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Win or Lose?
I continue to be plagued by the nagging fear that my quest is futile. Seeking to fully understand the mind of another seems like such folly. And yet, I continue to try.

I long to know: What is going on inside all those MAGA heads?

Now, you may think that my quest is already a waste of time. Not because their motivations are ineffable, but because these people are not worth the effort. I don’t want to hurt your feelings here (I am, after all, a bleeding-heart liberal), but that is not a very nice attitude. As liberals, we must try to understand those who disagree with us. That is, after all, what makes us superior.

I know, I know…these feelings of moral superiority are the very thing that the MAGAs hate us for. Unlike them, however, I can cite hard, scientific evidence (as well as sound religious doctrine) proving my superiority. And yet, even while I am doing that, I can’t help but feel guilty for feeling so superior. This is why I love being a liberal!

Anyway, back to my possibly hopeless quest. I have noted over the last few years, going back to the early days of the Tea Partiers, that MAGAs seem to derive particular pleasure in “owning the libs.” Causing us to be angry, frustrating us, making us feel bad. Even if they suffer for it. I had always dismissed this desire as mere childish meanness — typical of the cruelty they seem to thrive on. I had dismissed it as a symptom of some deeper psychological malady.

Then I read something by David Von Drehle in the Washington Post that got me thinking. He pointed out that Sarah Matthews testified that on January 6th — when she and everyone else were begging Trump to call off the dogs — she was told he couldn’t do it because that would “give a win to the media.” Not because it wouldn’t be a good idea, but rather that the act would make his enemies feel good. Not only must he win, but also we have to experience defeat.

I’m guessing that Trump’s followers understand this completely. You might say it’s the other side of the “own the libs” coin. In both cases, either success or failure is defined by how events make the enemy feel. Not how it helps you or benefits the world as a whole, but in how it affects the liberals’ state of mind. This was a revelation to me.

All this time, while I have been trying to imagine what is going on inside all those MAGA heads, my feelings of superiority may have been blinding me to an obvious truth. As I tried to figure them out, I assumed that they weren’t spending even a moment wondering what was going on in my head. But now I see that is not true. They care very much about the inside of my head. In fact, my feelings are what they care most about in the whole world!

Do I feel bad? — that is their greatest hope. Do I feel good? — that must be avoided at all costs! It seems that we liberals are living rent-free in their MAGA heads…even though we wouldn’t be caught dead in such a tacky place.

In short, we own the MAGAs — lock, stock, and morally inferior barrel. Without even trying! It’s really sad, if you ask me.

So sad, in fact, that I feel these terrible pangs of guilt over it. Along with a rush of superiority, of course.
Yes, voting matters. Polls do not.
~ H, Santa Cruz