Lately, the lowering quality of our democratic discourse has reached such a point that people on opposites sides not only espouse opposite views but also opposite realities. We have come to the point that if people do not like the way things look they can create something different in their minds and then believe it to be true.
As we see our political differences become violent confrontations, many fear for our democracy and way of life. For a country afraid, the first instinct is to strengthen our institutions because they are the first line of defense for the Constitution and the democratic order.
While that may work in the short-term, the creation and promulgation of separate realities poses a fundamental danger that goes beyond our political structure. It goes to our understanding of life as members of a civilization and its rules of the road.
The founding civilizations around the world can lay claim to a somewhat similar development of reason in the ancestry of every human being. Despite the fact that they appeared in different times and different geographical parts of the globe, they tend to have the same set of values arrived at by rational thinking.
In our planet, the development of reason in our civilized nature took the form of first breaking our original wholeness into two parts. In order to create perspective, the two parts were then gradually alienated from each other to become opposites and competing concepts in our lives.
Opposites like good and evil, light and dark, black and white, far and near, left and right, high and low, etc., create a reality range that builds a perspective and comfort in our rational life experience. Our actions as well as the strength of our humanity are measured between those opposite parameters.
Our socialization process generally teaches us to act on what is “light and good” and repress what is “dark and evil” in our tendencies. We develop rules to encourage the “good” and punish the “bad.”
What happens however, when people change the rules of perspective to brand the “good” as “evil” and “evil” as “good?” This is what has being going on with the Trump lies that reached 30,573 by the end of his term.
This form of brainwashing has been common among prisoners of war. There are more subtle versions done by advertisers to convince consumers to buy something they don’t need.
The final traumatic event of this process is the “big lie.” The Soviets and later the Russians used the “big lie” to sell their brand of political control and governance as superior to all others.
The “big lie” told by former President Donald Trump even before he won in 2016 and lost in 2020 was the notion that the elections were rigged. The lie has caused major trauma and confusion because it is advanced and believed by his followers as the truth.
This, however, represents something much bigger than an attack on our democracy and its institutions as it is also an attack on our reason and membership in the life of the civilized.
Successfully trying to offer the lie as the truth is sowing major confusion in an American landscape that is already divided by the circumstances of history. In this reality heroes can be villains and villains, heroes.
The chaotic outcome of this condition can destroy the notion of structure and the suspension of time. The resulting timeless moment is the essence of chaos and the destructive forces of a revolution.