The inauguration is the jog.
The First Horse Inspection, aka the jog, takes place the day before dressage at a big Event. Horses are presented to the veterinary panel and trotted for soundness. Everyone is cleaned up and dressed up and brushed and braided. There will be bad dressage tests, and cross-country refusals, and knockdowns in stadium. Those are for tomorrow. Today the sun is shining – no matter the weather – and everything is full of hope and promise.
You can see where this is going.
The inauguration is the first day for a new administration. The new president and the new vice president are presented and sworn in. Everyone is cleaned up and dressed up and brushed and braided. There will be Senate hearings, and scandals, and political infighting. Those are for tomorrow. Today the sun is shining – no matter the weather – and everything is full of hope and promise.
The inauguration is the jog. The pomp before the process.
I understand, just a little, how disinformation might spread.
The night before the inauguration, I had the misfortune to be exposed to one of the radical doom scenarios. While it was posted in order to make a counterargument, my eyeballs were still subjected to it. If you were lucky enough to miss these, the prediction was a concoction of mass arrests and televised show trials.
It wasn’t going to happen. It didn’t happen.
A small voice in my head spent the night saying, ‘It could happen.’
Small, Annoying Voice: I’m not saying it is going to happen. I’m just saying that, it *could* happen. Logistically, these people would be capable of performing those actions.
Small, Annoying Voice: None of of it is physically impossible. Except for that bit were every TV in the country automatically switches to the same channel. I’ll grant you that one.
Small, Annoying Voice: History is full of sudden, violent, reversals of fortune.
Small, Annoying Voice: If it did happen, here’s what it would look like. First, …
Me: Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!
This was something I had no interest in. I didn’t want it to happen. I didn’t think it would happen.
What if it was a scenario that I craved?
In Android’s Dream, the narrator explains that deception depends on the believably AND on the desire to believe.
Deception, as practically manifested, succeeds because of two things. First, the object of deception is convincingly deceptive in its design; i.e., it looks/feels/acts like the real thing. Second, and equally important, the subject of deception must be predisposed to believing that the object of deception is indeed the real thing. These two criteria work in an inverse relationship with each other; a sufficiently deceptive object can convince a skeptical subject, while a subject who sincerely wants to believe will be able to overlook even gross flaws in the object onto which he or she confers belief. (Android’s Dream, John Scalzi, Tor 2007, ebook)
While the book is a novel, I see no reason to doubt the psychology.
What if the message – not this one, some other, hypothetical message – detailed an outcome that I really, really wanted to come true?
How easy would it be to believe that small, annoying voice? How easy would it be to follow it?
That being said, trying to understand someone’s behavior does not in any way excuse them from the consequences of their actions.
The Secret Bits
Speaking of actions. I kept my eye on the clock, not the words. I’m a child of the Cold War. Memories from watching The Day After haunt my psyche to this day. The transfer of power does not happen until the biscuit and the football change hands.
The Parting Shot
Props to the camera operators who filmed face shots by walking the parade route backwards while guided by a colleague walking forwards.
Stay safe. Stay sane.