Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Distractions from the big problem

2015 was a watershed year for gay rights. Same-sex marriage is still controversial, but we've seen heartening indications that most people aren't as scared of non-heterosexuals as they were even five years ago.

Texas teen Ethan Couch, who got probation even though he killed four innocent people in a drunk-driving incident, was picked up in Mexico with his mother. Even the dimwitted judge who gave him probation should now see that he needs to be locked up. The judge should toss Mom into the women's wing of the same prison, too.

These and other attention-grabbing happenings, though, have all been dangerous distractions from the year's really big story: the emotional secession of the far right from our country. Chauncey DeVega writes:

... today’s brand of conservatism exhibits pre-Enlightenment era thinking, and uses what I (and others) have described as “the politics of disorientation” to confuse the American people through a coordinated campaign of outright lying and seductive disinformation.

...

To understand Donald Trump’s appeal, one must seriously consider the possibility that his followers specifically, and movement conservatives and the Republican Party more generally, are exhibiting signs of political psychopathology.

DeVega says Trump's supporters exhibit many of the signs of a cult. I've thought so for a while. His supporters — or followers — are basically living in their own informational ecosystem, divorced from the real world, accepting only the truth according to Trump. They effectively have broken off from the rest of the country, at least in their own minds.

We have a job of deprogramming ahead of us. That realization is the real story of 2015, but we keep letting ourselves be distracted. No more. Let 2016 be the start of our reckoning with it.

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