mourning those they lost.
Misinformation is deadly.
— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) April 5, 2021
Perhaps it was inevitable, but now it’s certain: Three months out from the violent insurrection Donald Trump incited at the U.S. Capitol, the majority of Republican voters have settled on a story that they can use to justify supporting what Trump and the rioters did.
According to a poll released this week by Reuters and Ipsos, belief in conspiracy theories about the insurrection is widespread among Republican voters, with 55-percent claiming to “agree” or “somewhat agree” that the rioters were really “antifa” in disguise. Another 51-percent of Republican respondents agree or somewhat agree that the rioters — who look to have killed one police officer, violently assaulted hundreds of others, and were chanting “hang Mike Pence” as they ransacked the Capitol — “were mostly peaceful, law-abiding Americans.”
And a full 60-percent agree or somewhat agree with Trump’s utterly false claim that Joe Biden stole the 2020 election.
These numbers are, needless to say, terrifying, precisely because they capture a level of delusion that is truly hard to imagine.
And it’s not just the T-Rump and Fox News, these Americans are pieces of grifting, lying shit, too:
There is no doubt that the firehose of lies coming from Trump and his media supporters matter. Still, it’s important to understand that Republican voters have autonomy here. They aren’t mindless ciphers, helpless to resist the allure of Fox News propaganda.
They actively choose to watch Fox News and to reject truthful information. Anyone who has tried to correct a Republican friend or relative who is sharing misinformation can attest to this grim reality. They almost never thank you for setting them straight or get angry at Tucker Carlson for lying to them.
They get defensive and double down on the lies. They prefer lies over truth.
In a sense, then, it’s questionable whether Republican voters really “believe” that Trump really won the election, or that antifa was behind the insurrection, or that the insurrection wasn’t really violent. At least, they may not believe it in the usual sense that we use the word “believe” to mean a conviction that a thing is true, such as believing the sun will rise in the east or that Prince wrote “When Doves Cry” in one night.
Many of them likely are asserting it more as a show of tribal loyalty and, of course, as cover for their more unspeakable but truer beliefs, like the belief that white people are the only people whose votes should really count.
As David Graham argued in February at the Atlantic, “Republicans are backing Trump not in spite of the insurrection but because of it.”
But they know that saying out loud that they want to overthrow democracy is bad.
Instead, they cling to conspiracy theories, many of which contradict each other, that are proxies for their real but unspeakable anti-democratic beliefs.
And when you have that many assholes acting that way, some serious shit can come of it:
Not in a fun way, however…