Teri Kanefield @Teri_Kanefield Author, lawyer (U.C. Berkeley). My threads are here: terikanefield-blog.com/ My author website is here: www.terikanefield.com/ Oct. 06, 2018 3 min read

(Thread) Trump and his lies

[First 8 tweets are some notes from the Snyder Speaks series/ YouTube]

Fascism always begins with clearing the horizon of factuality.

The fascist clears away facts & starts with myth—usually the nation’s mythic past and future destiny of greatness.

1/ Trump naturally and gracefully inhabits a world of fiction.

When Trump had to grapple with reality, he never actually succeeded. He was a business failure.

He has, however, been successful when pretending to be something he isn’t.

2/ For example, he was good at pretending to be a successful business man.

He doesn’t understand the rules of reality. When he has to deal with reality, he fails.

But he understands the rules of fiction. He knows how to create a compelling story.

3/ For Trump, there’s no such thing as lying because there’s no such thing as truth.

For him, we’re all in the story together. His task is to make the story a good one.

[From me: Think of storytelling: Characters in conflict; good v. evil.
Trump is the hero of his own story.]

4/ Trump brings us into his world by constantly saying things that are not true.

A typical politician lies now and then—but the politician understands that there is actually truth.

Not Trump. For Trump, there is no actual truth.

5/ Trump’s 1st step as president: change the office so the presidency is no longer addressing reality. The presidency is just about the story he is creating.

Step 2: Tell his followers to distrust everyone else: He is the only one they should believe. Deny everything else.

6/ With this kind of president, it’s difficult to have anything like democracy.

Fascism doesn’t recognize individual human beings who have thoughts.
In fascism, people form tribes.

Politics becomes about aligning ourselves with a tribe, and deciding who the enemy is.

7/ The enemy is defined by way of a ritual. A chant, for example. (Lock her up?)

Right now, the U.S. is tipping toward a regime change.

When democracy is working well, it doesn’t matter so much what we do.

8/ Should America become a full-on authoritarian nation, what we do won’t matter at all.

Right now—at this in between point—what we do matters a lot.

[End of notes from Snyder]

OK, then, what can we do?

A few of my takeaways: Hold on to reality. Stay grounded in facts.

9/ Avoid anything that smacks of a conspiracy theory concerning Trump & his supporters.

Reject tribalism. We are not the enemy of Trump’s followers. Trump's followers are not our enemies. We're all Americans.

10/ Some people know Trump is lying, but they fall in line anyway.

Unless someone rejects as a lie the NTY report of tax fraud, i.e., it’s clear Trump was never a successful businessman.

11/ Some people, like McConnell and the Congressional GOP pretend to accept the lies because they benefit personally—which is partly why historian Christopher Browning says future historians will see McConnell as a “gravedigger of Democracy.”
 https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/10/25/suffocation-of-democracy/ 

12/ Other people fall in line with the lies, even though they know that they’re lies, because—as Sarah Sanders explains, the lies get to what they see as a “greater truth.”

More on that here👇

13/ Many people who believe the lies are victims of top-notch propaganda.

Some are by nature authoritarian. But they're born & made that way. & they're only roused to cruelty when a "leader" stokes their fears, so the leader is the problem.
More here👇

14/ From How Democracies Die: The only way to save democracy is by using democratic means. If both sides play hardball (abandon democratic norms), we have the situation in Chile in the 1970s, which lead to Pinochet’s brutal dictatorship.

But Chile is a topic for another day.


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