The news re the dismissal of DNI Maguire is rife with all the usual themes: Russia, loyal stooges, narcissistic rage, the “deep state,” etc., but also one key meta-theme: Trump’s attempt to use state powers to assert control over your reality.
This is part of the full realization of Trump’s idealized self—Trump the Magnificent, using his God powers as only the Chosen One can. Trump as Thanos, possessing the Reality Stone and snapping his fingers. You get the point.
What set off this cascading chain of events? Trump’s reported rage that an DNI staffer briefed House Intel about Russia actively interfering in the 2020 election to re-elect Trump. His response? Install a loyalist as DNI to make sure THAT never happens again.
Trump’s fear was that Adam Schiff and the Dems would exploit the information—and by “exploit” he means “saying the truth out loud so people will hear it.” So he brings in fanboy Grenell as DNI to shut that shit down.
The key here is Trump’s autocratic belief that it’s within his power and his right to exert such control of the flow of information to the public as to be in control of reality itself. And he’s illegitimately using the powers of his office to that end.
Trump’s particular version of reality is one where Russia never helped him get elected in 2016 in the first place—he remains obsessed with erasing the baseline illegitimacy of his presidency. He so very desperately wants that to be your reality too.
So desperately, in fact, that four years later he flies into a rage when he learns the intelligence community has confirmed that Russia is at it again, just in time for the 2020 election, and *that Congress was briefed on it.*
He’s not just jamming his fingers in his ears and “la la la”-ing to deny reality, he’s trying to shove fingers into all our ears. Join him in the beautiful MAGA reality he’s created, where the economy is the best ever and Russia is DEFINITELY not helping him get elected AGAIN.
Much of this is not new. Trump has sought to impose his vision of his idealized self on the world as if it were true, to help convince himself that it’s true, since before the election, probably for most of his adult life.
The new part is that after 3+ years in the Oval Office, he’s starting to display some command of the levers and dials of presidential authority and is now using the powers of his office to help impose his delusion on everyone by force.
He believes that if he can exert enough control, he can shut down the flow of information that contradicts or otherwise conflicts with his idealized version of himself, and moreover, that it is his right to do so, if he can get away with it.
All of this is fairly predictable when viewed in the framework of a number of different schools of thought, be it the psychological understanding of a narcissistic psychopath or the political historian’s observations of the evolution of authoritarian rule.
This stepped up attempt to control reality by controlling the flow of information—an extension of the entire FoxNews philosophy, btw—is a new and worsening sign of how deep in this we already are.
Given this and a dozen other signs that our descent is accelerating, as it predictably has been since the sham GOP acquittal, we should all be in the streets by now. Our institutions have shown again and again they’re not up to the task of containing him, let alone removing him.
Waiting for the November election to “save us” is, accordingly, the deepest of folly. People need to be up in arms and out in the streets NOW. He is actively destroying our democracy and the future possibility of it every day. Obama was right: We are the ones we’re waiting for.