a mook and his money

Back in the Dark Times, when Comrade Trump was the actual president (and lawdy, that was only six months ago; it’s still hard to believe that happened), I made routine recon sweeps through the loopiest of loopy right-wing ‘news’ sites. I felt it was important to know what they were thinking and planning–not because I saw them as the enemy, but because they believed people like me were their enemy. You don’t have to actually be an enemy to be perceived as one, and the success of the Republican Party depends on having lots of enemies.

I still do occasional recon sweeps of loopy right-wing sites, but without the same sense of urgency. Now it’s more of a prophylactic measure. They’re still a threat to democracy, but without Comrade Trump squatting in the Oval Office, they’re less of an imminent threat than they were before.

They’d be more of a threat if Trump 1) wasn’t increasingly losing contact with objective reality, 2) hadn’t convinced so many of them to impale themselves on the pointed stick of Covid, and 3) was actually using his influence to further his conspiratorial-authoritarian agenda instead of to make a quick buck for himself.

As I waded through the muck of loopy right-wing sites this morning, I came across a post in which an ardent Trump supporter said he’d donated more of his hard-earned to Trump’s Save America Leadership PAC. You know, to support the audit in Arizona and reinstall Trump as president and prevent the US from becoming a completely communist pedophile nation. He encouraged others to “donate as much as you can afford or more” so other states could conduct their own audits and prove the extent of the fraud.

There’s a part of me that feels sorry for this mook, because as near as I can tell, Comrade Trump hasn’t donated a single ruble to support any audit in any state. It seems Trump’s PAC has taken in somewhere around US$75 million in the first half of this year–much of it from mooks like this guy. Trump has said he’ll probably use some of the money to fund other election audits, but so far the PAC has only spent the cash on travel, legal costs, staff expenses, and on the PR campaign to raise more money. Most of that $75 million is sitting in the bank.

Do you think this mook has a clue how Trump is actually spending his donation? Probably not. Do you think it would matter if he did know? Probably not. This is why only a part of me feels sorry for him. He’s a willing participant in his delusion. He’s not a victim of propaganda; he made deliberate choices about where to obtain information. If he suffers financially, it’s because he has agreed to it.

In effect, this guy is a financial flagellant. Remember the flagellants? Those 14th century religious zealots who made a public demonstration of their religious fervor by literally whipping themselves? Here, let the Dominican friar Heinrich von Herford describe them:

“Each whip consisted of a stick with three knotted thongs hanging from the end. Two pieces of needle-sharp metal were run through the centre of the knots from both sides, forming a cross, the end of which extended beyond the knots for the length of a grain of wheat or less. Using these whips they beat and whipped their bare skin until their bodies were bruised and swollen and blood rained down, spattering the walls nearby. I have seen, when they whipped themselves, how sometimes those bits of metal penetrated the skin so deeply that it took more than two attempts to pull them out.”

This mook whips his checkbook instead of his body. There’s also an excellent chance he’s one of those folks who believe Covid is a hoax, so he’s willfully offering up his health and life as a tribute to Trump as well. This doesn’t mean he deserves to be broke and infected with Covid. It just means that if he becomes broke and Covid positive, he only has himself to blame. Comrade Trump didn’t hand him a whip; he just collects money off the whipping.

This guy deserves our compassion; he doesn’t deserve our sympathy or pity.

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