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I am trying to understand

By Steve Wall • Guest Columnist | On Sept. 10, 2020, Donald Trump greeted a cheering crowd in Freeland, Michigan, with these exact words: “We brought you a lot of car plants, Michigan! We brought you a LOT of car plants. You know that, right!”

This was greeted with excited cheers. So I have to wonder — did many of the people in the crowd realize there were no new car plants built in Michigan during the Trump administration? Were any aware that over 3,000 workers in the Michigan auto industry had lost their jobs since 2017?

Of course many knew this, but cheered anyway.

When epidemiologists like Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota worried in March 2020 that we could face 200,000 deaths from COVID-19, I found it hard to believe. I didn’t want to believe it. 

But now we are on track to suffer over 300,000 to 400,000 deaths before a vaccine begins to calm this storm. Six Vietnams. President Trump and Vice President Pence, however, have been congratulating themselves for months about “turning the corner” and the “perfect” job the administration has done. Did Trump supporters not hear his voice recorded by Bob Woodward admitting that he lied blatantly to the American public months ago, and that the virus was going to be much worse then he was going to publicly explain?

Of course they heard this, but cheered anyway.

When Trump had his big (two-thirds empty) rally in Tulsa (ignoring that the same week commemorated the anti-Black race riot of 1921 that killed and lynched between 150 to 300 Black people), among the cheering crowd was former Republican presidential candidate and Trump supporter Herman Cain. Trump claimed that “no one” gets sick at his rallies — it’s all a hoax.

But Herman Cain died of COVID a few weeks later. Did no Trump supporters hear of Mr. Cain’s death? Was it even reported on Fox News?

Of course they heard about it — but they cheered “hoax” anyway, and threw their masks away.

When armed thugs plotted to kidnap and possibly murder the duly elected governor of Michigan, did folks not see Trump cheer for his crowds to “lock her up”  and encourage armed gangs to “liberate” Michigan, completely overthrowing the rule of law that this country was founded on?

Of course they saw this, but cheered “lock her up” anyway.

So I am trying to understand why people cheer what they must know are obviousand dangerous lies. 

Now Trump is making wild claims, refuted by election officials of both parties in almost every state, that millions (!!!) of ballots were corrupted. But wait a minute — these same “corrupt ballots” elected hundreds of local, state and national Republican candidates. I guess there were just two different elections with different ballots from the presidential election. NOT! Can’t folks face this obvious falsehood?

Of course folks can comprehend this contradiction — but they cry “stolen election” anyway.

So I am trying to understand. I believe most Trump supporters are hard-working, family-loving people, who would gladly help a neighbor in need. Yet there is a need to believe in this dishonest, self-absorbed man who uses the Bible as a prop, who hides his financial dealings with foreign players, who boasted on camera of his friendship with child rapist Jeffrey Epstein, who a smiling Trump mentioned “he likes them young.”

But still they cheer and believe him.

When Trump declared that doctors make a lot more money by writing down “COVID-19” on faked medical charts, did folks think their own doctor would do this? That it was really happening?

Of course people who think for three seconds know this is a lie — but they cheered anyway!

So is it really worth it? Is the Trump Team that wonderful that you can ignore facts and take seriously insane cult conspiracy theories? Like about the Clintons and Bill Gates harvesting organs of abducted children and liberals drinking their body fluids to give them eternal youth or some other idiotic nonsense? 

Of course most Trump followers — who pause for a moment and take a deep breath and think — know the truth. They know that what has replaced a legitimate political party is beginning to look like a North Korean or Soviet Russian cult of the personality of the Great Leader.

But they cheer anyway. When will they stop?

(Steve Wall is a retired pediatrician who lives in Waynesville.)

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