Former President Donald Trump is gone from Washington, but he leaves a following of millions who reject verifiable facts and logic in order to keep Trump’s lies alive. Because so many of his followers also own guns and have demonstrated a willingness to attack disbelievers and derail democracy, a dark future awaits America unless something miraculous happens to make them come to their senses.
Trump, embracing the philosophy that there’s a sucker born every minute, exploited the naivete of his followers at every turn, repeating his lies so many times that even he apparently began to believe them. He also exploited believers in an online oracle known only as Q, who portrayed Trump as a modern-day messiah leading a secret battle to root out Satan-worshiping, cannibalistic Democrats running a child-kidnapping ring.
Joining them are neo-Nazis and white supremacists who come equipped with their own twisted version of reality.
No amount of logic and facts seems capable of dissuading these followers from believing that the most unpopular president in modern history could actually have lost on Nov. 3. If something doesn’t happen to reverse this mass belief in myth, America seems destined to descend into a spiral of madness. No nation can remain governable if such a high percentage of its citizenry rejects logic as basic as: How could Trump’s election loss be due to vote fraud, while down-ballot Republicans were legitimately elected to the Senate and House on those exact same ballots?
Trump and his army of mythmakers, including Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, have so twisted the concept of truth and logic that they endanger the survival of American democracy. Those who still allow themselves to be guided by facts find themselves stifled by local Trumpist loudmouths. And what’s more terrifying than mobs whose members, known to amass guns, descend on Washington stating a willingness to go to war to defend a lie?
Thousands of them overpowered police and invaded the Capitol building on Jan. 6, resulting in five deaths. This mob, including cop killers and accessories to murder, rifled through desks, stole secure documents and threatened to put members of Congress on trial.
The truth-deniers are trying to bully the majority into exasperated silence, helping ensure the record of their and Trump’s lies never gets fully corrected. Well-educated people, including at least one St. Louis college professor, have joined their ranks. Consider Valerie Gilbert, described by The New York Times as a Harvard-educated writer and actress who is convinced that the world is run by a satanic group of pedophiles. There is no reasoning with any of them.
The traditional method in politics to move the nation forward is to engage in dialogue and a give-and-take compromise. But there can be no such compromise when it means truth and logic must be corrupted to meet the other side halfway. Therein lies the danger.