By Chrissy Stroop
America is trapped in an abusive relationship—not just with the pussy-grabbing President Donald Trump, our abuser-in-chief, but also with the Republican Party, its white Christian base, the police, and the increasingly uninhibited “good guys with guns,” whose vigilante actions are evidently becoming increasingly brazen. And unless liberals, leftists, and all Americans of good conscience are willing to confront the abusive character of the authoritarian right in no uncertain terms, I frankly don’t see how we can defeat surging fascism and set this country on a healthy democratic path.
To riff on the work of retired UC Berkeley cognitive scientist George Lakoff, who documented the ways in which Americans understand politics through family-related metaphors, if the United States is a dysfunctional family, then much of the media has taken on the role of the peacemaker.
In a dysfunctional family, the peacemaker “may become anger-phobic and attempt to smooth out differences before a healthy interchange can take place,” according to couples’ counselors Linda and Charlie Bloom. The flurry of discussion around Judge Amy Coney Barrett, the apparent frontrunner to be named Trump’s pick to fill the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Supreme Court seat, neatly illustrates the dynamic in which the right gaslights the American public, and the media normalizes and perpetuates the gaslighting.
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