The Trump Delusion

When atheist Christopher Hitchens was asked, were he given incontrovertible proof of God’s existence, would he change his position, he replied without a moment’s hesitation, “Of course I would, what a ridiculous question.” While my admiration for Mr. Hitchens is confirmed by the immediacy of his reply, I must disagree with his conclusion about the ridiculousness of the question. While I agree that any position on any topic ought to be open to immediate reversal when contradictory, incontrovertible proof comes to light, it is hardly ridiculous to wonder if it, or anything, will be enough to convince the true believer.

Those of you who know me know that I spend a lot of time “banging on,” as the British say, about the folly and dangers of conspiracy theories. It’s important that you understand that I am prepared to reverse my position on any one of them without a moment’s notice in light of incontrovertible proof that my position is wrong. No, I won’t get into an interminable, hair-splitting argument about what constitutes proof. I only say this because I cannot think of a single conspiracy theorist I have ever met who would make the same concession. I can’t imagine it any more than I can imagine a practitioner of religion agreeing, even in theory, to reverse themselves without a moment’s notice if God were proven not to exist. Because most beliefs by most people resemble religion more closely than anything else, and conspiracy theories, like the vast majority of things people believe, are no exception.

So it should come as no surprise that the narrative, expressed by many who are opposed to the candidacy of Joe Biden, that Biden is “just as bad as Trump,” remains largely unchanged in light of our recent worldwide tragedy. Not even the appalling mess Trump is making is enough for them. They are positively religious in their belief, and that belief appears unshakable.

I give them credit for more imagination than I have. Maybe they can, but I cannot imagine Biden, given Trump’s position, berating reporters for quoting statistics, or spending most of a press conference about a worldwide pandemic congratulating himself after 40,000 Americans have died. I can’t imagine Biden giving airtime to crackpot theories and unproven cures. I can’t imagine Biden encouraging Americans to protest against sane medical advice. Sorry, but that’s someone else’s reality, not mine.

But I don’t have to imagine it. I can see it for myself. I see Mr. Biden behaving responsibly, compassionately, presidentially. I see him offering consoling words and practical advice. I see him extolling the wisdom of science and condemning the dangers of ignorance. I hasten to add I am not here to award Mr. Biden a medal for his conduct. It is what I expect from the President of the United States, and nothing less. Mr. Biden comes through, Trump does not. It renders the notion that Biden is “just as bad as Trump” not only false but ludicrous. In fact it’s a false comparison. It’s like saying a decent restaurant is “just as bad as Hitler.” It’s a comparison that doesn’t even make sense.

Nothing and no one is “just as bad as Trump,” and if you haven’t figured that out by now then something is wrong with you. There is something driving you beneath the surface that is deeply malignant. No, I’m not going to concede that you don’t owe me or anyone else an explanation or a justification when you vote, either by commission or omission, for Donald Trump. When it comes to my life and the lives of my loved ones my standards for accountability have a funny habit of going way up. Donald Trump has just murdered 50,000 Americans. Tell me again how it is that Biden is “just as bad as Trump.”

If Donald Trump’s dangerous conduct hasn’t persuaded you that he needs to go then I submit that what you have isn’t a political position but a religion. You need to ask yourself this question, is there any limit to how bad Trump can get before you’re willing to concede that he’s by far the worst choice? I suspect not.

Trump must go. This isn’t a political choice, it’s a life and death choice. If Trump isn’t voted out of office in November then there will be no America left to save. Failure is not an option. Please help us get rid of him. We can work on refinements later. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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