The MAGA House is made of glass and full of stones. Let’s take a peek inside.
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At a time when much of the country is convulsed by a manufactured panic that traditional family values are under siege, I’m struck by a certain blind spot among the defenders of those values: the astoundingly poor — and even dangerous — behavior of members of that very group, including their leaders.
In fact, one sees almost daily examples of all manner of depravity and criminality — and what may well be diagnosed as a mental disorder — among the hard core of Trump/MAGA supporters and their extended retinue.
Given the degree to which the core messaging largely revolves around dedication to God, country, and family values, this is a constituency that gives entirely new meaning to hypocrisy.
At this moment in history, understanding this paradoxical aspect of the American character — by the very people wildly ringing the alarm bells about said debasement — is crucial to our survival as a functioning society.
I started adding up all the weirdos and maniacs arising from the ranks of those lecturing us about the collapse of values — many of whom swiftly and ferociously turn on their own (see Christopher Wray, Ray Epps, etc). You already know who they are, and there are so very many, that it begins to look to me like these disorders are not unrelated but fundamental to some kind of — well, almost an illness.
What follows is just a light and random skimming of the surface, but I hope you’ll see what I mean about how very perplexing and dark this all is.
First of all, the leaders. Enough has been said about the Trumps for a lifetime, and yet millions adore them. Nothing they do ever turns their fans off. Recently I ran across the mind boggling fact that, as first son in 2017, Donald Trump Jr. spotted an opportunity to lead the lunacy parade and, for a business opportunity, promoted the idea you should give young children guns — with silencers. He explained, “It’s about safety. It’s about hearing protection. It’s a health issue. … Getting little kids into the game? You know, it greatly reduces recoil.”
Not sure what one can say about that but certainly it speaks to the generally cartoonish absolute lack of sound judgment, self reflection, maturity, and so on. An emoji that captures the absurdity of this has not been invented
As for his father, who has been driving the crazy bus for his supporters’ alarm on gender identity issues, I was interested to learn that years before he was president, when he wasn’t bursting into Miss Teen USA dressing rooms, Donald J. Trump concluded that transgender women ought to be able to participate in his Miss Universe contest — he waxed enthusiastic about what a great idea this was. Yet one hears no mention of this — what twisted Rorschach test could his culture warriors possibly call forth to justify this?
Speaking of which, it’s interesting to hear the claim that, while he was married, Donald Trump Jr. had sex with a woman other than his wife — in the bathroom of a gay club, no less. That’s according to the woman.
Appearing on a podcast, DJT Jr.’s old pal Aubrey O’Day said:
I looked at his Instagram for the first time in years the other night and saw all kinds of jokes you know, kind of belittling the gay community, transgender women, et cetera, and I thought to myself, “Man, you were super comfortable in that gay club.” In fact, so comfortable that we ended up going to the bathroom and, for the first time, had sex in a gay club bathroom.
Yet, while the Trumps and their MAGA leadership cohort presumably laugh in private at the idiocy of people who are mesmerized by their rhetoric, that rhetoric makes ‘ordinary people” go crazy, like the owner of this vehicle:
Getting back to the gun issue — with which, as you may know, I am slightly obsessed — how do millions of Americans proclaim to be civilized order keepers while actively opposing civility and order at every turn?
Imagine being in line at Starbucks behind this chap:
It’s like he never evolved past being a 9 year old playing war in the schoolyard. And, based on increasingly common incidents like road rage, our fear of him is all too real.
And then one looks at how some of these self-described technical experts and precision marksmen actually perform:
Yeah, we're seeing some scary displays of a 'well unregulated militia' — here's my favorite😎 pic.twitter.com/Yzf0vno3e8
— Trump’s Noble Peace Prize (@LaBoomer68) May 22, 2023
Of course, with guns comes the extra protection of the almighty. These folks love the idea that an omnipotent power not just favors but ordains them and their crusades, or at least that they’re not going to face retribution if they do the “right” thing.
But who is actually doing the right thing? Apparently not an ever-expanding roster of preachers. We’ve all heard of the legions of sexual abuse suits against the Catholic Church, of course. But things are no better in the pews of heartland protestantism either. Since 1998, evangelical, southern Baptist and megachurch leaders have sexually assaulted over 700 victims, and their parishioners blame “corrupt Hollywood” and “liberal theology.” According to Newsweek, in Texas alone, in 2022, “at least 10 Texas pastors, former pastors and youth ministers were arrested, charged or convicted for various allegations of sexual abuse of children.”
And it’s not just the megachurch hucksters. Barely a week goes by without some fresh example of chicanery and moral turpitude.
Here are just a few examples from the month of June: Texas evangelical minister Ronnie Killingsworth was praised by Baptist Press for protesting books that “promote homosexuality,” referring to Daddy’s Roommate and Heather Has Two Mommies. Killingsworth has since been charged with sexually abusing three children, from 2000 to 2011. Though undoubtedly he would proudly note they were all girls. James Gill, pastor of a Baptist church in Tennessee, allegedly stole money from a food bank — and is also accused of prostitution for using the stolen money to pay a food bank worker for sex. A retired Orange County, California pastor was sentenced to 186 years for sexually abusing two toddlers. The abuse went on for years.
Of course, you could find examples everywhere within the population. But the Republican Party and the MAGA wing, while pontificating about protecting children and righteousness, seems to specialize in elevating figures with a toxic bomb of generalized hate and personally abusive behavior. You may remember, for example, Roy Moore — former chief justice for the Supreme Court of Alabama, white Christian nationalist, homophobe, founder of the Foundation for Moral Law — who was accused of sexually assaulting minors, and was banned from a mall for harassing young girls.
And Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Trump supporter and family man, who is on a kind of turbocharged crusade about everything. However, when he was an assistant coach at Ohio State at a time when several students said they reported to him directly a doctor who was molesting them. Jordan’s response: “I have nothing to do with this.” Unimpeded, the doctor went on molesting boys for years.
As Esquire put it: “[Jordan] will be answering motions about sexual abuse while trying to make the case that Hunter Biden’s junk was a threat to democracy and the rule of law.”
Besides the well-known cases of two “conservative values” supreme court justices (Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh) accused of behaving abysmally with women, every week turns up new examples; here are a few more instances of bad behavior.
Matt Schlapp, leader of CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) is accused of grabbing the crotch of a male campaign staffer, Carlton Huffman, who is suing him for it. Said fondling may cost Schlapp $9.4 million.
Former Rep. Wesley Goodman of Ohio, a man who promoted “the ideals of a loving father and mother, a committed natural marriage,” allegedly snuck into the hotel room of a sleeping 18-year-old attendee, unzipped his fly, and fondled him.
Randy Gene Kaufman — the “MAGA Masturbator” — had been the Republican candidate for the Maricopa County college board when he was caught in his car, less than 200 feet from a preschool, with his pants down, masturbating, as he watched interracial porn.
Matthew Reilly. The Daily Beast’s screaming headline tells you enough: “Accused Crack-Smoking Councilman Now Charged with Child Molestation.” The victim of the former Rhode Island Republican was a 12-year-old girl.
Ryan Utterback, a parent in Kansas City, MO, sought to ban several LGBTQ books from schools for allegedly depicting sexual content and “grooming” children. Now, he himself is facing a felony charge of second-degree child molestation.
Dennis Maze, loud on social media against COVID-19 masking and for “Trump’s Army” — was charged with many sexual crimes against children.
Anton Lazzaro, a Minnesota GOP strategist and donor, was convicted of sex trafficking minors.
Nick Fuentes — a proud white supremacist and Trump loyalist who is a huge figure pushing homophobic “groomer” rhetoric — recently went on his webshow to explain how he hopes to wed a child bride — “Right when the milk is good, I want to start drinking the milk” — and advocated for impregnating underage teenagers.
Others sold fake COVID cures, used nonprofits to bilk the public. For instance, televangelist Jim Bakker was sued for peddling his snake oil “Silver Solution” — which, according to his ad, “has been proven by the government that it has the ability to kill every pathogen it has ever been tested on, including SARS and HIV … Four 4-ounce bottles could be yours, a message on the screen said, for just $80.” This wasn’t Bakker’s first run-in with the law. In 1988, the adulterous preacher had been charged with defrauding people out of millions with his false promises.
Let’s be clear: This is not about wokeness, it’s about actual crimes. And yet these people create a purely fictional, deistic portrait of their smarmy and pathetic inspiration:
Isn’t it about time — from both a moral and strategic standpoint — to begin forcing a public conversation about the derangement itself?