Years ago I was hired as a systems administrator at a small educational publishing company. When I first came on they had tons of problems with the predictability of things like fonts and color reproduction. I was taken aside by the production manager and told that everyone was dying for someone to just fix these things and get everything under control and to finally be predictable. If I could do that, he stated, everyone would be forever grateful.
Well, I did just that. And because many of the problems were caused by the artists themselves not understanding the technical process, much of what needed to be done was solved by locking certain things down because people just wanted stuff to work, they didn’t want to be bothered with how.
So, predictably, I became the bad guy. I was the oppressive sys admin. I had been hired as a savior and became hated as an oppressor, all because I did my job and fixed what they asked me to in the only way I could.
My point is this, when things are really messed up people just want them fixed. They are so focused on their own daily misery that they don’t bother to look at the bigger picture, no matter how much it is explained and shown to them.
Donald Trump has been using the language of a banana republic dictator for months now. His rhetoric has become increasingly paranoid, and he is not above inciting civil unrest. But he appeals to increasingly desperate people. People who are far more willing to believe there are mounting conspiracies as opposed to much simpler answers, such as the fact that time simply marches on, and sometimes things change quicker than people are happy with.
Desperate people make desperate decisions, dictators know this and leverage the fear to their benefit. Post World War One Germany is a perfect example of how a struggling people grasped a message that promised relief and also leveraged the blame onto outsiders. The regret from the German people’s decision to embrace a monster is still evident in the laws that make it illegal to display any Nazi symbols. And while that example is staring us in the face, to the Trump supporter it’s a ridiculous parallel and a different scenario. If only that were true.
Civil liberties can be a pain in the ass when you want things done your way.