On June 17, 1858, Abraham Lincoln accepted the Illinois Republican Party’s nomination for a seat in the U.S. Senate. In his acceptance speech, he famously said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure … half slave and half free.”
Racism had enabled Whites, apparently guilt-free, to enslave other human beings. More than 150 years later, with racism still a force in America, we’ve come to another critical divide, not as cruel, not as inhumane, but dangerous for us all. That’s the divide between illusion and reality.
This democracy cannot survive, half crazed and half sane.
Republican senators had two opportunities to join their Democratic colleagues in convicting an inept, corrupt president after he was impeached by the Democratically-controlled House. Hostage to Trump, Republican senators refused.
They then could have joined their Democratic colleagues in creating an independent panel to investigate the unprecedented (and, until the age of Trump, unimaginable) attack on the Capitol on January 6th. Hostage to Trump, again they refused.
That’s head-in-the-sand insane. The Republican party has been hijacked. It lives in the world of Donald Trump's illusion.
Meanwhile, while Trump continues to hawk the notion that the Dems "stole" the election, a video surfaces in which the Texas attorney general happily takes credit for Trump's win there. He simply blocked the distribution of mail-in ballots in selected areas, he tells us. Then there's also the inconvenient fact that federal judges rejected or declined to hear 61 of the 62 lawsuits in which Trump attempted to overturn election results in states Joe Biden won.
The Time of Magical Thinking
Analyzing stages of child development, Jean Piaget, 20th century Swiss psychologist, identified early childhood as a time of magical thinking, a time in which a child believes that what he or she wishes will affect actual events. Piaget theorized that most children emerge from that stage around the age of 10.
But as Trump continues to claim he’ll be “reinstated” as president soon, I wonder: Is Trump stuck in this stage, the time of magical thinking? And is this “stuckness” reinforced by a Republican party that has taken him to heights that, by any objective is beyond his scope? Do Republicans truly believe their only power comes from a guy
whose support depends entirely upon their surrendering independent thought and action?
If so, they become powerful, ironically, only by becoming powerless.
Think of the consequences …
What Motivates Voters?
Still, there’s the question of what motivates the voters to cast their ballots for such a transparently selfish and unprepared man.
Science journalist Tanya Lewis, writing in Scientific American, says “What attracts people to Trump? … The reasons are multiple and varied, but … developmental wounds … make the leader-follower relationship magnetically attractive. The leader, hungry for adulation to compensate for an inner lack of self-worth, projects grandiose omnipotence—while the followers, rendered needy by societal stress or developmental injury, yearn for a parental figure. … When a highly symptomatic individual is placed in an influential position, the person’s symptoms can spread through the population through emotional bonds, heightening existing pathologies and inducing delusions, paranoia and propensity for violence—even in previously healthy individuals.”
In Plain English ...
In other words (and more crassly), it’s akin to the relationship between Jim Jones and the 900-plus members of his cult who “drank the kool-aid” in a mass suicide in Jonestown in 1978.
It should come as no surprise that Trump’s hunger for adulation is driving him to resume prematurely his “rallies.” I suppose they fill a need for a man once characterized by an interviewer as having achieved something remarkable: “an existence unmolested by the rumbling of a soul.”
Thoughts for Our Time
“Conservatism discards Prescription, shrinks from Principle, disavows Progress; having rejected all respect for antiquity, it offers no redress for the present, and makes no preparation for the future.”