While there has been a great deal of political upheaval in the last thirty years, I think I can safely say that the last four years has been the most dramatic. Under Donald Trump hard right authoritarians came out of the wood work spouting their sexism, racism, and general bigotry. On the left a general lack of organization has left it weak, disorganized, and showing an inability do more then yell about the stupidity of where the GOP is going. This rhetoric has created a huge amount of division within the body politic of the USA toward, well, everything. This is dangerous in two signification ways.
One: It means that neither right wing or left wing politicians are really talking to each other. The Right and Left have entrenched themselves so deeply that neither can see a way to come to the middle. Bills, policies, appointments, have turned into a tit-for-tat affair where nothing really important has happened. The disagreements of political theater have had a very real negative impact on the body politic, which is the second item.
Two: The division amongst the politicians has degraded the ability of the body politic to make rational choices. While, as stated, this process has been in the works for the last thirty years, four years under Trump accelerated the divisions to a point where they may never be healed. Donald Trump, and his political followers have created a rhetoric that is toxic to even the most simple of conversations. It is a rhetoric that allows the individual to completely disregard good reason, factual evidence, and objective conclusions, and replace them with individual, subjective, opinions.
These opinions are largely left completely unsupported. At no point in time does this rhetoric give facts, or ask its followers to seek out facts. Rather its ‘truth’ is whole based on uninformed, or misinformed, guessing.* The followers of this rhetoric and line of reasoning are hostile to any who would, for very good reason, questions them on their opinions. They grow defensive when asked to provide evidence for their claims and state merely that they have “done their own research”.** Any attempt to hold them accountable for their views is seen as a personal attack which is of the highest crime. They are a people who are consumed by contempt for those who dare ask for proof.***
For those that seek to pierce the vail self indulgent ignorance that has been formed out of this rhetoric, it is a world of frustration and depression. For them, those who seek out evidence from reliable sources, it is difficult to fathom how people, who are meant to be of the same polity, should be so eager to abandon reason. The abuse that comes with simply asking an individual to defend a point of view becomes too much. The world becomes a very real depression where hope for a better future is replace with a deep sadness for the reality of what it is becoming. Due to this, over time, these people grow silent out of fear. Then in that silence, their reasoned opinions are replaced with ignorance.
The state of US politics is weak. The widening political gap is ever being driven by radical individuals that care more about themselves and their ignorance than they care about the body politic. Unchecked, rampant, individualism, selfishness, greed, and a worship of cult like personalities, is ripping the nation apart. If something does not change soon, I fear for the future.
*Far to often it is the most ardent followers of this rhetoric that create misinformation to control an overall narrative that suits their ends.
**Which means there have done nothing of the sort. Or they have completely ignored experts and rather rely on fridge science and conspiracy theories to support their opinions.
**I would like to be clear here that it is not just the political right that has fallen into this trap of rhetoric. There are may of the political left who have taken on this way of thinking themselves. But it is those on the political right who do so that are the most dangerous to a heterogeneous society.