In psychology of human behavior, denialism is a person’s choice to deny reality as a way to avoid a psychologically uncomfortable truth. It’s the rejection of basic facts and concepts that are undisputed, for example, we have Holocaust denialism and AIDS denialism. If you can believe it, we have people who deny that the Earth is round… in 2016!
We’re all familiar with denialism, we all know those “not my kid” parents, right? Of course we do. In a way, we can empathize with those parents because they are having difficulty accepting the fact that their child has done something wrong, something out of their character.
But, from where does political denialism emanate? This election season, political denialism is at a level I haven’t witnessed in my entire life.
For example, when Bernie Sanders swore to his supporters that they were “taking it all the way to the convention” his campaign contributions were flooding in and his supporters believed in him.
Then the Democratic National Convention rolls into the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, and what does Sanders do? He sells out, big time. Sanders speaks of “unifying the party”, a party that he doesn’t even belong to, instead of standing at the podium, addressing his supporters and turning his nose up to the DNC, the same DNC that did everything in it’s power to rig the Democratic primary in Hillary Clinton’s favor. I’m not a Bernie supporter, and even I was let down. I thought “his supporters must be devastated”; I was wrong.
The days following the Democratic Convention social media was flooded with “Thank you, Bernie” meme’s and continued support. I couldn’t understand it, and still don’t. Thank you, Bernie? Thanks for what? Selling out? Bowing down to the Queen to save your own head from rolling while leaving your millions of supporters behind? Thanks for continuing to accept campaign contributions all the way up to the convention to buy your third home? Thanks for endorsing one of the most disliked, dishonest politicians in American political history for the use of a private jet paid for by the DNC, just to save your political career? Yet, still has people writing him in for President? His supporters are clearly in denial.
Then, we have Donald Trump and his “Make America White Again”… oops, I mean “Make America Great Again”.
What can be said about this campaign that hasn’t already been said? Trump created such fervor in his run for the White House by promising to “Build a wall and have the Mexico pay for it” and “Deport eleven million illegal immigrants” that his supporters don’t realize how absurd those promises actually are. Do they not realize how, exactly, you go about deporting 11 million people? Do they not realize that that requires “door knocking”, searches and seizures? Is that not what happened in WW2-era Germany, with the Nazis? Does nobody realize what a grotesque abuse of government power that is? Don’t Trump supporters realize when you give the government power, it never relinquishes it, especially power that abusive? Do civil liberties not mean anything, to any one of his supporters? If so, how can you support this? Oh yeah… denial.
That brings us to Hillary; we saved the best – or worst – for last.
Hillary Rodham Clinton, or, at least, that’s the name she uses when pandering to the Scranton, Pennsylvania voters (her father Hugh E. Rodham, was born in Scranton), has a seemingly unending record of lies, corruption and deceit; but for some reason, her supporters turn a blind eye to this. But, where to begin? Do we start with her being an enabler to an accused serial sexual predator for 30 years? Do we begin with being “grossly negligent” with above-top secret information, the kind of thing that has led to hefty fines and incarceration to others in government that have done the same thing? Maybe we start with her unbelievable hypocrisy? Hillary likes to talk about being a champion of the working class and how the wealthy need to start paying their “fair share of taxes”, while she and her husband are worth hundreds of millions of dollars (pretty good, considering they’ve been working in the public sector for four decades). Perhaps we should begin with her foundation accepting millions of dollars in donations from countries that treat women and gays poorly; and ‘poorly’ is a nice way of putting it.
How do we know all of this and much, much more? Well, we have Wikileaks doing the job that our journalists used to do, before they became mouthpieces for political parties. Even though we can see with our own eyes, irrefutable proof of these allegations in the form of tens of thousands of hacked email documents her supporters are in complete denial. The level of denialism regarding this is truly remarkable. Her supporters say “it’s the Russians” and “well, consider the source”, so they can’t be taken seriously. The source? You mean their emails, written by the people themselves? That source?
It’s like finding pictures in your mailbox of your spouse in bed with another person and worrying about “who took these pictures?” and “who would put these in my mailbox?” Aren’t we missing the point in this hypothetical situation? Should we be angry that we have proof of infidelity, and not angry over who took the pictures?
Why can’t we accept that our government isn’t looking out for us? Why can’t we accept that we are being lied to and treated like fools by the same people we elect to represent us? During an election cycle we listen to candidates from both parties tell us the other candidate is unfit for office or how they are going to steal your grandparent’s home, etc. Then, they endorse that same candidate a few months later telling us how great they are, and how they’re the right person for the job, and we fall for it, every time.
It’s because we are in denial; we refuse to accept the reality of the situation. It’s this situation that has brought us the two most disliked presidential candidates of all time. It’s time to wake up and demand better instead of the “lesser of two evils”. We deserve much better than what we are being offered but we’ll never get it until we demand it.
* Damian Biancarelli is a registered libertarian and member of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania, an entrepreneur and father of two children. He is committed to holding his government accountable and spreading the political philosophy of the non-aggression principle.