(Thread) Destruction was the Point
I’m not conservative, but I think I can explain.
GOP leadership knew they were lying when they said Obama unethically profited from a book written after he left office.
They also knew birtherism was a lie.
1/Some members of the GOP believe all the lies.
Most—like Joe Walsh—pretended to believe the lies because they knew the lies were destructive.
And they wanted to destroy.
Trump—a human wrecking ball—is the natural result of 50 years of GOP destructiveness.
2/ Why did they want to destroy?
Scholars Oliver Hahl, Minjae Kim, and Ezra W. Zickerman Sivan, in “The Authentic Appeal of the Lying Demagogue,”
People who want to destroy the "political establishment" experienced a "crisis of legitimacy”
3/ This “crisis of legitimacy” happens when people no longer believe the political establishment serves “real” Americans (like them) and instead champions the interests of “others.”
Obama was, to them, the symbol of a political establishment gone wrong.
So they lied about him.
4/ When reactionaries lie, they justify the lie by saying that the lie points out an important truth⤵️
Birtherism points out an important "truth": Obama wasn’t a “real” American.
"Obama was corrupt" also pointed out what they saw as an important truth:
5/ Obama—because of who he was (educated, intelligent, competent, and black)—symbolized a world turned upside down.
I understand it this way.
There are two views of American history, the liberal view and reactionary view.
I mean “liberal” as in ⤵️
6/ The liberal view of American history goes like this:
America started out with some good ideas, but unfortunately, they only applied to a small group: well-educated white men.
Then, over 250 years—through the heroic efforts of great men and women like Susan B. Anthony . . .
7/ . . . Thurgood Marshall, MLK Jr, and others—“we the people” expanded to include more and more people.
The transition from the top image to the lower image was good thing, bringing us close to the ideal of liberal democracy.
View #2: The Reactionary View, is the opposite.
8/ According to this view, America, in 1789, was orderly and good with lots of personal liberty.
For reactionaries, 250 years of American history is the story of something being lost, something vital being taken away from them.
The past was good. The frontier was wide open!
9/ If you wanted land, just grab it!
There weren't many laws, so people (white men) could do what they wanted.
MAGA = take America back to those days.
How do they reconcile white-male-rule with “we the people” and democracy?
They don't like democracy. They say things like ⤵️
10/ They think nature forms a hierarchy & white men belong on top: white women and other races are better off under the dominion of white men.
John Calhoun, U.S. Vice President under Andrew Jackson, explained that slavery is a “positive good"
11/ According to this view, since 1789 others have been encroaching on the personal liberty of white men, and upsetting the balance.
Liberals see the New Deal as good: minimum wage, social security, the VA bill helped eliminate income inequality and created opportunity for all.
12/ Reactionaries see such legislation as an evil encroachment on "personal liberty."
Minimum wage, according to this view, infringes on the liberty of people to enter contracts. If a person is willing to work for 2 cents an hour, that's none of the government's business.
13/ Reactionaries have been trying to roll back the New Deal.
They hate all the government regulations put in place in the past 100 years.
You can't roll a country backwards and get rid of regulations and regulatory agencies without being destructive.
14/ Nancy McClean in ⤵️ talks about the rage felt by many when the Supreme Court in 1954 (Brown v. Board of Education) held that segregation in schools was illegal.
People were furious that the Supreme Court would try to tell people how to live their lives.
15/ The Civil Rights movement (ignited by Brown v. Board) and the women's rights movement threw the reactionaries into a destructive panic.
In response, the GOP turned into a full-on authoritarian / reactionary party. See⤵️
And here we are.
Timothy Snyder explains ⤵️
Liberals over the past few decades bought into a myth, which goes like this:
The future has been determined: America will continue becoming more inclusive and diverse.
History is a river carrying us along . . .
. . . we don't even have to row. (This is what Snyder calls the Politics of Inevitability)
When the myth breaks—when, for example, Russia selected our president in 2016, a president trying to undo all the progress of the past 50 years— liberals are shocked.
They believed . . .
. . . Jim Crow, the KKK, etc, were forever relegated to the fringes.
Politics of Inevitability took away responsibility. (We don't even have to row!)
The shock ("this is all new!") combined with giving up responsibility explains why so many people feel helpless dispair.
Sources for @TimothyDSnyder's ideas, this book⤵️
Or if you prefer a lecture, this one . . . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aERXL6ZQKFE …
. . . contains his key ideas.
His point: Transitioning from a Politics of Inevitability to a Politics of Responsibility is the key to saving Democracy.
All my threads are blog posts. You can see this one here: https://terikanefield-blog.com/two-views-of-american-history/ …
I've also started posting my threads to an author facebook page, if anyone prefers that: https://www.facebook.com/terikanefieldauthor/ …
You can follow @Teri_Kanefield.
Tip: mention @threader_app on a Twitter thread with the keyword “compile” to get a link to it.
Enjoy Threader? Sign up.
Since you’re here...
... we’re asking visitors like you to make a contribution to support this independent project. In these uncertain times, access to information is vital. Threader gets 1,000,000+ visits a month and our iOS Twitter client was featured as an App of the Day by Apple. Your financial support will help two developers to keep working on this app. Everyone’s contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support Threader by becoming premium or by donating on PayPal. Thank you.