The Psychology of Political Accommodation

Well, my friends, I have discovered that there are challenges when writing a blog that is very much focused on current political behaviour.
First and foremost, one must practice the art of writing, and one must write with intelligence and clarity, while at the same time using creditable and factual information that is supportive of the argument being made. Anything less and readers won’t take you seriously.
Does that even make sense? Well, not to worry, it makes sense to me, so I’m on the right track.
But that’s not all folks. The trick, I’m finding, is to say enough – with respect – that your readers will think you know what you’re doing and believe what you’re saying, without coming across as a snob who thinks he knows more about every issue than the average Joe.
And that is hard, hard, hard to do my friends. But as usual, I’m digressing into mediocrity, so I’ll attempt to get back on track.
I’m trying to explain to you that, by the very nature of my subject matter today, we have to take a small detour into that mysterious realm known as academia. And with that, I have a couple of small stories to tell – to set the stage, so to speak.
We all know that Facebook, the internet platform that is both a blessing and a curse for all who use it, is an inexplicable and puzzling place. A couple of days ago I re-posted to Facebook something that struck me as being profound, and it went like this:

Who would mock a teenager with Asperger’s?
The same man who mocked a reporter with a disability.
The same man who cheers that children are being housed in cages.
The same man who is fine with mass shootings.
The same man who hates anyone with darker skin.
The same man………

And we’re talking about Donald J. Trump, of course.

Now, I re-posted that because I really feel that Donald J. Trump, the President of the United States, that shining example of humility and humanity – and the recognized leader of the free world of which Canada is a part is, in my opinion, a despicable human being.
Donald J. Trump is a fraudster. Donald J. Trump is a failed businessman, as evidenced by his many bankrupt businesses. He is a known and proven liar.
He is someone who has been named as Co-conspirator # 2 in an indictment by the Southern District of New York for a crime that Michael Cohen (Trump’s long-serving personal attorney and co-conspirator) is presently serving three years in a Federal Penitentiary. If, but for the fact that Trump is the sitting President of the United States, he too would have been indicted for election campaign finance violations (when making hush money payments to two women with whom Trump had had sexual affairs) along with Cohen.
Donald J. Trump has surrounded himself with a criminal element for most of his adult life; most specifically while running for President of the United States in 2016. Trump hired Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Paul Stone and other political operatives – seven of his top campaign workers have been charged criminally and are either in jail, or heading for jail, for election campaign violations.
Donald J. Trump, if you can believe any of the twenty plus women who have publicly claimed to have been sexually assaulted by Trump, is a serial sexual predator.
Donald J. Trump is a classic example of someone who practices nepotism and other unethical business and/or political practices. His daughter and son-in-law both work in Trump’s White House, and his daughter had and continues to gain patents, and owns and operates clothing and textile factories in China while her father and his administration carries out a trade negotiation with that country.
I could go on, but perhaps you get my point. Donald J. Trump is, in the vernacular, an ass who is unfit for public office, let alone the highest office in the land.  But he has somehow stumbled into the Presidency, and he is being protected daily by a once proud Republican Party.
So, when I re-posted the little gem above, I was expressing an opinion that I feel strongly about. And without naming names, I soon got a reaction from my “friends” on Facebook.
The strongest reaction was a positive comment that I received from a “real life” old friend that I really haven’t seen since we were teenagers, but she is someone that I’m happy to have reconnected with. It was encouraging to see, and of course I already knew, that I’m not alone in my poor opinion of Trump.
The other reactions, I’m sad to say, were not as favourable, and I have since removed those comments from my Facebook feed. But it got me to thinking, for the one thousandth time, that we have entered into the land of the bazaar. Trump certainly has his supporters, even here in Canada. Methinks we are witnessing (if we have not already realized) the development of a political cult the likes of which we have not seen in the Western world since the rise of Hitler and Mussolini in the 1920s and 1930s.
How can this be, you ask? At the risk of offending friends far and near, I have to ask “how can anybody who has an IQ two point higher than a toothpick, support someone like Trump?” Well, this is where I ask for your indulgence because there are millions of very intelligent people who support this man.  And here’s why I think they maintain that support.
As many of you know, when I was a much younger man, I studied Political Science; perhaps the most useless Social Science known to man when preparing our youth for the rigors of the real-life work force.  But, much to my amazement, Political Science is a discipline that has somehow served me well because I have discovered that my capacity for BS is boundless. But again, I digress.
During my studies I had the good fortune to have Professor Hugh Whalen as my mentor, and he had a profound effect on my education, and on my understanding of how the political world really worked. The most important lesson learned from Professor Whalen was this – we have always lived, and we continue to live, in a world where the Phycology of Political Accommodation applies. And now, I hope you are asking “what the blazes is that?”
Well, the Psychology of Political Accommodation, in plain English, goes something like this……
When taking political positions in life, people decide early on, for whatever or a variety of reasons, to accommodate themselves to a position, even if that position is questionable. For example, this could be something as simple as “my father was a Liberal/Tory so I’m a Liberal/Tory”. It doesn’t have to make sense, and it certainly requires no intellectual or independent thought, but with this example you should certainly get my point.
So, to continue on… People will hold to this (a) position no matter what, even if things or positions get worse, always thinking that things will get better if only this…… or that… will happen. But as we all know, in politics, things always get worse and that, my friends, is simply the way it is in the world in politics. If things didn’t get worse, in enough peoples’ minds, we would never see a change in government, and democracy as we know it would die. Never the less, the diehards will hold to a position, even past the end.
But having made the accommodation early on, and having supported a political position even when it appears the “wheels are falling off the wagon”, some people feel that its impossible to change positions. So now, a person’s support of a politician or a political position, even when it becomes ridiculous, is not only a defense of that position, but it becomes a defense of their defense of that person or that position.
To condemn what has become an un-defendable political position is to condemn themselves, and to condemn their own judgement, and that’s very hard for any human being to do. When things reach this point, a person will defend a political position come hell or high water.
Of course, this Psychology of Accommodation isn’t restricted to politics. We see the same psychology played out in the workplace, within religious circles, within families, and in every aspect of our daily lives.
And back to Trump. I’ve asked myself how Trump ever got elected in the first place, and that’s the subject for a hundred blogs in and of itself. But for me, the legitimate question now is how in the name of all that’s holy can this man keep the loyalty and support of 43% of the people in the greatest nation on earth? And all while telling an educated and intelligent population that what you see and hear isn’t really what’s happening – and people believe him.
We are witnessing the development of a real, live political cult just south of us my friends. And although this may bore many of you, and you are no doubt saying to yourselves that RJB has lost his mind, I fear that we are already experiencing the spill over effect here in Canada. Given that all things American arrive in Canada eventually, I have to ask – are we next? Will we see something like Trump rise up here?

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