Whether the subject is a nitwitted stare down with North Korea, a despicable health care proposal, an allegiance to White Supremacy or a political rally that espouses incomprehensible hate and anger, Donald Trump voters are bereft of common sense and free will in discussing his faults and failures. Their sickness is a stain on America, and it must be eradicated.
Differences of opinion are not only expected but even encouraged when discussing politics. Within the context of debate regarding Donald Trump, the opinions extend beyond divergent. Often any conversation surrounding the current president is something that is fervently confrontational, as it pits two kinds of people against each other. One combatant is based in the here and now, clearly deciphering events as they unfold. All too often, the opposing participant is rooted in an Alternative Reality where Donald Trump is devoid of fault or failure. They wear funny red hats and scream ‘Fake News.’ These unfortunate souls are afflicted with Mad Hatter Syndrome.
Sufferers of MHS have not arrived at this diagnosis by way of their own free will. They’ve been unwittingly indoctrinated, by the malfeasant teachings of a political madman. Donald Trump is today, as he was yesterday and forever will be, a pathological liar and a skilled con artist. He has, however, found the secret to disguising his dishonesty and injecting it into the consciousness of less suspecting Americans. He repeats the same lies over and over. Again and again, repeatedly, non stop until his words ring true to his beleaguered followers. It’s called the Illusory Truth Effect.
Many Americans have called Trump supporters almost cult like. These assumptions are in fact, theoretically correct. By use of the Illusory Truth Effect, Trump nation is indeed a political cult. As in any cult, Mad Hatters have been trained to repeat the mantra of its leader and deflect from any fact based views presented by an outsider of the cult.
The Illusory Truth Effect is defined as “the tendency to believe information to be correct after repeated exposure.” This is a weapon of choice used by Donald Trump on a daily basis. Any opposing views, or disparaging news in the media? “Fake News,” he yells from the mountains, continually hammering his hapless defense into the consciousness of his base until they parrot the same phrase without the benefit of independent scrutiny. Therein lies the natural conundrum for the Trump follower, who dares to think outside the drawn lines of communication. If the power and appeal of the Truth Effect somehow erodes, Trump reaches into his bag of tricks for the second of his two pronged weapons of delusion and aims Whataboutism at his targets. Whataboutism by definition is the technique or practice of responding to an accusation or difficult question by making a counter-accusation or raising a different issue.
Whataboutism allows Trump to offer his malfeasance wrapped in a ribbon of historical context. Without denying his own unethical conduct, Donald Trump condemns others that he claims have committed similar or worse acts and emerged unscathed, arguing that he deserves the same treatment. What is frequently misunderstood by his duped support system, is that the acts that he prescribes as comparable, are not only incomparable but also more times than not, complete fabrications designed to detract attention from his wrongdoing.
Trump relinquishes responsibility and accountability by laying blame at the feet of others. Whataboutism is also a form of propaganda made popular by the former Soviet Union. When attacked Donald Trump’s course of action without fail is to attack the messenger(media) in an attempt to discredit the information. Then he redoubles his campaign of disinformation by raising the specter of another issue entirely, real or imagined, to escape further scrutinization for his misconduct. This is invariably followed up with repetitive cries of fake news and/or unfair witch hunt.
Americans who cast their vote for Donald Trump fall into two categories. Either they did zero personal investigation of his background, or they fully endorse and stand by his record of bigotry, corruption, misogyny, ignorance and blatant lack of intelligence. There are no other options, and Trump has conned enough people over the course of his life to understand how to grow initial trust, into loyalty he can exploit. What mustn’t be ignored, is that a con man need not be highly intelligent, just more so than those he is conning.
Frequently there is no reasoning with a Mad Hatter. There are no facts or logic that penetrates the awareness of his supporters. They have no interest in engaging in inspection of his claims, instead of ingesting his faulty defense and regurgitating his mantra of fake news regardless of the presence of evidence to the contrary. His svengali – like hold is dangerous and damaging to a nation born from democracy.
The media operates as an agent of checks and balances. Donald Trump’s desire to be taken at face value is the antithesis of that philosophy. The media, by way of investigation, have the ability to disrupt and dismantle any attempts of dishonesty and corruption, while Trump has proven that these are his strengths in governing. While distorting or deriding the perspective that is given by the media, he is trampling the rules of decency and decorum. Assailing the messenger gives his base an alternate target for discourse, when he is in fact, the true origin of political improprieties.
Consider that there is no better proof of Trump’ s tactics than the sordid revelations in regards to the Russian collusion investigation, surrounding Trump’s son Donald Jr. The subject line of the email reads as follows:
Russia – Clinton Private and Confidential
Within the body of the email is the smoking gun that cannot be interpreted in any manner other than attempted collusion:
“The Crown Prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very helpful to your father.”
Undeniably, in black and white for the world to see Donald Trump Jr was offered information to influence the presidential election by a foreign power. What transpired next is a prime example of Donald Trump’s preferred defense mechanism, in all its shame.
Trump Jr released the emails after discovering the New York Times was set to release them in an expose. First came the lie. Trump Jr insisted there were no emails and no subsequent meeting. Then he admitted there was a meeting that centered around an adoption program and it was a waste of time. But I refer you to the subject line and the body of the email that clearly stated that any potential meeting was based on damaging information on Hillary Clinton. There can be no other conclusion inferred from the email. Enter POTUS who used the bully pulpit of Twitter to make a fool of himself, distorting facts that were literally etched in black and white.
As you can clearly see, Donald Trump followed his playbook of the Illusory Truth Effect and Whataboutism to the letter, in attempting to excuse the inexcusable. The unnerving reality is that this debacle only made his supporters more fervent in their defense of him. Trump’s support base, in and out of government, is delusional. They have stood by and watched him demean, ridicule and disrespect women, disabled people, American intelligence agencies, government officials, people of color, immigrants, judges and of course, the media. Yet he’s never had a bad word to say about the foreign adversary that he’s being investigated for colluding with. All while the Mad Hatters defend him in every instance of political debauchery.
There comes a time when you have to sever the lines of communication with a person who chooses to live in ignorance. It’s virtually impossible to help someone who doesn’t realize that they need help. Donald Trump’s army of Mad Hatters currently fit this diagnosis. The only solution is to allow them to wallow under a cloak of lunacy until their Dear Leader is removed from power. Perhaps finally seeing Donald Trump led out of the White House in handcuffs, for unthinkable crimes committed against democracy, will provide an effective antidote for sufferers of Mad Hatter Syndrome. Perhaps…