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March 14, 2017

When (or if) Trump Supporters come back to Reality, This is what they’ll Find.

*Editor’s note: “Stop covering politics,” some of our dear readers cry every time we post something relephant. Look: politics are life. Equal rights, empathy, fair economy, healthcare. We can’t ignore what’s happening, and you shouldn’t either. elephant journal articles represent the personal views of the authors, and can not possibly reflect elephant journal as a whole. Disagree with an Op-Ed or opinion? We’re happy to share your experience here

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As Trump continues to spew lies over Twitter, including unproven facts about a former President of the United States, it would stand to reason that his base would weaken.

But it doesn’t.

It would seem logical that his supporters would bury their heads in shame, especially as more and more facts are coming out about the current administration’s ties to Russia and the election.

But they don’t.

News organizations are inundating every news cycle with video clips of the many lies coming out of the White House on a daily, sometimes hourly basis—yet nothing happens.

Outlines, flow charts, and even Venn diagrams connecting the dots between the U.S. administration officials and Russian officials are circulating, yet Trump supporters don’t budge.

When did this happen?

When did truth and reality get replaced by fantasy?

Looking back to the 2004 Election, I was a big fan of John Edwards’ “Two Americas” campaign slogan: “…one for people who have lived the American Dream and don’t have to worry, and another for most Americans who work hard and still struggle to make ends meet.”

I appreciated his passion for pointing this out and fighting for the “little guy.” Plus, it was hard not to admire the strength of his marriage that endured the death of a teenage son followed by his wife’s battle with breast cancer. Though his running mate, John Kerry, was ultimately smeared out of the presidency by the circulation of timely “swift boat” ads, John Edwards seemed like the guy no one could touch.

And then the Enquirer came along.

They broke the story with a fuzzy, unfocused photo—that could have been mistaken for anyone—placing Edwards with a mistress who eventually gave birth to his love-child. It was more of a soap opera than a news story, but reality none-the-less. Upon more digging, the facts panned out and enough reputable news organizations ran with it. Before you could say “holy cow,” John Edward’s career was over and truth—and all its many inconveniences—was revealed.

A tabloid did this!

Stunned and dismayed, what did people, like me, who admired him, do?

First, we went through a grieving process. We asked ourselves the hard questions. Mostly, we asked how we could be so fooled by this man and his populist message. He seemed to understand us. In fact, he was one of us, right? He was a hero, a seer. He publicly pointed out the discrepancies between Wall Street and Main Street—he was our guy!

And then, we, his admirers and supporters, just accepted his fate, and therefore our fate. The reality check set in as the smoke cleared. We had to admit to ourselves that we were fooled by him, plain and simple. Shame on us. “But he did it so well,” we would tell ourselves. Yes, he did, and how unfortunate for us to be taken for a ride. Oh well, lesson learned, end of story. And so we picked ourselves up, and moved on.

Why is this not happening to Trump?

I can’t help but wonder if this has something to do with fantasy trumping reality—no pun intended, believe me.

Why was a tabloid able to end a populist’s entire career within months, and today we have this maniac in office who blatantly lies, and yet numerous reputable media sources providing fact upon fact to discredit the lies aren’t able to sway his die-hard groupies?

Clinging to ideologies that are just that—ideologies—the minority in this country has traded in reality for fantasy.

And the irony is that the one leading the charge gained his popularity as a reality star!

Scripted and unrealistic, it’s no secret that popular reality shows successfully blur the line between truths and lies. This trading in of reality for fantasy may be entertaining, but every responsible journalist knows truth is often much more interesting than fiction.

So I, for one, hope Trump supporters come back to reality. That they begin to accept that there may be some very real ghosts lurking in the charlatan’s closet.

By doing so, here’s what they may encounter:

First, they may be disappointed at what they find, but that’s just part of living in the real world.

Second, it’s hard to see your heroes fall. While corroborating the fantasy that keeps your heroes up may bring immediate gratification, it’s not good for anyone in the long run. Though John Edwards created an image around a great populist message, he just wasn’t the guy he pretended to be, and that would become apparent at some point—luckily, sooner than later. And thankfully, many of us who supported him accepted the truth sooner rather than later too.

Finally, truth is varied, abundant, and sometimes hard, but never boring. It’s set in reality and keeps everyone accountable. Plus, when you choose reality over fantasy, you never run the risk of running out of scripted material.

“Be who you are and be that well.” ~ St. Francis De Sales

 

Author: Vera Snow

Image: DonkeyHotey/Flickr

Editor: Catherine Monkman

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Vera Snow

Vera Snow is a daughter of immigrants and mother of two daughters who were born in Russia. Most recently, she has been focusing on commentary regarding the current political landscape and building bridges between opposing views. She holds a BA in Journalism with a Russian Minor, MA in Human Development, and Certified as a Spiritual Director. She and her husband live in Minneapolis. Connect with her on Facebook.