Normalizing Nuttery

Did you ever find yourself in public, like on a Metro train or standing in the beer line at a sporting event, talking to a total stranger, when you realize in the middle of the conversation that the person you are talking to is crazy? You are just passing the time, maybe you say something about the weather, and the next thing you know, they start rambling on about HAARP and chemtrails, or UFOs and alien abduction, or the Illuminati, or the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It has happened to me numerous times over the course of my life, and since I’m pretty sure I don’t lead an extraordinary life, I assume it happens to most people every now and then.

I also assume most people handle it the same way I do. Just lock a friendly smile on your face and nod along with whatever nonsense the crazy person is saying until you can extricate yourself from the conversation. You don’t want to escalate the situation, so you avoid conflict, don’t argue, just pretend you agree with them until the train reaches your stop, then bail out. It’s not your responsibility to try to rescue some stranger from the acorn box in the depths of their mind.

It’s different if it’s someone you know. You would try to get some help for a friend you suspect has been doing a lot of drugs or an elderly relative who has been spending too much time watching Fox News Outrage Channel. (Interestingly, in both cases the person will have a glassy stare, and be withdrawn and irritable. You can tell the difference because the latter will occasionally cry out “Benghazi!”)

You would try to help that elderly relative get a little better handle on reality. But what if they had no use for reality? What if they had created their own, more enjoyable universe in their head? What if every time objective truth intruded into that made-up universe they just created a new lie that they instantly believed and insisted everyone else must believe as well? It would be difficult and troubling to deal with that person, but we make a lot of allowances for family.

But what if that elderly individual was not a relative? What if they were merely someone you knew? Or someone you didn’t really know, but knew of through the media? What if that old, crazy person was preznit of Amurka? What would you do then?

That is the dilemma facing our nation right now. Our reality teevee preznit is floundering badly because he’s an incompetent fraud and con man who never expected to get elected and probably never really wanted the job. He has no idea how government works and has no interest in learning. He is the dog that caught the car.

And he’s more than a little bit bonkers. From the moment he took office, flagrantly lying about his inauguration crowd being the largest ever, he has reeled from one outlandish, demonstrably false statement to the next. He lies so brazenly and frequently that our journalistic media, and most of the country, seem dumbfounded and unprepared to hold him accountable. When they have the temerity to ask for evidence to support his outrageous claims, they get steamrolled by his skeletal spokesmodel saying stupid shit like “He knows things we don’t know.”

Well, Kellyanne, I’m pretty sure he also hears voices we don’t hear. We are all strangers on the train with him now, friendly smile locked in place, nodding along, hoping to get off the train before it pulls into crazy town.


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