The Damage Done: A Media Addiction

If, as they say, God only looks after children and fools, the Almighty must be having one hell of a time dealing with the childlike reasoning of those who voted for Donald Trump. Consider the pretzel logic of recent USA Today guest columnist Melody Forbes:

I voted for Donald Trump because I wanted to see change in our country. One change I didn’t want to see was access to health care at Planned Parenthood blocked.

But Republican congressional leaders have already promised to do just that, with a provision to stop reimbursements for the health care Planned Parenthood provides.

Just like one in five women across the country, I went to Planned Parenthood here in Arizona in my 20s for health care. I was newly divorced, unemployed and uninsured, and I needed health services I could not otherwise afford.

These are services every woman needs at some point, and they are at risk. Vice President-elect Mike Pence and anti-women’s health members of Congress are pledging to attack Planned Parenthood and block patients from essential care, as they have threatened to do as many times as they could in the past 10 years. The difference this time is that they think President-elect Trump, as a Republican, will sign the bill.

It doesn’t make any sense for Trump, who said he would defend the American people from politics as usual, to sign a bill like this. Millions of mostly low-income people who rely on Planned Parenthood for essential health care — such as birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, well-woman exams and more — would no longer have access within their communities. And people who already face outsized barriers to getting care, especially people of color and people in rural communities, would face additional hurdles. A bill to defund Planned Parenthood doesn’t cross out a line in the federal budget — it stops people with Medicaid from being able to go to Planned Parenthood for basic reproductive health care.

The author of this pathetic piece apparently wasn’t paying attention to any of Trump’s campaign rhetoric: the bigoted billionaire made it quite clear that he didn’t give a damn about low-income people, women or people of color. What was the author’s beef with Trump’s Democratic opponent? The e-mails?

The silliness continues:

My vote for Trump was not a vote against Planned Parenthood. I voted for him based on the issues he campaigned on: creating jobs, making health care more affordable, and making our country great again. I voted for him because I trust him to get our economy moving again.

What, exactly, was wrong with this country? Or the economy?

I knew he’d have to make promises to appease the anti-abortion wing of the Republican Party. I’m hopeful that Trump will see that defunding Planned Parenthood is the kind of campaign promise he shouldn’t keep.

But he will. Too bad, eh?

This contemptible column actually validates the theory that the most potent drug on the streets in this country–the most addictive and destructive narcotic out there–is the American right-wing media infrastructure. Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and the wingnut blogosphere have fueled an addiction crisis, driving millions of voters to the brink of despair.

Just as historians today discuss the crack epidemic of the mid-1980s, historians a generation from now will discuss the crackpot epidemic of the mid-2010s–how a significant portion of the nation’s electorate became hooked on right-wing TV, radio and the Internet, pursuing an even stronger product, doing whatever it took to get that next high.

Nancy Reagan told us to “Just Say No.” Donald Trump told us to “Just Say Yes”–and millions of Americans did, injecting the poison of “alternative facts” into their systems, destroying families and relationships, potentially bringing this country to ruin.

The author of this loathsome USA Today column may have finally realized that the fix Donald Trump was offering couldn’t provide pleasure, only pain. How many of the folks who got high on Trump’s supply now realize that they have wasted their lives? How many of the folks who supported Trump now realize they should have just said no?

As Bill Maher suggested Friday night, the face of a Trump supporter is the face of addiction. These voters got a rush from Rush. Then they took a hit of Hannity, injected some Ingraham, developed a jones for Jones and overdosed on the barbiturate known as Breitbart.

Their addiction will destroy them. Will it destroy this country, too?

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.