How many times can a man turn his head; And pretend that he just doesn’t see? — Bob Dylan

The devastation I felt four years ago, seeing that over sixty million of my fellow Americans were willing to vote for Donald Trump turned out to be entirely justified.   And the reality was even worse than I feared.   It was apparent early this year that as many people would do so again.    I at one time entertained hopes that five to ten million people less would vote for Trump, and boy was I ever wrong   Not about the number ten million, but that ten million MORE would vote for Trump.    I feel as sick inside now as I did then.   No, I’m not giving up on trying to fight back but sometimes when life knocks us down it’s tough to get back up and regain our footing so we can keep marching on.

What has struck me this week is the ugliest thought I’ve ever had towards my country.    I could  go into a long and detailed litany of the wrongs that have been done by those who would deny basic human rights to others, but I’d like to keep this as simple as possible.    What I can’t deny this week is something I have heard (and so has anyone reading this) multiple times in the past few years.

When it comes to those Trump supporters, the ones wearing the hats and other gear, waving their confederate flags (and now “Q” flags too I guess) as well as those even Trump’s people know to try and keep outside (the ones with Nazi flags) it boils down to this:

The cruelty is the point!

At least twenty-five million and probably closer to thirty-five million people are hard core Trump supporters because they WANT the cruelty.   They WANT to see “those people” suffer.   That’s how you wind up with a lot (a LOT) of people leaving the GOP and registering as Independent (albeit conservative) voters who hope the GOP will regain some sanity, and at least in the suburbs have been willing to consider voting for our folks.   We didn’t get as many of them in down ballot races as we did in 2018, but we still got plenty of them at the Presidential level.

However, every single one of them was replaced by NEW Trump Republicans.   Because while Trump failed on damned near everything he promised to those rank and file conservatives (the wall, 4k less in their taxes, etc.) he delivered big-time on the thing they absolutely wanted to see.   Institutionalized CRUELTY, the kind that gave them cover to increasingly bully and even terrorize others in their shitty lives and communities.

That my friends is how you wind up with Trump not only not getting significantly less votes than he did in 2016, but getting ten million more!

As the GOP makes clear every day their leaders clearly believe they have no chance at having or holding any power without this massive Trump block of voters.    They are probably right, although I think their fears are overblown.    They do after all have that geographic advantage that gives them a big head start in controlling the Senate so at worst they aren’t likely to go more than a couple of years, or at most four without being able to impose some minority rule on the rest of us.   The thing that matters though is that there were before, and remain between thirty-five and forty million Republicans who might detest Trump and his antics, but care more about their right-wing activist judges and Justices, and also their tax cuts and the gutting of regulations.   They know all about the signature Trump cruelty and simply refuse to think about it.

How many times can a man turn his head; And pretend that he just doesn’t see?

The answer is a LOT.   And especially when it comes time to vote.
Still, as I’ve suggested that’s not the worst of it.   There are all those Trump Republicans, the MAGAts who LOVE the cries of children ripped from their mother’s (or father’s) arms and stuffed into cages.  They LOVE hearing about some government lawyer trying to convince a judge that having denied those kids (and adults too) so much as soap and water to wash their hands or a toothbrush (much less toothpaste), a blanket and pillow as they try to sleep on concrete floors was okay.   That such things weren’t basic necessities.   They LOVE seeing over and over again some black or brown person murdered by police and the police having prosecutors prosecute the VICTIMS instead of the cops!   They LOVED the video of four cops holding George Floyd down as one nonchalantly kneeled on his NECK, literally squeezing the life out of him!    They LOVE seeing their white power (I refuse to say supremacists because one thing they aren’t is supreme or superior human beings) fellow MAGAts increasingly out of control, to the point of even running a freaking Presidential campaign bus off the road.   I could go on and on but you get the point.

These thirty million plus people don’t turn away from the cruelty.  They LOOK for it.   They LOVE it and the more they see the more they want to see and one thing they can count on Trump (and acolytes like Stephen Miller) for is to provide MORE of it.    They don’t bother with pretense about not seeing.   They increasingly boast about looking at it and asking for more!

Add these truly deplorable people to the remaining Republicans who try to pretend they don’t see, and you get over seventy million voters choosing four more years of Trump.

Biden is right.   We are in a battle for the soul of this country and it’s going to be a long, tough and often brutal fight.   I for one am in no mood to be forgiving towards ANY Republican who doesn’t regularly denounce this massive element within their Party.    Republicans who refuse to stand up for long-standing norms.   For our institutions which as we see still rely too much on trust and good will.   After Watergate there were reforms that were supposed to prevent another Nixon type situation.   Clearly it’s time for another round.

And sure as I’ve written this the bulk of elected Republicans will fight any such reforms tooth and nail.

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7 Comments on "The Cruelty Of the Trump Era Is What Hurts My Heart"

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It’s almost too bad that ballots are secret because it would almost be worth losing the secrecy and privacy to round up all the creatures (I won’t diminish the term “people” by using it to refer to Trump voters) and put them in re-education camps–and I’d be willing to have every GOPer in Congress that enabled Trump sent to those camps as well. Treat them the way the South *should* have been treated following the Civil War. And they only regain their voting privileges after completing a civics quiz (not unlike the one that immigrants have to pass in order… Read more »

They would probably cheat on the test or pay off the person scoring the test.

Seán O'Brien

Don’t forget ‘pay someone else to take the test for you’

Gettin' too old for this
Gettin' too old for this

For our hearts to be hurt, first we have to HAVE a heart. Where are theirs? That’s a lot of missing hearts…


I am an empath. When I see this cruelty, it hurts. Sometimes it hurts so much that I cannot stand the pain. It always makes me cry.

Seán O'Brien

In the name of God Miranda, for your own sake, try not to look. I know it’s like a train wreck, so hard to look away. But if you can, try to take action and use your righteous wrath for effect. I’m saying this because A I’m a guy, and you know, we always have to fix everything, and B I know exactly what you mean.
I’ve cried more in the last 4 years than I have since the early 70’s. Remember when “we” sent tanks to Central America to murder farmers?

Meg Corrigan
Good article, Denis. I see this cruelty in my own family, with one person in particular who used to be altruistic to the max. But after she took a chance on tRump the first go around, she started listening and watching right wing BS. Suddenly she was angry at everbody who wasn’t like her and willing to scrap with anybody who disagreed with her. I could not believe what had happened to her and told her so. Very sad. And that situation has been replicated millions of times, just by tRump appealing to people’s worst instincts and the Republi-chickens standing… Read more »