The size of the difficulty
Yes, a significant portion of the problem reaction among Trumpists/Republicans is ignorance or hubris rather than malicious intent. But it seems increasingly difficult to tell the difference and I sense that the malicious intent is growing. Using a low intellect and badly damaged narcissist bully as the symbolic leader has, as we have seen, torn off all the restraints. The line between hubris and malice is being erased. Trump has never, it appears, known the difference. It is only the narcissist bully’s characteristic cowardice that has kept him from doing the things he so badly wants to do. As he has shown several times he is almost completely paralyzed by fear when forced to act on one of his threats. When he was a third rate, reality TV show actor selling real estate loud talk and lots of money was all that was needed. Now he has several million followers some percentage of whom are dangerous. If he begins to feel secure and removed enough from danger, the power of suggesting things that others do with no direct action of his own may turn him deadly (I’m afraid it may have already). At that point tendencies become crimes.
The tactics for handling the people who are only thoughtless is definitely reeducation and not threats.That can be done by restricting public hate speech that has been allowed with little restriction and providing positive training in compassion and mindfulness. Unfortunately we have lost any channel of communication with the problem population. How can any effort at mindfulness training be implemented when it will simply be labelled an evil conspiracy and used to further ramp up the fear and loathing?
The rise of self selection of information reinforced by corporate focus on locking in sales demographics at all costs was bad enough but when coupled with thirty plus years of elimination of any means to control broadcast information for truth and validity, we have the communication link to hell. Fox News is the result when tied to one of two “official” political parties that has been taken over by a national fringe, hyper capitalist oligarchy with no policies other than self protection and absolute freedom for exploitation. With no other concern it is easy to create pseudo policies feeding paranoid groups of racists, misogynists, and random religionists for claims to political legitimacy. An aging, weakly representative political system in a late stage of collapse facing massive paradigm shifts in social structure has, effectively, zero tools to correct and recover from this. The only standards remaining are 18th century statements of rights that have not been updated so rely completely on “interpretation” to answer challenges that were impossible to imagine even fifty years ago let alone two hundred. The result is no protection for essential rights that didn’t exist two hundred years ago. Simply load the supreme court and you have complete control. The fact that now vast, wealthy and powerful capitalist corporations are privileged, political citizens is just one example of what has happened.
This will be corrected but I really don’t see how it can be without first destroying the facade of the current nation state. The changes that are needed will require a new definition of mass media that maintains truth and validity, not entertainment, as the primary requirement. The vast range of social media can be more open but must have hate speech or scientific falsehoods tacked, labeled, and countered with accurate information and ethical standards. This will require publicly controlled AI/ML based algorithms with the ability to be broadly understood by the general population. And all media will be constantly reviewed and flagged. Propaganda cannot operate in this environment. Voting rights must be direct but the franchise will require open proof of adequate education to understand the implications of any law.
In the current US model ball game these are three strikes in a row and we are out. So I think we need to do something else . . .