The American voter’s capacity for self-delusion is pretty impressive. If you thought Trump was anything other than a lewd, low-minded grifter whose only talent is self-promotion, you were simply fooling yourself. We have known that Trump is a lewd, low-minded, self-promoting grifter since 1985 or so.
Over the last few months I’ve been watching on Facebook as my left-leaning friends and relatives who started off hating Clinton as a soulless corporate shill, warmonger, and phony feminist, talk themselves into supporting her by means of memes and shared Vox articles, another exercise in self-delusion. Clinton is what she always was, a greedy, grasping, mean, crooked old machine hack politician for whom lying is second nature and whose only political achievement of note was the systematic public humiliation of women who accused her seedy husband of sexual assault and rape.
I’ve been reading a few Trump supporters who claim to know full well that he is a fool and a fairly bad man but support him anyway because they hate Clinton.
I haven’t read any Clinton supporters who will admit to themselves that Clinton is a rape-enabler. All you ever hear from them is constant, embarrassing apologetics about how she isn’t really as corrupt and evil as we know she is.
The American voter’s capacity for hypocrisy is about the same as his capacity for self-delusion. People condemn Trump for claiming to behave like Bill Clinton, as an excuse to vote for Bill Clinton’s enabler.
Meanwhile, the same people who said Bill Clinton was unfit for office are now lecturing us that the Bible tells us not to judge others. Left-leaning Evangelicals (yes, they exist, usually in official church positions) used to make the exact same argument for Clinton as if we were deciding whether or not to admit a man to heaven, not deciding whether or not he was a fit public employee.
The driver of hypocrisy and self-delusion is the lust for power, and political power is not about doing good – that too is a lie – but the power to punish and destroy, and hopefully get rich along the way.
Lust for power is the unspoken (and sometimes spoken) belief that our side has the right to humiliate other side and exact rents from them by virtue of our education, class, moral superiority, race, or (nowadays) our historical and quite possibly fictitious victimhood. We are True Americans, or The Middle Class, or The Working Man. We are Those Who Have Vaginas and The Oppressed. We are Conservative Christians or Atheists Who Alone Think Freely. We laugh with John Oliver and John Stewart and never miss House of Cards or Game of Thrones and catch all the right TV shows, because TV makes you soooo fucking smart and gives you all the knowledge you need to run a nation of 330 million people.
Lust for power is why politically correct speech is defined not by what someone says, but by who says it. It is why an off-color joke by a black Clarence Thomas is a reason for public humiliation while sexual assault by white Bill Clinton is to be excused, or sexual assault is a reason to vote against Hillary but not a reason to vote against Trump.
You can only start to be an honest human being when you give up the desire to rule.