Monday, September 19, 2022


Over the weekend I posted a tweet in response to a then-trending hashtag: #MarthasVineyardRacists. I got a fair amount of right-wing abuse for objecting to the faulty premise of the hashtag:

The immigrants were greeted warmly on the Vineyard, but eventually they were taken to a designated emergency shelter on Cape Cod, at a military base about thirty miles away by ferry. The Cape Cod facility is much more able to provide beds, medical care, and other necessities than anything on the island of Martha's Vineyard. This was the right thing to do -- but not according to the Murdoch media, or the millions of Americans who regard its reporting as gospel truth:

The right's message discipline on this event was unusually tight, even by normal GOP standards -- so much so that one wonders whether the planning of the Ron DeSantis (presidential) campaign stunt and the planning of the media response by his campaign's top media aides in the Murdoch empire took place simultaneously.

I expect propaganda and spin from Republicans. But this spin is so distant from the truth that it's reminiscent of what Russians believed about Ukraine at the time of the invasion. The difference is that you can't blame Russian citizens for believing that Ukrainians would welcome the Russian soldiers as liberators because they were desperate to throw off the Ukraine government's Nazi yoke of oppression -- media outlets that might have told them the truth have been suppressed and shuttered in Russia. In America, right-wingers live in a propaganda bubble voluntarily. Truthful reporting is easily available to them, a channel change or a mouse click away, but like the residents of a cult compound, they're told not to believe anything they hear that doesn't come from trusted cult leaders, because the utterances of outsiders are all lies. And that's what they believe.

I should be accustomed to the Republican embrace of unreality -- obviously, GOP voters can't agree on the objective fact that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election. But this is a reminder that the GOP voter base is drifing -- or is being pushed -- further and further away from reality every day.

Which brings me to this:
Former President Donald J. Trump appeared to more fully embrace QAnon on Saturday, playing a song at a political rally in Ohio that prompted attendees to respond with a salute in reference to the cultlike conspiracy theory’s theme song.

While speaking in Youngstown in support of J.D. Vance, whom he has endorsed as Ohio’s Republican nominee for the Senate, Mr. Trump delivered a dark address about the decline of America over music that was all but identical to a song called “Wwg1wga” — an abbreviation for the QAnon slogan, “Where we go one, we go all.”

As Mr. Trump spoke, scores of people in the crowd raised fingers in the air in an apparent reference to the “1” in what they thought was the song’s title.
Although I assume that the immigrant trafficking stunt will give Ron DeSantis a considerable polling bump, and might put him temporarily in the lead, Trump is still the front-runner for the 2024 Republican nomination -- and here's that front-runner not just giving a nod and wink to QAnon, but playing a QAnon hymn at one of his rallies, a couple of months after putting the same hymn in one of his online videos.

I always expect the worst of Republicans, but QAnon scares me, because it's a rejection of reality so extreme I would have thought it impossible except among paranoid schizophrenics. And yet millions of Americans believe that all their political enemies are cannibal pedophiles who guzzle the bodily fluids of children, and will do so until superhero Trump brings them justice in one moment of melodrama. For a while, QAnon seemed to have faded into the background in America, but Trump now seems poised to try to ride it all the way to the White House.

I know I'm supposed to be worried that the waving of index fingers at that Trump rally was meant as a fascist salute, but it didn't have to be fascist to be terrifying. Cynical hucksters are encouraging mass delusion to gain power, while using their power to create even more mass delusion. That's bad enough, even without the jackboots.

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