Friday, November 20, 2020
Fair and balanced
Like much of the world I am watching the ongoing tragicomedy of the inept tinpot dictator of a banana republic trying to steal an election while claiming that it is his opponents who stole the election from him. Well, it would be just a comedy, the tragic part is the one where this happens in a country that was once viewed as a beacon of democracy.
The claims that a vast conspiracy of Democrats in big cities all over the country stole the election, implying that only the rural votes should actually be counted, are obviously preposterous. But I got really worried when following the reporting on how bad the USA had become, until I realized something: The claims that a vast conspiracy of Republicans all over the country is trying to steal the election is an equally big lie.
Once I had realized that, the panic stopped. I watched Fox News reporting that Guiliani didn't have any evidence at all and that there was no way Trump would remain president. If fair and balanced reporting is actually coming from Fox News, that proves that a large part of the right still hasn't lost the connection to reality. And once you look for it, you find lots of other proof for that: Republican state officials declaring Joe Biden the winner and denying all allegations of voter fraud, Trump appointed judges kicking out frivolous lawsuits from the Trump legal team. This isn't a fight between the Democratic left and the Republican right, it is a fight between the part of the Republican party that is still based in reality, and the fantasy wing of the party.
What I found somewhat missing in this debate was a bipartisan alliance of the moderates fighting for reality. I didn't see much left wing reporting about Republicans doing the right thing, other than showing Trump firing those Republicans doing the right thing. In the end, both sides are hurting Democracy by exaggerating the differences, and not admitting that the other side is just human beings with real concerns, who just happen to disagree on politics. Showing your political enemies as some sort of inhuman monsters is exactly what ultimately enables domestic terror, political violence, and civil war.
After all, there is an easy solution to the Trump problem. Him and his most fervent supporters have shown repeatedly that they aren't much concerned about reality, and would much prefer to live in a fantasy world. "Covid is a hoax, don't mind the quarter million bodies piling up over there!". So why not just use that? Why not create a fantasy America, with Trump as a fantasy president in a fake White House, speaking every day via Newsmax to his supporters, while in the real world Joe Biden is president of the real America in the real White House? You just completely isolate both sides from each other, and everybody is happy!