You have probably heard or read at least one comment, recently, to the effect that Trump is ‘out of touch wth reality’. Why should that surprise anyone? Because, when you think of it, what the Trump administration serves to do, is shine a bold, unflattering light on the flaws of our own society. Trump shows us that we are losing touch with reality, and worse still, we seem not to care.
One thing that we all share with the Trumpster is that we are human. And it is a truism that humans, whatever their politics, are emotional beings first and foremost. This can make for discomfiting twinges of conscience when our actions or desires—to have more money, more privilege, more space, more material excesses—are somehow out of line with our innermost moral compass, and this is true even for those who are out of touch with that compass.
Take a breath, look around you, and consider Fake News, ‘Alternate Facts’, and Trump. These are all symptoms of our increasingly ephemeral relationship with reality. As we create a new reality, we create a context in which we can take questionable actions, give in to our greed, ego, and self-interest, with a clear conscience. Thus, we choose a world view where:
- The safety and privileges accorded to us because of geography and chance, are somehow our birthright (thus, refugees are not worthy of being saved);
- Immigrants are potential terrorists (so we can keep ‘our’ land and our social structure all to ourselves)
- Indigenous women are hypersexual beings (so we can rape and abuse them)
- Indigenous people in general are less than human (so we can steal their land and its resources, fail to listen to them when they try to rein in our excesses, incarcerate them in disproportionate numbers, and, yes, sometimes murder them with impunity)
- Blacks and other visible minorities are criminals (so we can incarcerate them, thereby preventing them from voting, and get free labor from them while in prison. Did slavery really end, or just metamorphose?)
- Palestinians are Hamas (so we can turn away from the pictures of bloodshed and bulldozers, and continue to be best-buds with Israel)
- And on, and on.
If necessary, we rewrite history (as in, The Holocaust never happened), or we leave huge gaps in the history books. For example, the Korean War. (Huh? Never heard of it! And while we’re on the subject of Korea, tell me this: Why do the North Koreans seem to have a bone to pick?)
Trump is indeed out of touch with reality. He has rejected reality so that, now they we have conferred on him the status of the Most Powerful Man on the Planet, he can exercise that power to start wars, and engage in pissing contests with other powerful and unhinged people, with impunity. Without any inconvenient twinges of conscience.
What about you and me?
Maybe it is time that we asked ourselves, How do we see the world? And why do we need to see the world that way?