“You can’t fix stupid.”
That’s a favorite saying of my friend Suzanne, one of the members of the little bridge group I was in. And with several years in law enforcement, including as a hostage negotiator, she has the goods to validate that observation.
No, I’m not going to say that all those who voted for Donald Trump were stupid. They had/have their reasons, especially back in 2016.
For instance, shortly before that election, I got into a small debate with someone and made my usual snide comments about Trump’s un-fitness for the presidency, assuming she was also a “never-Trumper.”
Wrong. Her reply: “He’ll get us jobs.”
That then was the key. Trump was touted as this incredibly successful businessman – a fantasy, but one he constantly fanned as fact. So when he promised more jobs, that hit – or rather uncovered – a critical nerve, one that the Democrats failed to mine.
Additionally, it fed into the belief of many Americans who think of government as a business. This of course suggests that government operates to sell stuff and make a profit. Ha-ha to that, since the Trump administration, even before the pandemic, ballooned our national debt, and sold masses of disinformation, while Americans buy more and more goods made elsewhere.
But at the time of this little debate, America was still struggling to rebound from the Great Recession, unemployment was still uncomfortably high, and “More jobs” made lots of sense for pro-Trumpers.
And so four years later, the most clueless of Trump supporters storm the Capitol so that January 6, 2020 is likely to live in the history books as the day, and place, of the largest compacted accumulation of stupidity – and stupid people —in America.
This stupidity began with their use of social media to announce what they planned to do, not just with subtle dog whistles but overt description of the mayhem they planned. And, as it turned out, the Capitol authorities demonstrated their own brand of stupidity, missing — or worse purposefully ignoring — the “intelligence” that could be gathered so easily off something called the Internet . . . until much, much too late.
And then there was the riot itself, the participants willingly photographed as they broke windows, assaulted police, invaded the offices and congressional chambers, stole laptops and documents, generally acting like the idiots they are.
Of course, many of these numbskulls wanted to be photographed acting like deranged toddlers. They wanted to be video recorded and then posted on social media and in the national news, to validate what bad a—s they were and heightening their nut job bona fides for their fellow morons.
In doing so they were only following Trump’s lead, assuming a total lack of real consequences. (And we can only hope that they will be punished to the very fullest extent of the law, to provide a different message, that this behavior won’t be allowed without punishment, the punishments ranging from lengthy prison time to broad social shaming.)
And then there’s the result of the riot itself – a total FUBAR. The participants rampaged around, threatening hangings, kidnappings, assassinations and, in particular, disruption of the day’s main business: the validation of Joe Biden as the new U.S. president. None of this happened.
But the rioters’ did manage the worst with this incredible display of stupid: one of their sympathizing number shot and killed, three others dying due to heart attack or stroke, and a police officer (policing generally considered a representative of Trump’s call for “law and order”) murdered and several injured.
And then there’s the stupidipity of their enablers. How absolutely dunderheaded are the congresspeople who abetted and aided the rioting, potentially putting their political fates in the hands of crazies and nutjobs, apparently expecting that this would in some way burnish their political fortunes (not to mention then huddling mask-less with their fellow congresspeople so as to infect them)?
But let me get to the BIG STUPID, the very biggest of all – and perhaps not fixable: the belief that in some way, somehow, several millions of votes were stolen, overturning the results of one of the most successful elections in U.S. history, in terms of the numbers voting, on both sides. And they embraced this lie without needing a single shred of evidence, simply the statement of one man, a proven serial liar.
To those continuing to accept this delusion, I’m here to sell them some other really cool things they’ll want to snap up: a lottery ticket guaranteed to win millions, the Brooklyn bridge, and a secret formula for making gold bars out of dog poop.