The Thin Place

It is difficult to comprehend the extent to which there are two completely different Americas, existing side-by-side. It is like one of those science-fiction constructs, with two intermingling realities, separated not in time and space but by alternate perceptions so drastically and radically different that neither is even aware of the other’s existence, except in fleeting moments when they brush up against each other. Sort of like the Thin Place you read about in tales of the supernatural, that gossamer film between the real world and the world of Fairie. The inhabitants of the two worlds look on the same events, but see things the other would never recognize. If they spy a denizen of the alternate reality, it seems as if a shadow being is drifting by. A ghost at best, a dangerous threat at worst. The being in the other universe may speak, but the sounds, though they resemble English words, are difficult to hear, indistinct and they make no sense.

This difference in perception and conception does not mean, however, that both worlds are equally valid. Trump’s Press Conference of 16 February is a perfect example of this unequal regard. Before this split universe dichotomy had taken such a firm hold on our national consciousness, it would have been impossible to imagine that Trump’s behavior in that room would ever have been seen as remotely valid, much less admirable. But almost the whole of the Trumping universe perceived it as not only valid (and somehow comprehensible), but even praiseworthy.

There was a time when the incoherence and lack of focus he exhibited would have been perceived the same by every observer. But now we have a significant (a definite minority, but still significant) segment of the electorate who are vested in this maniac. Once they pulled the lever, they established a psychological investment that will find validation wherever and however they can. It will, I fear, be a long time before such a person can be pried away from their devotion and belief in Trump. The blatantly unconstitutional and even treasonous actions he has made his daily todo list either do not phase that loyalty, or else they do not understand that these actions are even improper, much less illegal in many cases. 

No, it’s very likely that only a terrible disaster, possibly even a deadly disaster, or the war that Bannon wants, or out and out criminal prosecutions at the highest level (a low probability event, given Sessions as Attorney General); only such a drastic event will dislodge those hypnotized by Trump’s so-called rhetoric. And perhaps even disasters of this magnitude will not be sufficient to push them back through the Thin Place. 

But when the jobs fail to materialize, that failure may be sufficient (although it will take time for this to sink in). If he succeeds in banning Muslims, the impact in our technical edge in the global marketplace may eventually be noticed. If millions of Latinos are deported, and somehow kept out, the sudden huge drop in the labor force, combined with a huge drop in contributions to the economy, will definitely be noticed. And if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, and no equivalent substitute is put in its place, there will be an outraged howl, raised from coast to coast, even among the hypnotized, so many of whom think “Obamacare” should be abolished, but don’t want anything to happen to the ACA.

The thing about the Thin Place is that it is thin. It doesn’t take much stark reality to punch through.

© 2017 Chuck Puckett