Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Russia Teaches America the "Ugly Truth"

Facing Facts About Trump Voters
No, they're not Russians.
But then...what are they?

Plenty of things have been "concluded" as the Russia - Trump connections have gradually "drip, drip, dripped" into the light of American understanding. Most of this "material" has been about just how nasty the Russians have been and just how much treasonous "collusion" has gone on between Vladimir Putin and his orange skinned, Kremlin "asset" now ensconced in the Oval Office.

All of these revelations are important.

However, there is an even uglier demographic "causality" lurking in the shadows behind all these outrages. To get a clear picture of that, we'll need to set aside our grisly fascination with Trump's treachery and Putin's geopolitical avarice. We will need to turn our attention to the [Clinton: 65,844,610 (48.2%), Trump: 62,979,636 (46.1%), Others: 7,804,213 (5.7%) source/DailyWire63 million Americans who voted for him. 

Who are these people? Why did they do this?

That, of course, may represent little more than a conveniently academic question at this point. However, there emerges an even more important question now that the damage has been done. Although the election results are in, and the new President is now seated, the Trump supporting voters who shocked the world are still there -- still grumbling about in the beer halls and trailer parks all across "forgotten America."

But...what are they grumbling about?

This question presents the point of this post.

The First Ugly Truth

What Trump Supporters "Wanted"
and What Trump Supporters "Got"
For some reason their election victory still leaves
 them far short of the delirious joy they were expecting.

A little "ancient history" will probably help to clarify the "edges of the mystery." MeanMesa is old enough to have been quite active during the disastrous Vietnam War. That war looked endless during the 60s, and politics -- driven largely by massive, continuous protests -- became directly focused on the positions held by politicians concerning what to do with this endless, brutal conflict.

Importantly, the anti-war political sentiment very clearly centered the politics contemporary to the time on this "burning question of the day." Political candidates were supported or opposed based on their respective positions about the war. Among MeanMesa's anti-war peers political candidates were supported because they, too, were against continuing the war. A political victory would have been the result of an election which resulted in ending the war.

Unhappily, although this outcome finally materialized years later, there was no "hammer breaking the anvil" moment when a candidate was elected who would quickly change the nation's course on the issue.

Now, returning to the demographic of Trump supporters, we see a fascinating, historical dissimilarity. The Trump supporters, unlike the highly focused anti-war movement of the 60s, didn't seem to want anything in particular. There didn't seem to be any particularly discernible result they were seeking by casting ballots for the President. There was not anything the newly elected President could have done to satisfy the "will of the people" or "meet the needs" of these supporters as a repayment for their votes.

Instead, there was very little of any substance at all beyond the lumbering series of talking points Donald Trump very artfully employed during his campaign rallies. The historically common question after his election might -- during more normal times -- have been "When will he deliver on his promises?" But in this case those campaign "promises" were so elusively immaterial and gaseous that no one in Trump's base of voters even seems particularly able to answer this question now that he's been elected.

The first ugly fact is becoming clear. It is evidence of a shocking nihilism.

Even if Trump had turned out to be a somewhat competent politician, he would have still been unable to deliver something -- anything -- which could have even begun to satisfy what seemed to be the "demands" of his voter base -- "demands" which fired so much passion among them during the campaign.

The Second Ugly Truth

"Disgruntled and Alienated"
Is Not Enough Of An Answer
The political analysis is frighteningly shallow.

Although the political analysis of "what happened" has been intense, there remains an "elephant in the living room" which has remained mysteriously absent from all the theories. The questions driving these various analyses focused on the "reasons" that so many wouldn't vote for Hillary or the "reasons" so many stayed home in November. 

These analyses took a "second, more penetrating look" when these simple explanations seemed to be falling flat. The ficus shifted to specific features of "life in the red states," "life in the fly over states," and "life in the rust belt states." The addition of these further details seemed to fill in the gaps of the more generalized models, but there still seemed to be something missing in the equation.

Then the first credible news of the Russians' involvement began to develop. The analysts breathed a sigh of relief. 

The beginning of the explanations of the impact of Russian involvement in the process focused on hacking and revealing "testy" emails held in Democratic Party computers, but the sheer inertia of American electoral politics had survived such embarrassments in fairly good order a number of times prior to this instance. The domestic American media had been carrying stories of the release of embarrassing emails for years -- since the first appearance of factors such as Anonymous and WikiLeaks.

To many of those watching this story become struggling to become more complete, the "abundant foliage in the forest of reasons" began to, once again, look a little forlorn. MeanMesa couldn't agree more. The story still seemed to lack any "cute photos" of the elephant.

Oh Golly! Should there be an investigation?  [MeanMesa]
It turns out that that "elephant" is, actually, the unavoidable harbinger of The Second Ugly Truth.

Sure, the US communications technology offered the Russians a standing vulnerability. Additionally, the US infatuation with social media [This blog is posted on BLOGGER -- a social media.] offered open access to a monstrously huge potential audience for the Russians. The Russians have always been propaganda opportunists, putting a masterful finish on the art during the Cold War which, clearly, remains today.

MeanMesa even supposes that it's quite fair to even denounce the oligarchs who own the Russian Federation as a thoroughly wicked, maleficent gang with the wild ambition to spread their autocracy as far and wide as possible.

However, the narrative falls apart when we try to "blame" what happened in the last disastrous election on Russian maleficence. It's probably better to think of this as rats penetrating one's granary. Although the outcome is very unpleasant, the rats were, well, "just being rats." The Russians were "just being Russians."

This leaves The Second Ugly Truth stranded in an open field for all to see.

The Russian Federation provided the resources and the perpetrators, but our own US social culture provided the demographic vulnerability.

Finally arriving at this realization even left MeanMesa in a momentary daze. This old American had greatly underestimated the size of this demographic quietly nestled in the darker corners of the American population. What "demographic" is this?

Uninformed: This is a demographic which has consistently isolated itself from any -- even mildly -- objective news. The members of this demographic have no idea what is actually happening all around them.

Alienated: This demographic has a constant mind set that it is being victimized, even if the details are as cloudy as its perception of the reality around it.

Uneducated: This demographic lacks sufficient education to be able to skeptically identify what is being presented as fact or as "news."

Trump, probably under the proffered tutelage of the same Russians, capitalized on this artificially developed psychology of those in this demographic during his campaign. 

They didn't have good jobs, but they also couldn't do much. A high school diploma isn't much of a career foundation in the 21st Century.

They, generally, didn't know why they had health care. They had no understanding -- or interest -- in the details of the legislation which had been provided them with whatever coverage they had. Many of them have difficulty reading, a fact which explains their frustration with the ACA. The details required by the policy seemed to insult them at every turn.

They had been groomed by decades of incendiary media which provided them with a bizarre perception of reality and an infuriating explanation of why their lives were so difficult.

As is usually the case with people in this situation they were dangerously racist and xenophobic -- and they were maintained in that state of mind because it was useful for the politicians who wanted to exploit it. This was useful to Trump while he was campaigning, and, thinking of the superfluous "rallies" he's conducting after election, it remains critical necessary for him now that he's in office.

The President has a voter base of around 1/3 of the population of the electors in the country.

This Is NOT a "Russia Problem"
OR a "Technology Problem"
This problem is much broader than mere technology.
We probably can't keep the Russians out,
 so we must become much less vulnerable to propaganda. 
The actual problem is a lack of interest.

There has already been plenty said about "reaching voters," "motivating voters," or about "getting people to the polls." These are, most likely, reasonable avenues of consideration, but the mere fact that such "reasons" need be considered reveals much more of an explanation of why our democracy is faltering.

MeanMesa really doesn't care if a voter is disgusted with the current politics or has lost faith in the current state of the democratic system. What's needed here is a little perspective -- unhappily, that means perspective made possible by even the smallest amount of education about what's actually going on here. Perhaps a little geography so that American voters know what's going on elsewhere would assist one of these tantrum soaked "not for me" voters in being slightly more interested. Perhaps a little history might present a more convincing picture of exactly how remarkable the US experiment in democracy really was.

Does anyone know who this guy is? [image]
The simple existence of 63 million voters naive enough to swallow the twisted media narrative -- with or without the further augmentation provided by the Russians is "driving the nail of a final verdict" through the wide spread pretension that American public education is actually producing something which might possibly serve as a population of interested and informed voters.

Trump is not a surprising "twist of politics." Trump is the result of a population with a frightening large percentage of voters who are dumber than a bag of hammers.

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