Monthly Archives: June 2022

Biting My Tongue

Last week I traveled to Ohio to see my nephew and his young family. These folks were flying in from Europe with their kids. I hadn’t seen them in 4 years and was happy to see the little ones, especially.

Why Ohio? Because the parents of these relatives live in Ohio and so they would be staying there. These relatives (very close relatives) who live in Ohio are fervent Trump supporters. Members of the cult. Unmoving in their love of the Donald.

So, I was determined to keep my mouth shut.

There was really no point. So, we avoided all discussions of politics. Which was hard for me. As anyone who knows me can relate, my ability to keep my mouth shut when it comes to politics takes an enormous amount of will power. And will power is not my strong suit.

For two days we hung around saying nothing of import. Nothing of consequence. Very uncomfortable.

It is hard to have relatives who have fallen into the cult. But it raises some issues.

Were they always racist and Trump just allowed that to be used as a badge of loyalty? I suspect so.

Were they always anti-democracy, authoritarian and willing to give loyalty to a tyrant? Evidently so.

Did they always hate the concepts of liberalism which gives them a good life today? I guess so.

It is ironic to me that these relatives still support the tyrant. Still hate all things liberal. After all, they both are supported by Social Security.They both have Medicare. They have safe lives. Members of their family get benefits as retired veterans, earned, from the military. They live on a safe street in a safe neighborhood. All the things liberals have fought for and the conservatives have opposed. And they hate liberalism.

I recall a conversation I had with one of them a few years ago. She talked about how she would never vote for Hillary Clinton. When I asked why her answer was that Hillary should have divorced Bill when his affair was exposed. Hillary had no integrity. She only votes for people with integrity.

Then, this relative proceeded to vote twice for Donald Trump. A serial sexual offender. A man who changes wives and girlfriends like changing the oil in your car. He was her hero. He loved America. Boys will be boys.

So, they have gone down the rabbit hole and are lost. They will never crawl out. No amount of evidence or facts will change their minds. A cult. Lost to a cult. Lost.

So, I seldom see or talk to these relatives. I do think they are racists although they will not admit it. (I should add that they really hated Obama). I do think they have lost all ability to consider evidence. They live on a steady diet of Fox . No need to watch the January 6 hearings, Fox will tell them what to think. Like the “See no evil, hear no evil” monkeys. Closed to ideas. Loyal followers.

So, we have no relationship except on the most surface levels. Close relatives. No longer.

I have to stay silent. I have to bite my tongue. Ouch.

11 Comments

Filed under Conservatives, government, Hillary, liberals, Neoconservative, Politics, Social Security, Society, Trump

Trump’s Chimps

When Jane Goodall first studied chimpanzees in the wild she learned that they are peaceful animals for the most part. The problem with her first study was that it was limited mainly to female chimps, including the very good mother, Flo.

As time went on and more data was collected it became evident that chimp behavior could be anything but peaceful. Especially among male chimps vying for power. I say male chimps because unlike bonobos the males are bigger , stronger and more aggressive than females. And unlike gorillas, our more distant relative, the common chimpanzees live in larger groups with multiple males.

The political power structure of chimps centers around groups of males, supporting each other. One male chimp stands above the others. He achieves this role through violence and intimidation. He makes the other male chimps cower before him. Then he uses that collective power to maintain control of the group.

In order to keep that power he must continually reassert his dominance. Once in a while a younger chimp may challenge him. At that point his gang comes to support him and fend off the challenger. At some point, however, when he starts to get old and vulnerable another chimp will successfully challenge him and become the new leader. Demanding the same allegiance from the group. Subserviant males would approach the ruler and hold out a hand in demonstrating their complete loyalty.

Of course there will be males who simply leave the group run by the bully. It was noted in the group that Goodall studied. A number of males left the original group and went to an adjoining territory. The original males , led by their boss, tracked down the other males. But they did not attack them as a group.

They waited until they found a male alone, then the entire gang systematically attacked and beat the ex-patriot to death. They did this to each male as they found him. Ambushed. Brutal gang attacks on lone males. Those murdered males had been part of their society and probably related to some of them. The attacks occurred for no apparent reason since the break off group was not threatening their territory.

As we now know, chimpanzees are our most closely related primate. (Some claim bonobos are just as close or closer). Some anthropologists have suggested that human beings are, in fact, a type of chimpanzee. But, since humans make the categories they decided they were unique.

Which brings me to Trump’s chimps.

Are there some genetic components in human beings that demand the type of leadership Trump provides? Violent. Vindictive. Allowing no deviation from the leader. Total humiliation of others, even his closest supporters.

Do human beings, at least many of them, welcome the bully as leader. The tough guy who manipulates others to do his dirty work. The man who governs by intimidation.

Are democracies doomed by human DNA?

Julius Caesar. Adlof Hitler. Napoleon Bonaparte. Idi Amin. Pol Pot. Josef Stalin. Mao Zedong. Saddam Hussein. Donald Trump. Henry VIII. Putin. The list goes on.

No strong man acts alone. He intimidates others who buckle under his will. He eliminates anyone who defies him, further intimidating those around him. A technique so old and so often used that it is hard to imagine there is not some genetic component.

Perhaps Trump’s chimps are normal and those of us who believe in democracy are the outliers, genetically. Perhaps democracies are doomed to eventually give way to authoritarianism. Perhaps there is an inherent need for humans to reject the idea of group decision making in deference to a strong man. After all, democracy demands responsibility. Isn’t it easier to give that responsibility to one man and unburden the individual from thinking and acting. Easier to give up responsibility for society. Empathy is hard.

A frightful idea. That Trump’s chimps are the inevitable end game of our democracy.The “normal” ones. Encoded in our DNA.

5 Comments

Filed under Politics, Society, government, violence