On CNN Wednesday night, Don Lemon disparaged every single Trump voter by saying that they’re part of the same crowd as Klansmen and neo-Nazis.
In the transition from his show to Lemon’s, Chris Cuomo posed to Lemon a devil’s advocate position that “you can’t say everybody who voted for Trump is like the people who who went into the Capitol.” Lemon responded thus:
“If you are on that side, you need to think about the side you’re on. I’m never on the side of the Klan. Principled people, conservative or liberal, never on the Klan side. Principled people, conservative or liberal, never on the Nazi side. Principled people who are conservative or liberal, never on the side that treats their fellow Americans as ‘less than,’ that says that your fellow Americans should not exist, that says your fellow Americans should be in a concentration camp, or that sides with slavery, or sides with any sort of bigotry.”
Cuomo jumps in to continue playing devil’s advocate: “And if they say, ‘I don’t agree with those people, I just like Trump’s policies’?”
“Then get out the crowd with them,” Lemon says. “Get out of the crowd.”
Cuomo then retorts, again pretending to represent the other side: “‘I wasn’t in the crowd, I just voted for Trump.'”
Lemon replied: “You’re in the crowd who voted for Trump. If you voted for Trump, you voted for the person who the Klan supported. You voted for the person who Nazis support. You voted for the person who the alt-right supports. That’s the crowd you are in. You voted for the person who incited a crowd to go into the Capitol and potentially take the lives of lawmakers, took the lives of police officers, took the innocent lives who were there on the Capitol that day. You voted on that side. And the people in Washington are continuing to vote on that side.”
Quite the incoherent rant, don’t you think? For one, Klansmen and neo-Nazis are by and large not Trump supporters. Even if some were at one point, they were among the quickest to turn on Trump, for they realized that he was not and was never going to be Hitler 2.0. Plus, none of those who breached the Capitol were found to be members of the Klan or a neo-Nazi group. So there goes the thrust of Lemon’s argument.
Lemon also claims, without evidence, that Trump “incited” violence and encouraged his supporters to breach the Capitol. Even if you disapprove of Trump’s rhetoric, you cannot admit in good faith that he incited or encouraged any illegal activity.
Someone like Lemon should not be on TV. He is extraordinarily divisive and full of contempt for 75 million Americans.
Washington Post Op-Ed Writer Asks Why It’s Difficult to “Deprogram Trumpian Conspiracy Theorists”
This “deprogramming” talk is dangerous and it needs to stop.
Professor and Washington Post contributor Brian Klaas recently wrote an op-ed for the paper titled “Why is it so hard to deprogram Trumpist conspriacy theorists?”, speculating that Trump’s base is teeming with “deluded people” who are so out of touch with reality that “reprogramming” them may prove impossible.
The Post published the op-ed Monday. Klaas’ opening paragraph says in part that “for the past four years, the United States was governed by a conspiracy theorist in chief. Whether by retweeting QAnon accounts from the Oval Office or painting himself as the victim of shadowy ‘deep state’ plots at rallies, President Donald Trump injected the toxin of baseless conspiratorial thinking straight into America’s political bloodstream.”
He asserts that the participants of the Capitol storming on January 6 were “insurrectionists” and “conspiracy theorists” and then asks if “we have any hope of deprogramming the millions of Americans who are devoted to dangerous lunacy.”
“Don’t hold your breath,” quipped Klaas, who proceeds to jump into a psychological explanation for why conspiracy theorists believe the things they believe. Part of what makes them so hard to “deprogram,” he says, is an inability for their claims to be falsified, their ever-shifting explanations for why predicted events don’t come to pass, and the social atmosphere of online communities.
Klaas concludes his op-ed as follows: “We can no longer pretend that conspiracy theorists are beneath our attention. They’ve shown they have tremendous capacity to inflict damage on society. Bringing the deluded people who populate Trump’s political base back to reality will be difficult. But to find the right antidote, we need to at least accurately diagnose who has taken the poison. And that means acknowledging that those who sympathize with the Capitol insurrectionists are not far-off lunatics. Some, most likely, are your neighbors.
“And, given the staying power of conspiratorial thinking, they aren’t likely to change their minds anytime soon.”
This is hardly the first time commentators and writers have used “deprogramming” language in recent days. And it reveals a lot about the contempt with which they view Trump supporters. It doesn’t get any more clear that they wish millions of people had their worldviews thoroughly reexamined and minds reprogrammed before they can be considered part of polite society again. That’s extraordinarily dangerous, divisive rhetoric. And it needs to stop.
Did the people who stormed the Capitol do something wrong and did some of them believe in QAnon-type conspiracy theories? Yes and yes. But the left for years has smeared Trump as a dictator and his fervent supporters as fascists; hence they have no moral qualms about lumping together both the Capitol rioters and run-of-the-mill Trump supporters. They essentially think January 2021 is May 1945 and that we all need to be denazified. It’s disturbing and concerning, especially since they’re the ones with all the institutional power.
We’re going to be in for a rough four years, guys.
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