Trump vs. the elites
A few weeks ago, I was watching Chuck Todd, and the first half-hour of Meet the Press was devoted to Liz Cheney. It was the typical tirade: malevolent Donald, threats to democracy, false claims of election fraud; however, with the help of Chuck and the truth-telling press, we can save the republic for truth, justice, and the American way. Once this country is finally rid of the scourge of Donald Trump, the media elites will be back in power again, the Old Guard will have been restored; the whole universe will have a wondrous, glowing aura about it, and life will be in balance once again.
The problem is, human beings can think. Whenever I hear Chuck Todd or George Stephanopoulos or whomever tell me Donald Trump is a threat to democracy, I immediately think he and others like Steve Bannon are not a threat to democracy, but they are a threat to permanent elites — media elites who hate Donald Trump because he won't kowtow to them.
The problem is, no one believes the truth anymore, and a huge swath of our society rejects the truth no matter how many times it is stated or written. There is an old maxim: "If they don't trust the messenger, they don't trust the message." However, members of the press, as an institution, clearly believe that if they say it often enough, refuse to acknowledge the elephant in the room (the deep credibility gap between the institution and everyone else), this will make the elephant go away.
Most of history does not work this way. A credibility gap tends to get worse, not better, if it is not acknowledged. Those non-elites, non-aristocrats, non-powerful, not only do not hear what the microphone blasts at them, but start to resent it, realizing that the message is coming from a class of rulers that they despise.
And then there is Donald Trump, who lashes out at these powerful elites and their omnipotent institutions that keep them in power. Donald Trump is believed because he says what the deplorables are thinking and have been thinking for a long time. So, even though he is a billionaire, in a weird sort of way, he seems to think what the deplorables think, and he speaks what no one else dares to say, so he is one of us. He's a deplorable. Plus he fights, and he has guts. Most of the presidents for the last half-century have quaked in fear of the massive power of the media elites.
"The press is the enemy of the people," Trump once said. I would refine this maxim to this: the press is the enemy of freedom.
However, there is another more powerful force here, and that is fear and intimidation. Thirty-seven thousand employees at the FBI will make certain that if the de facto ministry of propaganda fails to convince anyone of the truth, then this institution, the FBI, will make certain that the truth is indubitable and will last in saecula saeculorum...forever and ever.
Image: NASA/Bill Ingalls.