I said, just a couple of days ago, that I confidently expect President Trump to be reelected in 2020 and then I expect another, albeit much more accomplished and polished Trumpian to succeed him in 2024. Then, just two days ago I cited an article published by the Gatestone Institute which is known to be quite anti-Islamic in its views. In the first instance, I was, of course, thinking about former Governor (South Carolina) and Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. In the second, I just used the Gatestone article as a springboard to get to my own worries about the failure of liberalism in too many countries, including in Justin Trudeau’s Canada. Yesterday I said that the world, including America, needs new leaders.
But I was unprepared for what I saw, a few days ago, in an article in the Daily Beast. Now, the Daily Beast has won several journalism awards, but it is regarded as having an identifiable left-wing bias. (The Gatestone Institute, by contrast, is regarded as having an extreme right-wing bias by the same source.) But, even allowing for biases, what the Daily Beast said about Florida “journalist” turned politician and potential Republican Congressional candidate (in the 21st Congressional District) Laura Loomer is disturbing. I won’t repeat it all, but suffice it to say that Ms Loomer espouses some beyond just hard-line positions that include being anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant, and she is also a known conspiracy theorist. Ms Loomer is more than just an extremist, she seems to me to be way out on a political fringe all of her own, but the Daily Beast says “Loomer is being warmly embraced by the party of Trump, beginning with Trump himself. In late December, Trump retweeted a tweet from, “4 Laura Loomer ‘The Antidote to the Squad’” that read in all Caps, “PLZ $$$ LAURA LOOMER FOR CONGRESS” … [and] … this week [the article datelined 9 February 2020], the Trump campaign used Loomer’s list of campaign donors to fundraise for his own campaign in a letter, as Mediaite.com reported, that reads in large type on top “Loomered” and notes it was sent by a company Loomer owns … [but] … Just as alarming is that Florida State GOP chair Joe Gruters, who also serves as a state senator, organized a press conference two weeks ago featuring Loomer in support of his bill to stop what he dubs censorship by social media companies.“
Andrew Coyne, writing in the Globe and Mail, describes Trumpism as a cult and he says that the facts “That it is also a political movement does not diminish its cult-like tendencies: the imperviousness to fact, the repetition of certain prescribed slogans, the suppression of the critical faculties, the blind devotion to the leader. And while some of this is present in all political movements, the particular zealotry of Donald Trump’s followers – the willingness to believe what isn’t so, and to disbelieve what is – is something else again.“
It is these “cult-like tendencies” that I think one can see, equally, on the far left and hard right wings of the political spectrum, that pose a real danger to liberalism and democracy in Canada and around the world. There are so many difficult issues, and immigration or, rather, the unsuccessful integration of some immigrants into the mainstream, and Islamophobia and the socio-economic disruption caused by the very successes of globalization are amongst them, and there are so few simple, easy answers. But, people who are afraid of change ~ and that’s most of us ~ too often flock to the charlatan who offers the easy answers and comforting lies; we avoid the honest leaders who tell us the unpleasant truth that change will be difficult and complex but will, ultimately, be for the better.
The people with the comforting lies, people like Laura Loomer, but, sadly, including President Trump and, some might say, many Canadian politicians, too, are slimy creatures who have crawled out from under too many rocks.