I'm not arguing for the avoidability or the inevitability of civil war. But when you say that accepting the evidence of our own senses leads us to conclusions that we don't like and must therefore disbelieve then I have to object.

What we are witnessing in this liberation of cruelty and bigotry is a lot worse than what I expected when on the night of the RNC convention in 2008 I decided to leave the country.

You make some excellent points in your article about the disenfranchisement of those we've heard called trailer trash, flyover country, deplorables ... and yes those bitter and resentful people do indeed form the majority of Trump support. I'm sure you know of the study that showed racist beliefs correlated with Trump support more than did "economic anxiety." I'm not backing down from saying that a substantial number of Americans, approximately half, are indeed lousy people. They are.

But.

I've met quite a few who I knew from long ago to be decent and kind people who mysteriously support Trump. To be sure, they are deeply conflicted, like gay Republicans, and erected tall edifices of rationalization. A friend from college I tracked down after 46 years spends all day nitpicking unimportant factual inaccuracies and tries to claim that Trump is unfairly treated. He is a successful and intelligent man who has no reason to feel anything but contempt for Trump, yet supports him.

We're witnessing something worse here; something more like communicable mass psychosis. Trump's 2016 candidacy should never have survived the Access Hollywood recording or any one of many scandals that came before and since. Something has broken.

The foundation of the great regressive movement we call conservatism came over on the Mayflower, people who left England to practice an intolerance they were forbidden there. That intolerance has never gone away and it has never, whatever intellectual underpinning fig-leaves ("small government") are chosen to mask it, strayed far from race. That was explanation enough for the ascendancy of Reagan and GW Bush; Trump is something else. It's sort of like Wm. S. Burroughs' virus, or like medieval ergotism without the moldy rye flour.

Good people should not be swearing fealty to the most vile man who has ever been in American politics, but many are. This is a sociological phenomenon.

Whatever we find uncomfortable to believe doesn't matter. I'm not "dead set" on believing that half my fellow citizens are lousy people. But there is a lot of evidence that they are.

American Software Developer living in Vietnam. Classical musician (guitar, woodwinds), weightlifter, multilingual, misanthrope • XY

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