“It may sound naïve, but that’s what I believe”
“Sometimes I believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” –Alice, “Alice in Wonderland,” Lewis Carroll.
“I believe, I believe/I believe in wishing wells/But I also believe in a lot of things…” –Frank Sinatra, lyrics by Ervin Drake.
“I believe he won the election.” –Trump supporter “Patriot Barbie,” who joined the Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol, as she told to The Washington Post.
I admire true believers, whether pious, political or parental no matter how many crimes their children commit.
True love is grounded in belief, as well expressed by the mid-20th century philosopher Neil Diamond and popularized by The Monkees: “Then I saw her face, now I’m a believer. Not a trace of doubt in my mind.”
Oprah taught us to believe in ourselves. We teach children to believe in themselves. Work managers are trained to believe in their teams even if they’re bad, in which case it’s the manager’s fault. Even Thomas Jefferson believed that common people can govern a nation.
But Jefferson also believed democracy could only work if the people were educated and informed. “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization,” he said, “it expects what never was and never will be.”
Which brings us to the ignorant, uncivilized die-hard Trump mob.
While these Trumpers are a minority of Americans in number, their power is turbocharged by the right-wing media that pumps them up for ad money, the bloody-handed chicken hawks on social media that still defend and feed the insurrection on their keyboards from the comfort and safety of their homes. Worst of all are the elite Republicans who leverage the poor MAGA slobs for tax breaks, deregulation and the Dow, i.e., for money.
The blue bloods who never see the red hats in their excusive golf resorts indeed have created, like Dr. Frankenstein with his monster, the mobocracy our Founders feared.
I may be wrong. But as Trumpers declare and Sinatra sang, “that’s what I believe.”
For my part,
As a congenitally positive person from the Midwest who tries to find and respect the decent humanity in everyone, learn and grow from every challenge, and turn the proverbial sow’s ear into lemonade, I want to believe in something, anything for God’s sake, as powerfully as Trumpers believe in Trump.
I want beliefs that are Kevlar bulletproof against confirmed and indisputable facts, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), the experience and expertise of experts, and cold hard reality. Like fundamentalist Christians and toddlers that are given to believe in Santa Claus.
The best I can do is to believe in our democratic republic system of government with its checks and balances against kingly power, rule of law not leaders, and fealty to the Constitution, not the president.
Like when Joe Biden, announcing his Attorney General, said, “Your loyalty is not to me… it’s to the people of the US,” after Trump treated the Justice Department like his own slimy legal team whose job it was to defend him as he ignores the law and screws people.
As a believer in America, in my life I’ve raised my right hand and swore on the Bible to uphold the Constitution four times.
Once to join the Navy, next to serve a Republican member of Congress, later to join the Clinton administration as a speechwriter for the Secretary of Defense, and lastly to serve the Obama administration as a special consultant.
Each time I swore to uphold the Constitution I got a lump in my throat because I believe in America. (Which is why I’m writing this.) And I thought about my mother who emigrated from WWII-ravaged Europe as a tween who in her forties raised her hand as she finally became a U.S. citizen. She believed in America.
To pass the citizenship test, my mother had to know more about our remarkable system of government, and why it’s so remarkable, and why people have wanted to come to America, than the “patriotic” Trump mobs who desecrated the U.S. Capitol ever could.
If these Trumpers had any sense of how hallowed the Capitol building and grounds are not just for America but the world and huddled masses yearning to breathe free, they never could nor would have stormed, invaded, occupied, desecrated and shat upon it.
On 1/6, Trumpers succeeded where the 9/11 terrorists failed — to attack our democratic seat of government — because real patriots not fake Trump patriots gave their lives to down Flight 93 in a Pennsylvania field.
Not coincidentally, the 9/11 terrorists, like the Trump terrorists, also had unfounded, crazy, unshakable beliefs.
They were inspired and incited by hate they were fed by the powerful who were using them for their own purposes to carry out unspeakably despicable acts.
No, untwist your knickers, Trumpers, I’m not saying you’re like al-Qaeda or comparing 1/6 is like 9/11, like Trumpers trot out BLM to defend 1/6.
Belief is not always reality. Belief certainly doesn’t excuse hate. Belief in a hater like Trump is hate, just like defending sedition is sedition.
Belief in hate because you feel screwed by “the powers that be” or the Congress your fellow Americans elect, which equates to hate for your fellow Americans, is the wrong side of belief.
As opposed to the sweet beliefs that Frank Sinatra sang about,
I believe, I believe that a four-leaf clover brings,
Lots of luck, lots of joy, lots of happiness,
I believe those things.
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer.