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AltScalesOfJustice @AltScalesOfJust
, 36 tweets, 8 min read Read on Twitter
I have a lot on my mind, and I hope you will all bear with me as I share my thoughts about @realDonaldTrump’s supporters, his #MAGA base, and what it all means for America. I suspect this will be a long thread, so I apologize in advance. [1/x]
I know most people are not as familiar with Narcissistic Personality Disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder as I am, so are not as sensitive to the signs that @realDonaldTrump shows. So I try to give his followers some benefit of the doubt. [2/x]
I think Trump's base actually believes he is telling the truth, that he cares about them, and that he cares about loyalty. They believe that he is a great businessman, and that he is a man of high integrity strong enough to publicly say the things they really believe. [3/x]
It continues to amaze me that supposedly intelligent Americans can listen to the things @realDonaldTrump says, see the evidence that shows he is lying (or even just ignorant and making things up) and yet continue to keep believing him, trusting him, and adoring him. [4/x]
If we are ever going to be able to heal the rifts in our society, though, we are going to have to understand them. First, many don't see the evidence of @realDonaldTrump's lies in the first place. [5/x]
The information sources his base has come to rely upon don't share them. For example, the evening Manafort and Cohen each became 8-time felons, the @FoxNews webpage had a huge headline that Tibbetts' killer was an illegal immigrant. Mentions of Manafort/Cohen were buried. [6/x]
The few information sources Trump's base use omit the details that show Trump's dishonesty, or how his actions are unethical or illegal. So they never see that. [7/x]
And to the contrary, those sources spin everything he does as making America great, fighting the establishment, and speaking the truth that nobody else is willing to say. His base just hears how Trump is their hero [8/x]
If they do hear opinions or facts that are not favorable to Trump, they've been taught to dismiss them. They're fake news. They're the "swamp" trying to take down their man who is fighting the establishment on their behalf. It's the "deep state" conspiring to remove their messiah
I hear how Trump's base view him, and how they see him and those around him. Some of Trump's most vocal supporters are, in fact, Russian trolls or bots. But let's face facts. Russians led the disinformation campaign in 2016 and before, but they have been terrifyingly effective.
Many of the most vocal supporters of Trump and the disinformation are now real Americans. They listened to the propaganda. They truly believe it. They are 100% convinced that @realDonaldTrump is on their side, fighting the establishment for them. [11/x]
They truly believe that anyone who doesn't see that is just gullible and has been tricked by the evil mainstream media. Anything supportive of Trump is real. Anything critical of Trump is fake and part of the "deep state." Anything that disagrees with him is fake news. [12/x]
America's free press is the enemy of the people. America's law enforcement is corrupt and can't be trusted. Our intelligence agencies are the evil "deep state" attacking real Americans. Russia has been terrifyingly effective at turning about a third of Americans against America.
I really don't know how we can fix this in the short term, other than trying to stop the ongoing disinformation campaigns. But the damage is done, and trying to stop them just plays into the narrative that the "deep state" is trying to censor them and silence "the truth." [14/x]
But I really believe the long-term solution is education. There is no way to characterize all of Trump's supporters, but I believe there are a few common themes, and many go back to education. [15/x]
Many of @realDonaldTrump's #MAGA base have not been educated in psychology, sociology, or marketing and are not familiar with the tricks commonly used to manipulate emotions and beliefs. They don't see how those tricks have been used so effectively on them. [16/x]
They have not been taught to critically evaluate the reliability of the information sources, the likely biases of those courses, THEIR OWN BIASES which every person has, and how to interpret information through all of those filters to look for the underlying objective truth.
They have not been educated about major personality disorders, and how to spot behaviors that are warning signs of them. They have not been educated in logical reasoning methods, and how to use them to look past emotion and what they WANT to be true. [18/x]
They have not been educated in common logical fallacies, and how to notice others using them, and how to avoid falling into the trap of using them themselves. [19/x]
And underlying all of that, many have been taught a complete disdain for education entirely. It is for the snobbish elites, not "real Americans." They don't need education from "liberal institutions," everything they need to know is in the only book that really matters, the Bible
Everything other than the Bible is seen as unnecessary, or even heresy, and is to be avoided. Moreover, everything other than THEIR INTERPRETATION of the Bible is heresy. I've heard a Southern Baptist say that Catholics and Lutherans aren't Christians, because they aren't Baptist
I don't see any short-term solution for changing the minds of the Americans who are now @realDonaldTrump's #MAGA base. All potential solutions that I see would take a long time, just as it took a long time for them to come to have the beliefs they hold [22/x]
But we don't have to change their minds to protect America. We can counter them for now. We can mobilize and become as vocal and engaged as his base, and simply overcome them with numbers, in the voting booths, in social media channels, in the town halls of small, rural America.
The most important change we need to make as a culture is to try to spread broader acceptance of, respect for, and desire for education. And to add teaching of logical analysis and reasoning, logical fallacies, basic marketing strategies and human behaviors into public education.
That kind of wide-spread education about how humans can be manipulated, how to spot others manipulating them, and ways to use logic and reason to see through it will be the vaccination that inoculates us against the kind of sustained information warfare campaign Russia has waged.
I'm not optimistic that will happen, even in the medium-term. So much of America still feels disdain for education, or even threatened by it. Science, logic, & questioning can't be seen as heresy. The Bible can't be used as a litmus test for what can be taught in public education
And the driving forces behind those views are the Southern Baptist churches and other hardline evangelical churches. It used to be that people in those small towns had no information sources other than their local ministers, their local newspapers, and each other. [27/x]
So they weren’t exposed to broader world views. Now even small town America often has social media access. So far, it has just enabled echo chambers. We need to push social media platforms to break down the echo chambers. [28/x]
Then use social media as the first line of reaching out to the rural areas, and letting them see the wide range of thoughts, and opinions, and beliefs there are around America and around the world. [29/x]
And give them information they can use to start questioning what they hear and what they know. Start putting small cracks in those walls they’ve built around themselves. Over time, exposure to other people and thoughts will help to crumble the walls. [30/x]
And other Christians need to lead that push, and speak out more broadly against the extremist elements of the evangelical Christian churches. Reclaim your religion from those who have been making it synonymous with the Religious Right and intolerance and bigotry [31/x]
Mark Twain’s quote: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the Earth all one’s lifetime.”
There is so much truth to that quote, but unfortunately many do not have the means or opportunity to travel. But now we have the technologies to help bring the world to them. [33/x]
We need to push social media to stop enabling the closed echo chambers, and encourage exposure to broader ranges of information and views. (For BOTH the far right AND far left.) We need to encourage education, and healthy debate of differing opinions. [34/x]
“Moderate” “Independent” “Bipartisan” “Compromise” "Cooperation" Those have become bad words, for both the far right and far left. They are mocked as weakness. THAT is what we have to most urgently fight. [35/x]
Education helps people to see a broader range of perspectives, and to understand that there can be merit, even to views they disagree with. And that working together is NOT weakness. Working together is the only way we will heal and keep our country strong. [36/36] {END}
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