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It's Just a Theory
Just for fun, why don’t we try a little conspiracy theorizing? I know…it requires blindness to the truth, a complete rejection of common sense, and the nullification everything that the scientific method has ever revealed. But it must have something going for it if almost half of the country is doing it.

Let’s make one little change, however, from the usual m.o. of the hoax folks. Instead of trying to justify our deep feelings of grievance and supposed persecution, why don’t we mobilize our imaginations to conceive of conspiracies that are designed to make the world a better place?

We’ll start right in the middle of today’s headlines. If you are on the left of the political spectrum (why else would you be reading this blog?), then you are probably frustrated with the antics of Joe Manchin right now. He seems to be the only thing stopping the surprisingly liberal agenda of Joe Biden from getting through Congress. Well, not to worry. There is something secret and wonderful going on in the smoke-filled rooms of Washington, D.C.

This whole drama with the filibuster and HR-1 and the silly infrastructure soap opera are just part of an elaborate scheme to save American democracy and the economy in one political masterstroke. If you can just step back for a moment and take in the whole picture, it’s really the only explanation that makes sense. Believe me, everything is going to be just fine.

And then there’s the global warming hoax. No, not the one you’re thinking of. I’m talking about the hoax perpetrated by scientists all over the world and their co-conspirators in Big Media. Their aim is to make you believe that lots of people don’t believe in science. Again, let me stress that these plotters are not motivated by greed or revenge or hatred. Instead, they want to make sure that we are adequately concerned by the possibility of a hot Earth and the end of civilization.You know, so we don’t get complacent and begin to backslide in our recycling. It’s really kind of obvious when you think about it.

I mean, that’s got to be it, right? Why would any person who lives in this world of wonders made possible by science ever question that science works? I, for one, eagerly await the successful completion of this covert effort by the press and the scientific community to make all of our lives better.

Finally, one last example: taxing the rich. Very shortly, I believe, this decades-old secret planning that has been going on among public officials of all political stripes will finally bear fruit. The rich, the well-to-do, and anybody else with way too much money will begin to be taxed at a rate commensurate with the benefits they receive from living in a free society. The result (it almost goes without saying) would be better for everyone, including the rich. The wealth gap would shrink to practically nothing, the oppressed would be lifted up, the economy would take off like a rocket, and we would all be on our way to heaven on Earth.

I’m not sure exactly when all of this will roll out, but according to my sources on Chatface, WhatsApe, and Darkweebly, it could be as early as next week. Doesn’t that sound splendiferous?

So you see, this whole conspiracy thing doesn’t have to be the sole province of the cruel and mean-spirited. Pollyannas and Goodfairies like you and I can play, too! It’s gonna be great!
Go!
All things considered, I think our relationship is pretty healthy. We seem to work pretty well together, at least, and we have learned to accept each other’s shortcomings.

I can only speak for myself, of course, but I don’t sense any serious doubts or resentments between us. There is never the slightest hint of blaming if I refuse to honor her ideas. And if I become a little cross if her advice proves faulty, I know she won’t harbor any ill will.

Apologies are not necessary from either one of us. I can’t honestly say that ours is a relationship built on trust, but there is a mutual assumption that we are both trying our best to reach a common goal.

We are different in many ways, but those differences are what makes our collaboration work. I’m a big picture guy, she’s a number cruncher. I’m goal-oriented, she’s all about the journey. And, perhaps most important, I am a man of mature years, and she is a relatively young automobile navigational device.

Don’t laugh; I don’t know where I’d be without her…but she does.
That Bad Smell
In case you haven’t noticed, we have a new president now. By any measure I can think of, that is a good thing. Even so, it will clearly be expensive and time-consuming to repair all the damage the former guy and his confederates have wreaked on our country. Indeed, the damage continues even now.

I have resolved, however, not to obsess about the previous occupant of the Oval Office. For my own mental health, I prefer to simply let him fade away like a bad smell. That mindset, unfortunately, has been difficult to maintain. The smell permeates everything, and I find my mind being drawn toward notions like justice, and righteousness, and the rule of law. And — I must admit — to punishment. For wrongs committed and for corruption of the good.

These are not bad thoughts per se, but left unchecked, they can lead back to the very obsession I am seeking to avoid. So I have adopted a new article of faith to guard against such temptations. It is simply this: 45 will avoid accountability for all of it — as he always has. There will be no jail time, no fines, no loss of influence other than by the passage of time and the world moving on. He will skate on all of it.

For some reason, I am finding that my acceptance of this as an outcome is oddly calming. It relieves me of the need to follow his every move or to keep track of the thorny legal jeopardies that entangle him. I don’t have to pay attention to his awful family or despicable defenders. Most of all, I am free of worrying whether he will ever get what he deserves. He won’t.

Let me be clear that I do not want to discourage those who are pursuing justice through investigation and the law. I cheer their efforts. But they will be fruitless. That is what I have chosen to believe.

This leap of faith has been a real time-saver and a cooling balm for my peace of mind. Better yet, should my article of faith ever prove to be ill-founded, if the Mar a Lago monster is made to take responsibility for his crimes, then I will be treated to a pleasant surprise and encouraged to believe that all is not lost and that better times lie ahead.

And if you were to ask me whether I care if he has a lamb chop duct taped to his butt and is towed through shark-infested waters or whether he is dipped in molten beryllium and dropped into the Marianas Trench or whether he is simply spayed, I will answer that I just don't care even a teeny, tiny bit.
But Why?
I will take, as my prime example, Rudy Giuliani.

Rudy had a morally spotty, albeit brilliant run as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and went on to become the mayor of New York City. He ran for president and actually led in the Republican polls for a while. In the days following 9/11, he become a symbol for American toughness and resilience.

His tombstone, had his public life had ended there, would have read “America’s Mayor,” and he might have received grudging respect even from his enemies. His legacy was certainly secure enough that he could spend the rest of his days as an elder statesman — a source of political savvy well beyond his own party. But that did not happen. Instead, he boarded the Trump train. Why?

In retrospect, it was a very poor decision. It is impossible now to think of Rudy Giuliani without that rivulet of hair dye flowing down his cheek, or of him holding forth in front of the Four Seasons Landscaping Company, or spouting wild-eyed gibberish on Fox News. It seems, furthermore, that some sort of grimy, quasi-traitorous criminality will soon be added to his lasting image in posterity. Right now, that tombstone is more likely to read “Craven Buffoon.”

Rudy seems to have made this choice freely, even eagerly. Indeed, large numbers of Republican politicians have followed the same course. I can understand their rationale for the short term — curry favor with Trump, and thereby keep their power — but what about the long term? I can’t imagine the Trump train heading anywhere but toward political oblivion. Unless this country falls into an abyss of authoritarianism and decline, these people will surely end up in the same cemetery of shame with Rudy.

Or so it seems to me. With the exception of Chris Christie and Bill Barr and the ever-slippery Mitch McConnell, however, they have made the calculation that no one will care or remember that they are serial liars and frauds. Chris and Bill and Mitch went with a simple show-me-the-proof strategy. That would seem like the perfect way to get out from under Trump and still keep your clout. Why the rest of them opted instead for total buy-in, I do not understand. It’s just so stupid.

Or maybe it isn’t stupidity, exactly. Rudy Giuliani isn’t stupid, I don’t think. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz aren’t stupid. You might argue that the people who actually believe the election was stolen (unlike Josh and Ted) are IQ-challenged, but I have come to believe that plain old stupidity does not explain that, either. So what is the answer to this puzzle? What is causing people to make such bad errors in judgment?

I have an answer, but I don’t really have much confidence in it. I don’t think I will ever really understand what is going on with these people. Anyway, my current theory pins the blame on some deep self-delusion. They want something to be true so badly, that they will believe it in spite of the evidence. For the Trump supporters, it’s the Big Lie (and all the other lies, no matter how easily disproven). For the seasoned politicians, it’s the belief that they can inherit Trump’s glory, such as it is. In both cases it’s nuts, but apparently they just can’t help it. So they just tell themselves that, despite the facts, the fantasy is real.

I’m still a little challenged to explain why they are so easily tempted by self-delusion. I don’t know anyone like Rudy Giuliani. I don’t have the slightest idea what kinds of dark motives are surging through him. I cannot grok his state of mind because I have nothing in my life to compare it to. The cultist mind of Trump followers is equally mysterious to me. Whether it manifests as part of Jim Jones’ People’s Temple or the world of MAGA, it is utterly alien to me. And yet, almost half the country is there, drinking the Kool-Aid.

In either case, I still come back to “why?”. Yes, it’s self-delusion, but so what? Yes, they’re cultists, yes they’re shameless political opportunists, yes they all live in a world of make believe. But it still makes no sense.

Maybe I should be glad of that. If it did make sense, then I’d be on the Trump train with them, and all of us would be headed for the abyss.
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Trump supporters are people who know what they believe.
~ JC, Bonny Doon