The Dog Who Caught the Car

The more we learn about the failed coup attempts at the U. S. Capitol this past January 6, the less honorable the actions of the coups’ leaders appear to have been.

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that the mob had succeeded in capturing the joint session of Congress and had intimidated them—whether through the use of zip ties, Confederate and neo-Nazi flags, “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirts, thrown fire extinguishers, broken glass, or a combination of the above—into changing the will of the American people into an electoral win for Donald Trump. Given the propensity of those folks to replace critical reasoning with passionate hatred, Spirited Reasoners must conclude that we would now be learning what happens when the proverbial dog catches the car.

Having lost all their battles in courts of law, the mob would now feel free to impose its will against any judge with whom they chose to disagree. And, having superseded the duly elected legislative branch of the United States government, they would be free to announce the promulgation of any law they deemed fit.

Given the many Trump flags among mob leaders, we can assume they would accept Donald Trump as the dictator of the newly declared Confederate States of America, now single-handedly in charge of all three branches of government. No more of those messy checks and balances! One branch is all we need.

Funny how so many of those same folks screamed about President Obama acting like a dictator, all because he signed the Affordable Care Act into law after it was passed by both houses of Congress. They didn’t stop making that claim, even when the law was tested and found constitutional by the U. S. Supreme Court.

Why is it that those mob leaders and their enablers so readily check their critical reasoning skills at the door in order to drink the kool aid offered by the Cult of the Extreme Right? Upon hearing those leaders speak, one concludes that most of them do, in fact, have brains. Why, then, are they so willing to jump down rabbit holes in search of conspiracy theories rather than accept the plain facts offered in front of their eyes? Or, to put the question a different way, why do they think differently from the Trump-appointed judges who have laughed Rudy Giuliani’s cases out of their courtrooms?  

Before we answer that question, we need to widen our focus to include at least a large percentage of the 75 million Americans who voted for Donald Trump, all of whom were apparently willing to ignore his tweets and other predictions warning that January 6 would play out exactly the way it did if he lost. Why are so many of those people willing to accept a palpable falsehood; viz., that Donald Trump won the election “by a huge amount”?

One answer is that the vast bulk of Trump support comes from places where reliable sources of media information no longer exist. I grew up in a small town of approximately 10,000 people. We had a daily newspaper edited by a man who had earned a college education and was careful to base his stories in provable fact. Since he lived in our same town, he knew the area and could instruct his team of reporters to address such stories as local births, weddings, and deaths; high school clubs and athletics; city and county government; entertainment, civic involvement, and business activity. State and national news, to the extent he deemed it worthy of local consumption, was carried courtesy of U.P.I. or A.P. news wires. But over the last 30 years, most newspapers of that size have either been bought by large corporate syndicates, downsized to weekly editions, or gone out of business.

The point here is that folks living in small towns and their surrounding areas must now rely on media reports originating from big cities—reports these people view as biased toward the thinking of liberal city slickers. Or, they can look for some competing source of information. Hence, the argument goes, their ready acceptance of any right-wing source that takes a contrary view, especially one that puts those pointy-headed city folk in their place.

We’ll take a look at some other possible answers in future posts. For now, I will simply posit the perfect symbol for the enablers who honestly believe the Capitol Hill insurrectionists were out to save our country. That symbol will be that of a young man with an American flag painted on his face. He will be wearing no shirt but will sport a bison helmet with horns. Around the image of that man will be the following engraved motto: “Don’t confuse us with facts. Our minds are made up.”