I have gone through many emotions since the last election. Last night, after listening to Press Secretary Sean Spicer desperately defend his boss, it suddenly hit me: I am going through a stage of mourning. I lost my father when I was 26 and I now feel a similar enormous loss, but this time the loss is one of confidence. We cannot believe the person who acts as the American paterfamilias, the person we look up to protect and defend the Constitution of the most powerful nation on earth.
Spicer was on television yesterday trying to walk back Trump’s accusation of the Obama administration wire tapping Trump Tower during the election. This is just the latest conspiracy theory trotted out by the Commander in Chief. Lest we think this is just the prattling of a warped mind, the increase of conspiracy theories in the news cycle is a reason for alarm. Ivan Krastev discusses this in his op-ed, “The Rise of the Paranoid Citizen,” in the New York Times.
“Conspiracy theories disempower people. In a worldview shaped by conspiracy theories, political leaders can get away with making bad decisions by simply blaming invisible, putatively powerful enemies conspiring against them. What makes conspiracy-theory politics more dangerous than ideological politics (and lest we forget, the 20th century showcased just how deadly extreme ideologies can be) is that conspiracy theories can be dazzling in explaining what has happened and who should be blamed. But they lack any kind of vision for the future or any claim about what kind of world we want to live in,” Krastev writes.
If that isn’t worrisome enough, Trump’s other actions continue to make sure that our respect for his office remains moribund. Certainly cutting programs that provide food to hungry schoolchildren and seniors has done no good for our confidence in him as a caring leader—especially when his wife cheerfully pretends to eat diamond jewelry on the cover of—wait for it—Vanity Fair Mexico.
I feel a tremendous loss. My only comfort is that I’m not mourning alone.
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