Does our nation’s president really believe the many goofy conspiracy theories he frequently references? Or does he merely use them for his political gain? Or is it both? Only he knows for sure. But for the rest of us, does it really matter?
Those of us who put no stock in the many bizarre conspiracy theories Trump and his cultish followers traffic in are as unlikely to change the minds of those true believers as they are to convert us. But the fact that the President of the United States gives open or even tacit regard to wacky notions–such as former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia being murdered–opens the door for untold thousands (or millions?) of mentally unstable Americans to take those notions seriously. And that’s exactly what’s happening. The greatest nation in the history of the world is being unraveled by zany conspiracy theories, particularly by the inane notion that our nation is secretly ruled by a “deep state,” and that only Donald Trump can save us from this evil confederacy.
But it’s that bizarre belief in particular that is keeping the most corrupt president in our nation’s history in power, where he’s unraveling our Constitution as well as many long-revered cultural standards. In the three years Trump has been in office, dozens of his former administration personnel have come forward to warn the rest of us about the president’s ignorance, instability, impulsiveness, and narcissism. (Sadly, none of them had the courage to do so before leaving.) All of them were formerly subjects of Trump’s praise. But when they dared to challenge “the chosen one,” he and his loyal followers turned on them and then dismissed them as deep-state agents out to foil his efforts to fight “the evil liberal cabal.”
Why have millions of Americans–a huge portion of them white evangelical Christians–fallen for these outlandish conspiracy theories? Primarily, I think, because such theories are exciting. Most people lead lives, as Thoreau noted, of quiet desperation. Buying into crazy concepts modulates that desperation–at least somewhat.
Among many evangelicals, adding to that thirst for exhilaration is the long-held notion that Satan works through governments to persecute true believers. So it isn’t a long leap from there to acceptance of the idea of a deep state out to get them.
So when Donald Trump came along in 2015, leading the conspiratorial accusations that President Obama was not a real American, it was easy for many, if not most, white evangelicals to embrace those accusations. After all, the nation’s first African-American president had an Arab-sounding name, and he promoted many liberal policies.
Then, during the Republican primaries–when Trump continued to promote conspiracies (remember the one about Ted Cruz’s father being part of an insider gang that killed JFK?)–his already-fervent-and-growing band of cult-followers joined in. The stage was set.
So now, three years later, with volumes of evidence and testimonies revealing Trump’s illegal and unconstitutional acts, his starry-eyed followers still find it easy to dismiss all that evidence as a deep-state plot to rid the nation of its true savior.
They are true believers, and as a favorite evangelical Bible verse says, “Just like a tree that’s planted by the waters, [they] shall not be moved.”
Does Trump believe all those weird conspiracy theories? It doesn’t matter as long as his followers do. And that is precisely what con men count on.
Apparently too? Five of his psycho Trumpsters have been busted so far for domestic terrorism charges for purposefully spreading this virus. They all deserve the death penalty.
Well said. Trump is operating under a circular rumor construct. What I mean by that is he will have a rumor he perpetuated eventually come back to him. Here is how it often work:
– Some entity, which could be Russian, domestic or some other group, takes an obscure conspiracy theory and they give it oxygen.
– one of the conspiracy theory sites, like InfoWars or Breitbart will pick up the story and escalate it.
– Trump will get wind of it and if he likes will use it (this is like achieving gold for the Russians or whomever started it).
– Now, the Fox News opinion hosts and people like Rush Limbaugh will report that this issue is being reported by outlets (in other words, they will do sloppy reporting and validate the veracity without it deserving such).
– Trump will see this and say “people are saying” things about this topic
– Fox may even involve one of Trump’s sycophants like Rudy to inflate the story
The point is this a circular rumor construct. The president has merely heard a rumor he helped spread. What is additionally frustrating and worrisome is the president may intentionally use this to perpetuate a story to his favor.
So, when the president speaks or tweets, the best thing to do is not believe him. He has earned this treatment. Who is your source Mr. president? Keith
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Prescient analysis, Keith. It should be obvious to anyone who pays any attention. But, sadly, at least 30 percent of U.S. voters are too caught up in the cult to see the obvious facts staring them in the face.
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Jerry, thanks. I heard on NPR today, that they and other news outlets are no longer doing wall-to-wall coverage of the president’s press conferences due to the misinformation coming from him and his sycophants. They are covering the conference for the real information shared by the experts. That is telling. Keith
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Good analysis, albeit depressing. His approval rating has now broken it’s previous high and continues to climb, despite the fact that he has done nothing right … not one single thing … since the threat of coronavirus began. He’s making decisions that are killing people, and being lauded for it. Apparently, this nation is filled with more fools than I ever thought. Sigh.
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We have two competing viruses in our country: Trump and the Corona pandemic.
We must find an antidote for both not just one in 2020.
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I absolutely agree!!!
Jill, I reluctantly agree with your last sentence. I say reluctantly because so many of my friends and relatives fit into that category. The Bible they claim to revere and follow says, “Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.” “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” “Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.”
Despite the obvious, undeniable fact that their cult leader embodies those biblical definitions of a fool listed above, they continue to ignore facts and defend him, so that makes them fools too. That truly saddens me.
Brookingslib, while I believe he is right about issues related to civil liberties in general and how draconian government can drastically erode them if it gets too big, Alex Jones destroys his credibility with his rhetoric with regard to the idea that the 9/11/2001 WTC attack was an inside job.