Actually delusion as to facts, truth and reality is certainly not limited to the United States. Just think of the highly developed nation of German swallowing Hitler in the 1930s and 40s and what a fiasco that unlashed.

But add in the multitude of divergent peoples and the harsh history of slavery in America, and it’s a wonder that any hint of democracy has lasted this long.

There is a saying to the effect that men pray not so much for their daily bread as they do their daily delusion. Delusion acts as sort of psychological security blanket and excuse for giving up the complexity of original thought — just follow the all-wise cult leader. Thus if things actually do go south it’s someone else’s fault.

Ironically, cult leaders like Donald J. Trump play the same game as their self-blinding followers — it’s always someone else’s fault, as when Hitler blamed the German people for losing the war. They just weren’t up to his high standards, he grumbled. It’s the same kind of irrational blather that President Trump has been dishing out his entire, sorry life.

But, alas, here is the catch. Some might counter that those who believe in good government, democracy, science, the rule of law and truth are the delusional ones. After all when the founding fathers designed their system of democratic government, which they hoped would in time serve all the nation’s citizens equally well, they had the impudence of running counter to nature’s fundamental collection of impulses, impulses built upon the rock of egocentrism — me first, I’m the center of the universe, my needs and desires all far more important than any others.

And thus there will always be a closely divided America only so long as those who value democracy over unlimited self-interest manage to successfully swim against nature’s tide.

Moreover, those who object to being called socialists are being disingenuous. The keystone of democracy is socialism at its core — to protect and do the most good for the most people. The really unique thing about America is that the socialist theme is balanced out by the capitalist theme. Unfortunately it’s nearly impossible to really balance out the two. Only between 1945 and 1970 were the two positively balanced for the good of all.

In recent years the rich and powerful have become just plain greedy in many instances, using GOP shills to prey upon the tribal impulses and a warped sense of egocentrism of the less sophisticate on behalf of their wealthy donors. In short MAGA hats are lead my Trump and their own craving to be disillusioned into shoot themselves in the foot, putting the nation in grave danger.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store