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Fascism is a mind-killer — and Trump's version is destroying Americans' grasp of reality

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Years ago in a high school anatomy class, I saw film footage of a man — perhaps a prison inmate or a patient at a mental hospital — who "volunteered" for a heinous medical experiment. His brain was bisected, meaning the left and right spheres were surgically split from one another. He survived the procedure, but his left and right hands now behaved as if they belonged to two different people. The man was told to use his right hand, the one over which he still had conscious control, to seize control of the left hand. The left hand continually escaped, and the two hands essentially began fighting with each other. He begged the doctors for help, but they were too busy obsessively noting every detail of the "subject's" behavior. Our teacher told us the film came from her "private collection."

That has stuck with me ever since, and it now seems a perfect metaphor for America in the Age of Trump, plagued by a fascist movement and so many other pathologies and signs of moral and political rot. We are like that unfortunate man, a psychically split nation whose hands are fighting with one another.

A new CNN public opinion poll reports that most Americans "feel democracy is under attack in this country," with 51% of respondents saying "it is likely that elected officials in the U.S. will successfully overturn the results of a future election because their party did not win." Nearly all those surveyed said that democracy in America was either "under attack" (56%) or "being tested" (37%), with only 6%, barely over one person in 20, saying that "American democracy is in no danger."

But there are important differences:

Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to say that democracy is under attack, and that view is most prevalent among those who support former President Donald Trump. All told, 75% of Republicans say democracy is under attack, compared with 46% of Democrats. Among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, those who say Trump ought to be the leader of the party are much likelier to see democracy as under threat: 79% in that group vs. 51% among those who say Trump should not be the party's leader. ...

Among Republicans, 78% say that Biden did not win and 54% believe there is solid evidence of that, despite the fact that no such evidence exists. That view is also deeply connected to support for Trump. Among Republicans who say Trump should be the leader of the party, 88% believe Biden lost — including 64% who say there is solid evidence that he did not win........

© Salon

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