“Hello Melbourne…”

Has anyone seen any of the President’s rally yesterday? His attacks and disregard for the idea of a free press are jaw-dropping coming from an American. I thought it was just a sick burn at the time but it appears Khizr Khan was right, this man may never have read the Constitution.

True to form, the President attacked the press as dishonest, offered his crowd an insane, infeasible, and unsustainable list of pending accomplishments on their behalf, called politicians stupid, touted a tariff system that one could argue fundamentally undermines the concept of a free market economy, and held up law enforcement as a victimized body beyond reproach or question. Naturally there was no mention of those slain by law enforcement or support for those who seek to hold law enforcement accountable. I guess that makes sense; why would you want law enforcement to be accountable or questioned in the event you decide to set up a police state?

As a side note I just want to point out that trying to use Chicago to justify law & order policies that will affect the nation is as ridiculous as deciding the whole planet has to wear parkas simply because Antarctica is really cold. It should also be noted you don’t get credit for keeping Americans safe when they weren’t in special danger in the first place. I don’t know whether the President’s horror stories about cartels are true, but that doesn’t sound like the lives most people are living. Neither do most of the things the President describes as a “mess” or “disaster”. So why is he so intent on having his crowd applaud him for fixing unbroken clocks? I’m tempted to say “ego”, but I fear there may be more method to this madness.

It’s becoming increasingly clear what the President is doing. He is beginning to actively weaponize his audience in the event of a all-out political assault on his presidency. First he is discrediting the media, pollsters, politicians, and judges in the eyes of his audience, almost to the point of inciting violence against them. His opening lines about speaking to them “without the filter of the media” is meant to suggest that only he can be trusted as the real deal, an extremely problematic assertion since he lies so often. He allowed his crowd to boo the judges who stopped his Muslim ban. He referred to polls as “phony polls”. The cumulative result of his arguments is that he is the only credible source of information or authority. Second, since the media will be the party covering events surrounding his impending impeachment, the entire impeachment and circumstances leading up to it will be disregarded as an unfair witch hunt perpetrated by the fake news media and stupid politicians. Third, by promising so many fantastical sounding things to his audience, if and when the press, the politicians, and the courts come for him regarding Russia, his followers will once again be choosing between a highly vilified and discredited opposition and their own personal economic and even family interests as represented by their champion. I don’t have to think hard to imagine where many of their loyalties will fall. It’s a shame they don’t seem to question the root emotions of their loyalties, that they almost always appear to be coming from a place of fear or rage. It’s also a shame they never question why their President and champion needs them to be angry or scared.

To further reinforce personal allegiance, the President singled out for acknowledgment a member of the audience who said “I love [the President], let him do what he has to do”. He doesn’t just acknowledge him, he invites him onstage for a hug and to say a few words. When the man finishes speaking, the President points at him and declares “a star is born”. In the context of the stage he literally just gave the man life. In terms of showmanship that’s a move straight out of midwestern tent evangelism.

The President’s following is evangelical, and that’s intentional. Their devotion to him is deep-seeded like a religious belief and will not be debunked or defused easily. The President is making two things clear with this rally: not only does he have an unshakable following, he will not hesitate to try to use his followers to tear the country apart rather than yield to any democratic institution capable of challenging his power. This is a cornered viper showing its fangs, my friends. We are close to bagging it, but we must be cautious.

Unless conservative media gets on board with impeachment and recognition of the President’s treasonous behavior we could be looking as some serious civil unrest in removing or even trying to remove this man from office. His power over this crowd and their perception of the truth is chilling. I can’t help but wonder if it will be possible to even have an intelligent debate or reasoned discussion with anyone in this crowd in the months and years to come. One would have to spend so much energy fact-checking the whole conversation would be abandoned as a rude and condescending effort. I don’t yet know a nice or winning way to tell people all or most of their basic facts are wrong. I don’t yet know how to explain to someone in a single conversation that if all the facts justifying your political belief are wrong it’s unlikely your political belief is credible. It’s not even that the President’s super are necessarily stupid or bad people. They simply have been completely beguiled out of trusting credible sources of information in deference to an incredible source that tells them incredible things they want to believe. If anything’s bad it’s the base prejudices that make them want to believe such incredible things. The lure of the incredible poses a serious uphill political battle for all who oppose the President. The snake oil salesman is fundamentally undercutting our ability to ever outsell him.

Watching this speech makes me feel like people have been infected, bitten by a zombie and starting to turn. The President is hurriedly fashioning his following into a gun, to be used against his approaching pursuers. I hope we can close the distance and neutralize this villain before he finishes his work and tries to blow our brains out. The race is on.

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