Yes, we’ve all been there.
At some point, we’ve all been jammed into the uncomfortable position of reconciling our sincere beliefs with unpleasant facts, with the result that we are often found wanting.
For example, some of our greatest artists are horrible human beings. But we still buy their books and see their movies.
We preach sustainability, but when there’s no recycling bin around, we’ll throw that soda can in the garbage.
And we say we’re compassionate people who detest bigotry, but then we support white supremacy and calls for violence.
As it turns out, maybe we haven’t all been there.
You see, we’re closing in on the election that will decide if America is going to crawl out of the intractable quicksand of oligarchy, racial warfare, and religious fanaticism, or if we’re going to happily cannonball into the abyss.
And Trump supporters have made it clear that they are having no crises of conscience, no blinding epiphanies, and no moments of hesitation.
When our cacophonous chief executive told the Proud Boys to “stand by,” this pack of neo-Nazis responded by shouting, “Yes, sir!” And rather than glance around at the company they are keeping, and growing alarmed about it, most Republicans just shrugged and mumbled something about Hunter Biden and creeping socialism.
It is just the latest in an unending string of lemming-like behavior that, way back in 2016, might have caused us to wonder how anyone could be so delusional, hypocritical, and abhorrent.
But we have now come to accept that 40 percent of our fellow Americans will rationalize just about anything rather than flick on the neurons that provoke empathy, logic, or introspection.
These are people who are furious that “illegals” don’t pay taxes (even though undocumented immigrants “pay billions of dollars in federal taxes annually”). However, their fake billionaire dodges his taxes for years, and that just makes him “smart.”
One would think they might be disturbed that a privately owned U.S. immigration detention center in Georgia forcibly sterilized immigrant women. But then conservatives realized that we’re talking about brown-skinned women, and anyway, unauthorized hysterectomies without anesthesia are completely justifiable because Trump is simply carrying out God’s will.
And the threats that Trump will not leave office even if he loses, and that his minions are plotting to undermine democracy? Well, in a refrain that has become farcical, we hear that Trump “doesn’t really mean it.”
It must be exhausting for Trump supporters, constantly spinning their president’s deranged threats into patriotic virtues, and insisting that everyone is a malicious liar unless he works for the administration or Fox News.
They might view their perpetual churning of reasons and motivations as charming complexity, or an example of the inherent contradictions of being human.
But the rest of see a bunch of hate-filled zealots eager to sell out their supposed principles just to say they owned the libs.
You see, being a Trump supporter “is about winning at any cost, cheating and subjugating. It’s about unraveling the culture in service of just one aim: victory over the others.”
The rest of America can do nothing except futilely hope for the president’s acolytes to snap out of it, and come to their senses. In this sense, it is we who are standing by. But our wait will be endless.
Featured image: Doug Mills/The New York Times