Beware of Trump’s Magical Mystery Tour
The list of people and agencies who are scrutinizing your personal data and Internet habits is a long one. There’s the FBI, ICE, the CIA, the NSA, the GCHQ, the KGB, Cambridge Analytica, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and a whole raft of politically rabid American billionaires. And me. I’m studying your comportment on Facebook to see if there’s anything I can learn about you and your fellow Americans.
I’ve had a Facebook account for more than a decade. Mostly I’ve used it to look up old schoolmates, post curiosities, share human interest stories and music videos, relate to other dog-and-cat people, and generally waste time. When I started writing my geopolitical blog (Trump and All the Rest) a few years ago I began publishing my political posts simultaneously on Facebook. I also shared articles that I considered valuable on the subjects of American domestic and foreign policy, stories by excellent critical thinkers like John Pilger, Robert Fisk, Noam Chomsky, Seymour Hersh, William Blum, and lately, Umair Haque.
What’s Important, Puppy Dogs or Total War?
It seemed to me that my fellow Facebookers were ignoring the posts that I considered important. Fair enough, most of what I write is critical of the United States government’s wickedness at home and abroad. So I wasn’t surprised to find that the dog-and-cat videos generated more feedback than the political articles. What did surprise me, however, was to what extent my Facebook friends ignored any content critical of the United States. There are exceptions, of course. But the vast majority of the English-speaking Facebook universe, which I consider a fairly representative cross-section of American society, flatly doesn’t want to know. It’s as if they were in amnesia mode, anesthetized, indifferent to every day’s vitally-urgent realities, or worse, in denial, at the top of a slippery slope.
What’s behind this amnesia/denial phenomenon? Have most Americans simply given up? Has the dramatic right-wing shift in their country taken all the wind out of their sails? Are they convinced that their future is limited to permanent war, caged children, miraculous end-times religion, and the dismantling of the American government as we know it?
Blame It on “Southernization?”
There’s another possibility. Maybe the American majority has switched its loyalty to what Kevin Phillips refers to in his 2006 book, American Theocracy, as the “southernization” of American politics, the adoption by a desperate, undereducated electorate of simple good-ol-boy southern values, magical fundamentalist-religious solutions, and silly logic like advocating all-out war in the Middle East in order to bring about the Apocalypse. This is where leading American politicians like Mike Pence, Mitch McConnell and Mike Pompeo originate, the Rapture crowd, and there’s a lot more where they came from.
It’s not quite clear where President Donald Trump fits into this scheme of things but he’s at least opportunistic enough to hitch his wagon to a movement that includes many millions of true-believing voters. According to a piece published on Vox.com on November 2018, 81% of white, born-again evangelical Christians voted for Trump in the 2016 presidential elections. That same article affirms, “White evangelicals continue to be one of the most reliable voting groups in the country. Even as their numbers are shrinking in the general population, their affinity with and enthusiasm for President Trump has so far allowed them to hold their numbers steady at the ballot box.”
This End Game Is Not a Game
A 2014 Pew study categorized 25.4% of the American population, which stood then at 318.6 million people, as white evangelical protestants. These numbers are not to be taken lightly. This link between fundamentalist religión and presidential politics goes a long way to explain President Trump’s fawning allegiance to Bibi Netanyahu’s ruthless right-wing Israeli Likud party which millions of American evangelical and pentecostal voters are counting on to initiate the long-awaited end-times war. This massive swamp of ultra-religious voters is too important to President Trump’s political future to be ignored.
So here we are, all of us, kneeling on the biblical brink.
2 thoughts on “USA: Surveillance, Denial and the Apocalypse”
Ross and I read your article and hear what you are saying and think the evangelical “southernization” is happening in the USA. I don’t know if you are up on ScoMo, Scott Morrison our Prime Minister, who is a Pentecostal Hillsong parishioner? He is amoral with our detention camps while raising his hands to God every Sunday! He gives himself a big raise while cutting workers pay and entitlements, has over a 1000 kids in camps on manus island and cuts government funding to pensioners! He gives off some religious BS about Christ wanting you to try harder, and god helps those that help themselves. He is spending billions putting chaplains in state schools while cutting the mental Heath budget. Australia has separation of church and state but he will do it anyhow. A disgusting individual at best but the hypocrisy to call yourself a Christian is just unbelievable. I don’t know how they sleep at night?
My family originally came ( dad) West Virginia and (mum) southern Illinois, both coal mining families with many kids. My mother and father went north to find jobs and each other at Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn, not exactly a match made in heaven but their personal shortfalls made them dependant on each other. They were the “old fashioned” Americans so patriotic that it leads to blindness. My sister who lives in a gated community (DC-Virginia) lives in that territory. When I email her if I ask about Trump or what’s going on she either doesn’t respond or claims she no longer listens to the news and doesn’t know. She falls into that catagory of amnesia. The “ patriotism” about the talk about greatest country in the World has gone silent. Once when I was in DC visiting her we were invited to a party a few doors down. People asked me about Australia and Melbourne life. When we got back to her house she told me “ she was sick of hearing how good it was in Australia!!” I was being told off when I thought I was just talking. She couldn’t take it.
I know Julie voted for Trump. I haven’t asked any questions about how she feels now. I would like to think she knows she’s made a mistake but I’m not sure. Now there’s a dichotomy. I use to think Julie was so inclusive, so how could she be sucked in by this con man? She has written that Dearborn has quite a few immigrants from the Middle East and Africa so I’m not too sure how to interpret that. I can remember Dearborn as all white and upper middle class, old money leafy green streets. I can also remember black people of “means” ie Drs, lawyers. trying to buy in there and there was outrage and violent protests. The diversity now would add some spice to the stoic whiteness, I think.
Good to hear and read your article, again you hit it on the head. Moving away from the USA was the best thing I ever did. But don’t get me wrong I like your puppy posts too!
Danielle is coming from Devon on August 1st, so we are gearing up for a family reunion. Love to Maureen
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Thanks Gina. I love feedback and coming from you, with whom I have important things in common, it’s even more valuable. Big Spanish-style hugs to you both, Mike