Something which does not exist cannot help us, but chronic dependence on something which fails to exist does active harm to all of us.
-- Loren C. Miller, Jr., It's Time to Lose the Naïveté
When I first wrote the above back in August of 2010, my thoughts were on the waste of time and money and resources invested in religion and the worship of a god that fails to evince itself, where such time and treasure could be more fruitfully applied to needs and exigencies which DO demonstrably exist and require serious effort to resolve.
With the advent of Donald Trump and his unmitigated talent for mendacity, the meaning of my statement takes on additional significance, if I may say so. Trump not only has dived head-first into unreality with his insistence of a rigged election, he has brought a substantial number of the Republican party along with him, convincing or coercing them through intimidation and fear that the 2020 presidential election was illegitimate, that Trump won that election, and that he should be reinstated as President of the United States. This indulgence in a nonexistent state of affairs now doesn’t just waste time, effort, and funds; it threatens the foundations of this country. The most extreme expressions of this aberrant mindset may be found with Q-Anon, which would have us believe that Democrats are closet pedophiles, running a child-trafficking business in the basement of a pizza parlor, among other equally improbable assertions.
The most terrifying part of all of the above is that, for all appearances, these people actually believe this. They have apparently become so insulated from the real world, courtesy of Trump, Fox News, OAN and Newsmax, that this has indeed become their reality and one which they will not be easily dissuaded from, if they can be dissuaded at all. This situation has become more than just a circumstance which “does active harm to all of us;” it has become an existential and ongoing threat to this nation and its government, even as the events of January 6th, 2021 were.
And that’s not the least of it. The simple yet blunt fact is that unreality, however convincingly taught or indoctrinated or infused into the human psyche, has no basis in reality. It is built in lies, prevarications and storytelling, much as religions are, and like religion, those falsehoods and tall tales can and eventually will be found out. There will inevitably be those few who choose to pick at the scab which has been layered over the truth and discover to their horror that the convenient, simplistic stories they’ve been told and taught to lean on are no more than that. Slowly, others will learn this as well, and at some point or other, unreality will collide with reality. Exactly how, when, or even if that collision will manifest is uncertain. It could be as mild as violence in the streets or as severe as civil war, or some variant in between.
Whatever (and whenever) it is, it won’t be pretty.