It may surprise you, but I have friends who are Trump supporters.
OK, they’re primarily Facebook friends, but still.
In any case, a guy I will call Jorge (not his real name) has been clogging up my social media feed for years now with rants about how Trump is unspeakably brilliant, and liberals are hypersensitive haters, and China is plotting with AOC to force everyone to be bisexual—or something like that (I lost track of all the craziness).
Until a few weeks ago, Jorge was adamant that Trump was the most super-patriotic president ever and would one day be regarded as the savior of the nation.
And then a bunch of racist, wild-eyed goons in face paint attacked the Capitol.
Soon after, Jorge offered a meek defense of the President’s behavior, but mostly stayed very, very quiet. Then a week or so later, Jorge posted what he said was his last Facebook post. He insisted that the platform had gotten “too negative,” so he was quitting it. He looked forward to everything “getting back to normal.”
And just like that, it was as if his years of cheering for Trump had never happened.
Jorge made it all go away.
A similar phenomenon is happening with conservatives across America.
You see, for “the majority of GOP officials, apparatchiks, and commentators who sacrificed their dignity at the altar of Trump, a collective case of amnesia seems destined to set in the moment he leaves office.”
It’s important to note that conservatives are not disavowing Trump. They are not denouncing anything he or the GOP did, and they have shown no signs of regret.
Rather, conservatives are simply dismissing the chaos of the Trump years, and the massive failure of yet another GOP president, plus the hollowness of their whole movement, by pretending that the last four years were not really that bad.
His supporters, including Republicans implicated in the Capitol riot, “are downplaying the attack on our government and suggesting that impeaching the president or holding accountable the lawmakers who helped the attack is ‘cancel culture.’ ”
The hope, of course, is that four years from now, voters will not remember the widespread death and economic collapse that occurred on the GOP’s watch, and that Americans will forget about Trump’s narcissistic depravity and grotesque incompetence. Right-wingers hope that people will focus on the good stuff—like God and fluttering flags and owning the libs. Oh, and remember those rallies where MAGA types cheered while the President insulted his enemies? Yeah, those were the motherfucking good old days, all right.
When looked at in this way, “Trump’s race-baiting, corruption, and cruel immigration policies—not to mention his attempts to overturn an election—are treated as minor subplots, rather than defining features.”
And that’s why my friend (or more accurately, my former Facebook friend) Jorge can just put all this messiness behind him. He no longer needs to defend Trump. He no longer feels like debating the horrific consequences of his support. Yes, America has gone to hell, but that’s not Jorge’s problem—or Trump’s problem, or the GOP’s problem, or Fox News’ problem.
There will be no introspection or the basic acknowledgement of bad decisions. And there certainly will never be apologies or admissions of guilt. There will be none of that.
Because it’s like all of it never happened.
Featured image: AFP/Getty Images