new reality

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I have been writing a lot about my own feelings and thinking and blahblahblahblah, which of course has bearing on my daily life and how I proceed through it.

But it is so insignificant. We are barely more than a week into the new political reality. Since Trump’s inauguration, it is as though he started so many huge fires that we – the public, the media, anyone paying attention – cannot even keep track, cannot focus and shine enough light on any one thing long enough to develop a sustainable plan of attack against any of the brutality and inhumanity of it. Bombard and divert. This is exactly how he ran his campaign – ramp up the hate speech, the crazy, the threats to ever-higher levels of insanity day by day so that the daily new level of shock topped whatever came before (and made us forget the previous affronts as we focused on yet another new one) but also inoculated us to the shock, meaning that we became numb to it all or… just incapable of believing that THIS somehow could be what we would end up with.

“This is the result of a manipulation strategy described long ago by historian and cognitive scientist Noam Chomsky: “Keep the adult public attention diverted away from the real social issues, and captivated by matters of no real importance.” Leftists such as Chomsky argue that this is what capitalist elites do, but I know it as a common tactic of kleptocratic regimes such as Vladimir Putin’s in Russia.

There’s even a term for the tactic: “diversionary conflict.””

And somehow, believing in the institutions of the democratic America we have long been brainwashed to believe in, we did not realize they were as fragile as America’s crumbling infrastructure. That all it would take to topple these institutions is one demagogue lunatic and too few people willing to believe from the get-go that he would unilaterally push through his changes without using the democratic process. All the arguments about checks and balances keeping him in line, all the discussion on how the sheer overwhelming nature of the office of the presidency would temper him… who really believed those things? How is anyone surprised by any of the things unfolding right now?

Photo (c) 2011 Adrian Scottow

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