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A NECESSARY EVOLUTION: From mayhem to mindfulness and meaning

BEN ALTER  /  JANUARY 26, 2021  /  6 MIN READ

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Today’s world is confusing and conflicted. We have people in leadership positions who substitute fantasy for fact. We have people being told that the U.S. presidential election was stolen, when the Department of Homeland Security has stated that the 2020 presidential election was the safest in the history of our country.

These same people who assert that the election was stolen established the previous president as their leader, towards whom they developed loyalty and allegiance. Who would choose to be loyal to someone who lives in a world of fantasy and delusion, rather than someone who deals with what is real?

What this delusional leader did was to put into practice the teaching of the Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels. Goebbels’ assertion was that “if you tell people a lie often enough, over time, people will come to believe the lie to be the truth.” 

What does this mean? It means that if it is stated by the leader that the election was a fraud, that the election was stolen from him and that he had actually won the election, then the followers of this leader will believe that the election was a fraud and that it was stolen. 

If the leader says that global warming and the pandemic are a hoax, then the message to his followers is that the global warming and the pandemic are a hoax, not real and nothing to worry about.

Is this how people really behave and come to discern what is real from what is not? In fact, this is how conspiracy theories are given their birth. Who are these people who support Trump? Many of these supporters are drawn to him because of what he says, how he behaves and what he represents. His followers wish they could behave as he does.

Many are closet bullies and full-blown racists, men who look down on women and view immigrants with disdain. Many of them are white supremacists who feel that they have been mistreated and forgotten by their government. Trump supports such people and has pledged that “I am with you” to such white supremacist groups as the Proud Boys. He even pledged that he would be with the rioters as they went to attack the Congressional buildings on January 6, 2021.

It is clear that without an aware, educated citizenry, we are open to chaos and confusion. Such behaviours destroy what we are about as an American society, our way of maintaining our governmental structure and institutions, and our means of improving upon them. Trump and his enablers have only highlighted their need to be at the front and centre of the confusion and conflict they created for their own purposes.

On January 6, Trump fired up a mob of rioters and told them to go to the halls of Congress to “stop the steal.” He asserted, “You’ll never take back our country with weakness.” He told his supporters, shortly before they knocked over fences and forced their way into the Capitol building, “you have to show strength and you have to be strong.” He further admonished his supporters to “fight like hell.”

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