This election cycle I’ve remembered firsthand how the conservative community is master at creating alternative fictional realities to live inside.
For those with their eyes open, at this point in the election, it is vividly apparent that Trump is a monster. He is a con-artist who scams and cheats people out of wages. He refers to women as pigs. He brags about assaulting women. He raped his first wife and cheated on all his wives. He says he would sleep with his daughter if she was not his daughter. He refers to 12 year olds as “sexy.” He says he can do whatever he wants to women, including nonconsensual kissing and grabbing their genitals. He calls Mexicans rapist, and says an American judge of Mexican heritage is not qualified. He insults war veterans and has no capability to feel empathy towards the parents of a fallen soldiers. He calls an opponents wife ugly and threatens to “spill the beans” on her. He insults women, the First Nations/Native Americans, his opponents, and anyone in his path.
When most people in the world hear about Trump, they immediate engender images of a monster. Trump supporters instead see a strong leader. When presented with a clip from Trump, these supporters immediately begin constructing another story, another word, in which Clinton is worse than Donald Trump, and Trump didn’t do half the things he did.
“Clinton has a body count.”
“Clinton is crooked.”
This is, no joke, how people I know are responding to Donald Trump’s sex tape. Because, dang it, a woman’s 1 lie is worse than a man’s 1000 lies, and body count rumors from non-credible websites are to be believed.
I grew up practicing a life in which we created alternate realities from the rest of the world, in which the world was only 6000 or 10,000 years old when its billions; a word in which nonbelievers were seeking to eliminate religious rights; a world in which people are not born gay; and a world in which stepping outsider my own door could get me brainwashed.
There was, of course, evidence to the contrary of what I believed. But you see, I was taught to distrust science, liberals, atheists, public schools, professors, the media, and anyone not a Christian. This meant that I could listen to evidence all day long, and it would hit my ear, and I could not hear it, as if I was deaf.
My entire life prepared me to disbelieve the media. I remember a Sunday School series on postmodernism and pop culture, and how the culture teaches us that truth is relative, and I should distrust culture.
I remember mom speaking of a professor, who was too smart to enter the kingdom of God. “Don’t be like that professor.” And don’t be that smart, and don’t listen to that professor either. Its no wonder that my first three years of college I didn’t believe a word my professors said.
A woman in our homeschool community told mom to pull me from college because we read “A Rose for Emily.” Dang it, I couldn’t even read fiction without being told not to trust it.
Each professor, it seemed, had a reason I should not listen to them. The female professors were feminists, the others were socialists or believed the Bible had errors.
I am not alone. Countless others grew up in homes that experienced milder version of what I have experienced. For years and years, Christians and conservatives have been told, straight from the mouth of leaders, not to trust the media, science, CNN, democrats, nonbelievers, atheists, and anyone who is not Republican and Christian. Preachers told us this. Republican senators told us this. Everyone told us this.
And then, Trump comes along. The media says don’t trust Trump. But we don’t listen to media. Logic and reason says that Trump won’t deliver any of his promises. But we don’t do logic and reason. The whole world cries out that its better to vote for a democrat than vote for a man who stands against the refugees, the suppressed, and the abused, but we don’t vote for democrats, ever.
So Trump supporters create alternate realities. First, they try to pretend Trump didn’t do those horrible things (we knew already that Trump assaulted women; it’s been in the media since months ago; the tapes were only news to those not listening to victims). Second, the supporters work demonize Hillary Clinton.
“Clinton receives emails”
“Clinton gave wall street speeches.”
Because in alternative realities, receiving an email is worse than sexually assault women.
If those realities are not enough, the Trump supporters create a world in which she has done things she has not even done.
“Clinton has a body count.”
Even though the actual world of science and logic knows that the Clinton’s can’t even get away with receiving an email, let alone murder.
I know these fictional world to be true because I grew up in them and still am haunted by them. Even this election, I have been told that “I taught you better than to trust a Clinton”; “the university has brainwashed you”; “homeschool was a failure on you; you turned into a liberal.”
These people can’t acknowledge that their world isn’t real, that its fictional.