Gaslighting is a covert form of psychological manipulation, cynically employed to destroy a person’s confidence in their memory, judgement or perception of reality by sowing seeds of doubt. One of the most devastating results of gaslighting is it often creates in the victim the unconscious tendency to slowly give in to the gaslighter, that is, to at first “meet them halfway” through a series of small concessions in order to make larger points. But the larger points progressively become smaller points, until one day the victim has been transformed into one of the gaslighter’s most enthusiastuc advocates.
When a government engages in gaslighting it’s called tyranny. From Nazi Germany’s deification of Adolf Hitler to North Korea’s apotheosis of their “Dear Leader” Kim Jong Un, tyrannies employ these gaslighting methods because they work. We should have seen it coming when by 2016 all you had to do was to activate a Trump supporter and they would shout “Benghazi” or “But, her emails!” Gaslighting creates a primitive, Pavlovian reaction. And it’s so effective it’s behind the complaint so often made about the Left. We don’t have the quick and clever three or four word slogans they have, all we’ve got are the closely-argued paragraphs of sweet reason. It’s not because we don’t know how to do it, it’s because we refuse to engage in it. Gaslighting is the stuff of monsters, and we are not monsters. We should stop complaining and start bragging: we don’t employ the methods of monsters. So sue us.
And so they do. When CNN published a poll Donald Trump didn’t like he sued them. In other words, Trump has so gaslighted his own people that when reality stops flattering him he gets them to take reality to court. As absurd as that might sound it is the final slippery slope of the “gaslit.” The ramp Trump so ineptly tried to walk down at West Point is a metaphor for what has happened to us: by the time you get to the bottom, momentum carries you the rest of the way.
By the way, if you think here I’m exclusively describing Trump supporters and their role of gullible complicity in all this, I’m not. I’m also describing us, you and me, the rational ones who sit on the sidelines and “see through” everything Trump is doing to us. How far we have fallen, and we have fallen as far as we have because of gaslighting. I’m old enough to remember disqualifying Dan Quayle for the job of Vice President merely because he didn’t know how to spell the word “potato.” Now misspelling words is the least of Trump’s problems. These days we let the president of the United States get away with child rape and murder.
Gaslighting has made it possible for many fellow travellers on the left to continue to support the ridiculous notion that “Biden is just as bad as Trump.” I don’t believe such people could have existed thirty years ago. Now they are all around us and in abundance, and if they have their way Donald Trump will get four more years as president.
It’s partly the media’s fault. They promote Donald Trump’s disgusting policies and overlook his ineptitude by advertising the former and ignoring the latter, at least in part. Their mistake is that they treat him with quasi-legitimacy. Many of them still misidentify Donald Trump as a brilliant strategist. I hear it almost every day. For example, Michael Moore recently spoke about Trump as if he’s some kind of master manipulator and his interviewer let him get away with it. I, for one, have an intact memory, judgement and perception of reality. I remember this “master manipulator” and what an inarticulate, incoherent, incompetent mess he is without his autocue. Trump is in fact a fool, and so is Moore for thinking otherwise. You don’t need to be a genius — stable or otherwise — to be a gaslighter.
We must respond to Trump and his people by not just forbidding them from lowering the standards of acceptable conduct but by raising our own. We must never forget that Donald Trump is a blithering idiot, a child rapist, a murderer, a thief and a liar. Our pet ideologies will have to wait. We must get rid of him in November if we are to survive. There isn’t a single progressive platform or policy that stands a chance of being enacted with Trump in the White House. Getting rid of the Trump malignancy is our first step to restoring sanity. Don’t let the Gaslighter-in-Chief gaslight you, vote him out of office. No one is as bad as Donald J. Trump. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.