(Thread) Looking evil in the eye
12 package/bombs have been sent to former presidents, a secretary of state, leading Democrats, CNN & others.
Trump turns the incident into another way to criticize the media.
2/ Trump gives no indication that he'd care if, say, Obama was assassinated.
Okay, so, what does Trump do when he goes to work each day?
He isn’t concerned with bettering the lives of the citizens by making sure they have basics like health care and better education.
3/ A fascist leader is not concerned with bettering the lives of the citizens. Fascism is about hierarchy—those at the top have power, those at the bottom are loyal. They don’t WANT those at the bottom to be upwardly mobile, which creates instability and threatens them.
4/ But you can’t tell people THAT. So you tell them a good story. You tell them that their enemies are going to get them, and they need the Leader to protect them. More here 👇
5/A fascist leader finds ways to direct the ire of his supporters toward "others" preferably those with different skin color or religion:
He persuades them that, say, asylum seekers are a threat to national security, not attempts to assassinate opponents.
6/ Profs. Stenner & Haidt explain how people can believe that a domestic bomber is a minor story while a group of brown-skinned asylum seekers a threat to national security.
They explain the "authoritarian dynamic."
7/ Basically, Trump is cynically exploiting the fact that a certain percentage of people are hardwired to have strong emotional responses to normative threats (threats in which there is no outward evidence of danger, but which are deeply frightening to those who fear diversity).
8/ Meanwhile he honestly doesn't care if his political opponents have been targeted for assassination.
He (and the right wing) are only worried that the assassination attempts will make the Trump-GOP look bad and create sympathy for Democrats.
9/ They’re not too worried, though: They have their followers conditioned to accept any lie at all.
Think about that: By conditioning their followers to accept any lies, they have entirely inoculated themselves. They can get away with anything.
10/ Some right-wing thinkers dismiss the bombs as “a few malicious jerks” and think the story is overblown.
The rest of us feel off balance.
We’re all reeling.
People know this isn’t normal, but it’s hard to drill down to the actual problem.
11/ I argued yesterday that Trump is cynically (deliberately and methodically) using a set of fascist techniques to gain power.
I think we need to use the correct word for what we’re seeing.
12/ What do you call it when someone:
1. deliberately uses tactics for consolidating power
2. including a willingness to perpetuate cruelty on minority populations
3. for the purpose of enriching himself
4. and inoculates himself by conditioning his supporters to accept lies
13/ There is a word that predates modern psychology: It's evil.
We can't persuade Trump’s supporters that he doesn’t have their best interest at heart.
They truly believe he is protecting them from danger.
Perhaps we should see them as victims of insidious propaganda.
14/ What we can (and should) do, I believe, is educate those who can be persuaded, but don’t understand what is going on.
Help them see that Trump is cynically using standard fascist techniques to gain power — and that he has no intention of using his power for good.
You can follow @Teri_Kanefield.