Evolution is trial and error, with the errors far outnumbering the successes. Evolution does not ignore failure; evolution learns from, and relies on, failure.
The realities of today are based on what evolution “learned” from yesterday’s failures. Evolution is highly imaginative, experimenting with combinations beyond human creativity.
Witness the octopus, the sponge, the venus flycatcher, the giraffe, the elephant, and the human. Witness quantum dynamics with its entanglement that even Einstein could not fathom.
Unlike human thought, nature has no pride, sympathy, compassion, or regret, which can strain comprehension. Nature is perfectly disinterested in outcomes and perfectly neutral regarding winners and losers.
Nature singularly does not care. It is amoral.
Humans argue on two levels. One level is the logical, “Which course is objectively the best?” level. The other is the emotional, “If you are right, I have lost the argument, and I am the lesser for it” argument.
Nature does not argue. It tries whatever comes along. Facts, not fiction, have all the power.
Before the Vietnam war, America’s leaders warned that if they placed American lives at risk, the loss of those first lives would prevent the war from ending. There would become, in American minds, the feeling of investment (“We can’t let all those boys die for nothing” syndrome).
It is a feeling that demands a further investment of lives lest the original investment be considered wasted.
And so it was.
The war, based on a lie, eventually cost too much, and after brutal losses, we surrendered. So many lives were wasted; so many were lost. We didn’t learn.
Thus, came Iraq and Afghanistan. The feeling of running on a treadmill toward hell permeated America. We no longer were invincible. We no longer were special. Someone was to blame for our depressed state. They had to pay.
And so . . .
Donald Trump was inevitable. He came at the right time. America had come to doubt our own myths.
We had believed in, then doubted, American exceptionalism.
While Germans and Japanese could be hypnotized by promises of returning to an earlier, imaginary time of greatness, Americans felt immune to that fancy.
We were too clever. Too realistic. Too self-reliant, yet mutually reliant.
We had won World War II. We became the wealthiest, most powerful nation on earth. We were cowboys on white horses in a world of savages. We were the best of everything, the “shining city upon a hill.”
We had a Constitution written by gods, a Supreme Court populated by ideals and truth, and a political system that was fair and strong. Because we had withstood the test of a mere two centuries, we thought we would stand forever.
Now, suddenly, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan showed us we were mere humans, neither better nor worse than the “power-mad” Germans, the “crazed” Japanese, and the “cowardly” Italians.
A vast gulf opened in our national psyche. And into that void stepped Donald Trump, who promised us he would “Make America Great Again.”
He never said how. He had no plan at all. But his very saying of it brought comfort to the most frightened and angriest among us.
This weak, draft-dodging, lying, cheating, semi-literate chiseler promised us whatever we wanted. What we wanted most was to believe.
By any scientific measure, Donald Trump is a psychopath. He passes all objective measures of that term. (See “A Psychopath Slipped Into The White House“) and “Is your favorite candidate a psychopath? How to tell.”
The Hare Test for psychopathy has 20 criteria. Trump meets all twenty, as did Hitler and Mussolini.
Trump proved that Americans, as a group, are not a superior breed. We simply are people with all the weaknesses and warts of other people. It was a profoundly disappointing lesson.
We prospered in power and wealth because of circumstance and geography, not any inherent preeminence, the absence of which should be evident to any thinking person.
Trump demonstrated that within every population, there are groups of aggrieved, anti-social, resentful, angry people, who blame their own shortcomings on others, and who welcome a leader telling them, “It’s not your fault. It’s someone else’s fault. I will protect you. I will lead you to the greatness you deserve.”
In America today, those people comprise what is known as the MAGA group. Trump is their god, and their religion is whatever Trump says it is.
They dare not admit his weaknesses for fear it will weaken them.
Present them with a fact that is adverse to their god, and their belief only strengthens.
So when the FBI discovered Trump had stolen dozens of classified documents belonging not to him but to the government, he immediately produced dozens of lies and excuses.
His followers fervently supported all of them, though many were self-contradicting.
The other Trump followers are the opportunists.
They know Trump is a liar, psychopath, and traitor, but they see in him a path to their own advancement.
This is the Republican party.
The GOP is not oblivious to facts.
They know the facts.
But they don’t let facts stand in their immoral path to power.
If you have been astounded that the revelation of Trump’s misdeeds has had little effect on his followers, it simply is because they already know what he is but don’t wish to care.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and for Trump followers the enemy is reality.
Now Trump has done us the favor of exposing our weaknesses. He exposed the electoral college system, with its patently undemocratic system. Rather than using the popular vote as a basis, it gives excessive power to chosen “electors.”
Our founders created the system as a sop to the rich and to thinly populated states to encourage them to join the union. It has proved to be an expensive gift.
Escaping a dictatorship by an eyelash and benefitting from the patriotism of a few, America and its electoral college did not replace an elected President with an unelected rogue.
The Senate is another undemocratic organization, with its rules allowing 2 people to represent each state. So you have California’s 40 million people owning an equal vote with the half million people of Wyoming.
Democracy lies in tatters.
Trump exposed the power of the mob, the mindless elation one feels upon being part of a cheering, stomping, screaming mob.
Think of Hitler preaching to his Nazis. Think of the thrill of being in a packed football stadium when the home team scores. Think of the group’s anger at a bad call by the officials.
Why the thrill and why the anger? Objectively, these should have been mere observations, not highly emotional events. But we are humans, and we feel each other’s passions. This is MAGA.
It’s difficult to express how close America has come to disaster and how close we remain. Trump remains. The MAGA;s remain.
And though some GOP rats have begun to flee the sinking Trump ship, most remain, with their surface loyalty (for they have no real loyalties) given to Trump rather than to America.
We cannot blame the MAGAs. They are just people, not necessarily evil, but more aptly described as weak and frightened.
You cannot logic them out of their dread. They are people who, rather than loving America, fear Americans. They need a leader who will stand between them and the poor, the blacks, the Muslims, the immigrants et al whom they fear.
Have you noticed that the white supremacist, fascist, coup mob carried American flags? Many, many American flags. They display flags on cars, trucks, shirts, tweets, at Trump rallies, and in the rioters’ hands as weapons.
Presumably, they feel the urgent need to prove to themselves, their fellows, and the nation that they are patriots.
The superabundance of American flags can be interpreted as “Thou dost protest too much” signs, for these people are not patriots. They hate America, or at least, they hate their perception of America.
They may be the least patriotic people on the planet. They long for an America that never was, an America where they are admired, respected, and important.
If there is one word that can encompass the mood of Trump followers, it would be “angry.” They are angry at the poor for receiving help. They are angry at the rich for looking down. They are angry at the middle-class for their perceived comfort. They are angry at their own failures.
For many, the anger that has taken over their lives can be ameliorated only by angry words from Donald Trump.
Like a religious leader, Trump provides hope for the forlorn, power for the weak, retribution for the aggrieved, joy for the depressed, and the lifting of spirits for the self-perceived downtrodden.
They are addicted to him. Take away an addict’s drugs and he will lash out at you. His logical mind knows the drug is bad, but his emotional mind doesn’t care.
That is which is why MAGA anger becomes violent should anyone express disagreement with even Trump’s most outrageous lies.
Reason doesn’t work on addicts. And now, like the citizens of Germany, Russia, China, and many other dictatorships, we have seen insanity here, in the shining city.
So thank you Donald Trump for showing us hell before we actually stepped into that black hole. Now, if only we are wise enough to have learned that lesson and can quietly back away.